Fuck. It’s happened. Someone told me I’m old.

A month ago I turned 30. I’m a young Dad, by today’s standard.

I’ve caught myself looking in the mirror over the last couple of weeks. I don’t see an old dude looking back. I see a young guy….a youngish guy… ok, ok maybe a slightly older version of a young guy looking back at me.

I’m a t-shirt and pants kind of guy, but they are plain colours now – no more pictures of scantily clad women with the head of a stag on them, no more graffiti with random French phrases that only the most vigilante of people laugh at. Nope, they are plain as fuck. And why the hell not.

I am the guy who mocked guys like me a while back. I laughed loudly at my best friend for being an old man when he too was 29 and married. He is now 34 with two kids.  I teased him relentlessly when he called me at 7am to have a quick chat as he had been up since 6 with his babies. But now I’m that guy. I am the one up at 6am (5:30am on special days) and I want to call him to return the ‘favour’ now his kids are older and sleeping in.

I’m cool with it though. Rather, I was until this week, when someone called me that three-letter world. It was a candidate I was interviewing for a job, no less. I asked what his careers aspirations were and he replied,  “by the time I’m your age I want to be in charge of the team”. I asked him what age he thought that was, with a wry smile on my face, and he said  “30…you know, old, errrmmm older than that, I mean…” As casual as you fucking like. Cheeky prick.

I’m 30. Yes, I have a serious job, but under this suit I have a full sleeve, rib, back and chest tattoos, I wear a snapback on the weekend and I still enjoy a good night out. It just finishes way earlier than it did before. The pain of the next day is magnified by 1,000,000 with my miniature human alarm clock who insists on babbling loudly at aforementioned early butt-crack-of-dawn times.

I am fine with getting older, I genuinely am. Some would say being old means you aren’t trendy any more and in my mind that’d be a travesty.  F that, I’m still trendy, and I’m a cool dad. My wife and I wear Converse All Stars and skinny jeans, we laugh loudly at people falling over (sorry, but it’s funny!) and tease each other constantly. We are definitely young. Our son, he’s trendy as well – rocking the aforementioned attire (dressing the same is cool, yes?) and the occasional slouchy beanie (tough to wear regularly in QLD).  I would say that, despite the lack of a Range Rover, I would be fairly damn close to a cool dad.

So what makes me old? I look older than I did when I was 20, that’s a given. I may not be in the greatest shape of my life, but with a career and a family the hours at the gym give way for way more important things. Is it because I prefer breakfast at a café with my son to a kebab stop en route home from a night out? Or because our baby yelling at me non-stop at stupid o’clock is the best wake up call ever, because I’ve missed his face overnight? What is it that makes me old?

Nothing. It’s a perception of age that is warped by the youth of today and yesterday. I thought that my mate was old, and now my younger mates think I’m old. I look older, but I’m certainly not old.

I don’t dress like a 20 year old, because dressing like that in your 30’s isn’t cool. Diamantes on your tee shirt at breakfast just doesn’t cut it (Shane Warne, if you are reading you aren’t old, but you aren’t 20 either champ).

What makes me cool, though, is being a Dad. Literally, the best thing that has ever happened (bar meeting my wife) was having our son. I’m glad I did it when I was in my 20’s, because it means I’m a young dad. Yes my body is aging, but you just get on with it.

I can say hand on heart that turning 30 would have been way less fun without my wife and son. And brunch out tastes way better sans-hangover.

So here’s to that kid that said I was old. I’m not old, you’re just young. I pay my bills on time instead of using that cash for a night out and I like my jeans sans holes.

Oh shit, I was that young guy. I thought 30 was old. I’m sorry mate, you weren’t old. You were (and are) awesome.