"The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep."

Friday, December 29, 2006

Reflections on 50

Turning 50 isn’t what it used to be.

Or maybe it only seems that way because this past July, I did so.

I remember as the day of reckoning neared, I felt no undue apprehension; no obsession with negative self-evaluation; no sense of pending doom and gloom. Instead a certain degree of excitement filled my days as the count down timer on my Google homepage kept me abreast of the number of days, hours, minutes and seconds remaining until I arrived at the beginning of my brand new decade.

As the days and weeks passed, I began to view the increasing lines in my face and my graying hair in a different light. The words distinguished and stately faintly echoed somewhere in the far regions of my consciousness. When the need for new glasses arose, I chose a frame style reminiscent of those worn by my father for my new progressive lens bifocals. And at some point, I considered smoking a pipe.

I was embracing my fifty-ness with open arms.

When the day finally arrived, a few friends and family members gathered with me to help celebrate my milestone. Those yet to cross this threshold of time showered me with the usual array of gag gifts; a box of Depends, some Rogaine, a walker, etc., while the over 50 contingent simply looked on with that recognizable, all knowing expression which says both, “It’s really not a big deal” and “Boy, I wish I were 50 again.”

My wife’s sister and husband gave me $12.50, the exact amount needed for an AARP membership. I promptly mailed it in.

My two adult children called to wish me well and in doing so, uncomfortably uttered the words old man no fewer than a dozen times.

And my college freshman (step) daughter assured me I didn’t at all look 50.

She’s really sweet.

Not long afterwards, I went for my obligatory physical examination and received a clean bill of health. This included the welcome news that I would not be subjected to the ever so humbling experience of another colonoscopy for 10 more years.

Words alone cannot adequately express my gratitude for this revelation.

And so as I look back over the course of time since my birthday, I realize I didn’t feel 50 then, nor do I now. In many ways in fact, I feel better than I have at any other time in my life.

For example in reaching this point, I’ve discovered there is either less stress in my life to contend with or dealing with it more effectively is simpler. Either way, it’s a win.

At 50, parental responsibilities, fiscal concerns and the concept of time are vastly different from when I was a younger man.

And physically, I’ve never been fitter.

Six years ago, I became a runner and since July I’ve run two half marathons. And even though my favorite running shirt states “In my mind, I am a Kenyan,” I haven’t set any speed records.

But I have finished.

And I intend to continue finishing in 2007 as a full race calendar awaits. This could be the year I run my first marathon, or triathlon, or ultra.

Who knows?

After all, I’m only 50.

“Age Doesn't Matter Unless You're a Cheese” - Kathryn and Ross Petras


Amy said...

What a perfect post for the end of the year!

Congratulations on all of your accomplishments, this year and years prior.

It only gets better from here!

Happy New Year!

Tim said...

Thank you!