By the time you read this, it will be too late to get me something for my 50th birthday. That’s okay though because I’m in permanent “declutter, give away things” mode. It’s never too late to drop by, wish me a happy b-day, and take something.
Recently Olympia’s semi-permanent winter blanket of low lying gray clouds parted so I headed out for a sun run with Regina Spektor pulsing through the iPod. Her “On the Radio” lyrics couldn’t have been more timely.
This is how it works
You’re young until you’re not
You love until you don’t
You try until you can’t
You laugh until you cry
You cry until you laugh
And everyone must breathe
Until their dying breath
I’ve always thought of myself as young. Younger than my sibs; younger than my betrothed; younger than Madonna; the 20-something high school teacher; the 30-something college professor. Like wooden barrels bobbing atop Niagara Falls, I’ve watched most of my friends disappear over the 50-year old ledge already. Now though older peeps aren’t enough to counterbalance Spektor’s undeniable truth—You’re young until you’re not.
As an aspiring Stoic, I should embrace the new “old” reality, but that’s easier written than done. If I live as long as Steve Jobs, I have six years left; my dad, 19; Joe Paterno, 35; Jack LaLane, 46. The average of those four is 26.5. That’s kinda scary given how fast the last 50 have gone. Seems like just yesterday I was the most dapper dude in the first grade at Zachary Taylor elementary school in Louisville, KY. A dodgeball/kickball legend in my own mind. And yes, fortunately the rest of my gourd eventually caught up to my ears.
The key of course is making the most of however much time is left by listening a little more intently, by being a bit more observant, by putting my family’s needs before my own, by finding humor in things, by writing, by prioritizing friendship, by embracing nature.
At the risk of getting too sentimental, let me close by coming clean on that fact that I didn’t know how to spell “Niagra” Falls until using my dictionary app which offered up “Viagra” in it’s place. A few days ago at 49, funny, today at Fiddy, not so much.
Postscript—The Girls Club pooled their resources and got me the perfect gift.
Here’s a site that will give you a sense of your mortality.
The Death Clock
Of course you could get run over by a Mac truck tomorrow so don’t invest too much in this outcome. :-)
Hah, thanks for that! The algorithm churned out 75 years, 7 months, 7 days, awfully darn close to my random average of 26.5.
Happy Birthday, Ron! Wish I was there to celebrate this milestone with you and your family. Why not 50 more? It’s a worthy goal as long as we can avoid Viagra falls. Enjoy the gift of this day!
Thanks Steve! Wish you were here to keep me company during my 50×100 swim workout this morning. And for the record, no I didn’t see Jesus doing the backstreet next to me.
I’m nearing 52 and the only thing I really don’t like about getting older is the increasing aches, pains and the obvious fact my body has its best days behind it. But I do enjoy having a longer perspective, remembering things past (I finally get what nostalgia is all about — like watching ‘Back to the Future’ the other night), and not worrying about my future so much (alas, now I can worry about my kids’ future…)
Also, you should follow what a friend of mine did, who just turned 51. He said that the jubilee year should be celebrated all year (he finished it off with a celebration last Saturday as his jubilee year ended). Make it a year long celebration!
You remember things long past?! :) Thanks for the jubilee suggestion.
Who says your past your mid-point?