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“When faced with first-time fatherhood at the age of 49, I didn’t know whether to celebrate with champagne… or hemlock.”

–Len Filppu from his book Prime Time Dads: 45 Reasons to Embrace Midlife Fatherhood

Frankly, I was frightened of becoming a father at age 49. Would I have enough energy? How could I trade my leisurely latte freedom for dirty diapers? Would I live long enough to make a proper go of it? Would younger parents mistake me for grandpa? Would I sit on bleachers at Little League games dozing and drooling and dreaming of Woodstock?

As it’s turned out, those fears proved to be the unfounded, paranoid phantoms of a mind skewed by our society’s irrational rush to celebrate youth over wisdom. What I discovered through midlife fatherhood was a deeper, richer reality lived daily at a profoundly more exciting and satisfying level.

I found out that my 40s and 50s were actually my best time, in fact my prime time, to appreciate and accept my role as a new father. As a mature man in midlife, I have an enormous reservoir of unique skills, talents, and life experiences that can be tapped to help me not just survive but thrive in fatherhood.

These are my prime years, when I’m emotionally mature enough to handle parenthood’s dogging demands, wise enough to find deeper meaning and humor amidst the chaotic kid circus, and crafty enough to scheme and deal from the bottom of the deck when necessary. To me, prime time fatherhood is not an issue of being better-late-than-never. It’s an issue of actually being better later.

By braving midlife fatherhood, I discovered a more authentic, more talented, multifaceted, and interesting me…. and I opened the door to the most exciting years of my life. I’m deeply grateful to be a prime time dad.