It’s my birthday – Part 2: On turning 50

Hey Happy Birthday

Hello again, Awesome Readers!

In case you missed this post, I woke up this morning and *POOF* I’m 50.

Almost like kissing a frog and suddenly you’re a princess. Only the frog is really your life and you being a princess is a metaphor for “old hag”. Just kidding. Being 50 doesn’t make you an old hag. Being an old hag makes you an old hag. Your age doesn’t define how old you are. And I know this to be true because just last week when I confessed to a group of colleagues that I was going to be 50, one said colleague said, “How can that be? Your mind is 8.” (Although he claims to have said 18 but I heard 8 so we’re sticking with my version of the story.)

Yeah so 50.

50 is one of those “important” numbers that you hear about your entire life because everybody who turns 50 spends their time making a big deal about it. So in a way, turning 50 is sentimental long before your actual 50th birthday. We’re conditioned that way.

And so now that I’ve been 50 for over 12 hours, I can profess to being an expert on the subject and would like to share my thoughts with you. And by thoughts I mean feelings.

How I feel about turning 50

My feelings on turning 50 actually started surfacing about two weeks ago.

I was in a meeting and someone had projected a calendar on the screen so that we could all give our two cents in the scheduling of our current project. Looking up at that calendar, I was suddenly struck by a thought:

“Hey wait a minute! Isn’t that my birthday on the 23rd?”

This question was mostly to myself and wasn’t REALLY a question because my birthday ALWAYS falls on the 23rd of January. It’s one of the less volatile aspects of my life.

Then, during my commute home that evening I was struck by another thought: (You see what I have to live with? I’m surprised I’m even still standing with all these thoughts constantly accosting me.)

“Hey wait a minute! Aren’t I turning FIFTY this year?”

And then a good song came on the radio and I was distracted.

It wasn’t until yesterday during my commute to work that I remembered again that today is my birthday and I was turning 50. And suddenly I was struck – not by a thought this time – but by a certain kind of sadness.

“Holy crap! My parents must be feeling old!”

Yes. That is correct. I was saddened by the thought of my parents feeling old because I’m now 50. The truth is that I don’t feel old at all and since I’m feeling bullied by society to feel something about something about turning 50, mustering up feelings of sadness for my parents was the best I could come up with. Apparently.

That said, I’ve come to the conclusion that the saddest part of aging is watching the aging of our parents.

My parents. The people who have always been in my life. The people who knew me before I knew myself. The people who would quasi-convince me when I was a kid that, “No. There are no bad people hiding under your bed.” The people who introduced me to roller skating and skiing and home-made soup and who gave me permission to smoke, knowing that I would puke my guts out and hopefully never turn into a real smoker.

These are the people – all three of them – that I celebrate today, on my 50th birthday.

Mom, dad, Debbie: Thank you. Just thank you.

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