The Big Five-Oh

 

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In six days I’ll be the newest member of the fifty club

I’m a little stunned to say I’m about to be fifty years old. It seems like just yesterday I was celebrating forty . . .thirty. . . twenty. How is it possible I have made fifty trips around the sun.?

It’s natural to be reflective on the cusp of a milestone and I’ve done some personal examination in the past few weeks in preparations, but I also find myself taking stock of the past fifty years in a global sense. When I was little my dad worked with a computer that was so large it needed its own building, now people walk around with computers on their wrists. The year I was born the first man walked on the moon and now dozens of satellites orbit Earth to bring us television and other services and people actually live on a space station for months at a time. I can’t imagine the level of change this world will have seen when I mark my one-hundredth birthday.

Yes, I intend to see my one-hundredth birthday, I plan to live to one-hundred and eight. My family history indicates that this is entirely possible. But even if life ended today I am comfortable in the knowledge that in the balance of it all, my blessings far outweigh my tribulations. I may not be bank account rich by American standards, but I probably am in third-world standards. What I am rich in is the most important part of life, I’m rich in loving people in my life. I have a wonderful family and I am blessed to have parents who have always loved me for who I am. I have friends old and friends new, I love that we can add friends to our hearts without limit. I have the most wonderful people, many in the friend count, that I work with and that makes work a very pleasant place to be. I have been blessed with an amazing teaching career and the opportunity to build a writing career. I would be remiss if I didn’t count the wonderful animals that have shared my life over the years including my current twelve-years-old golden retrievers who give me such joy on a daily basis. YES, the blessings are far greater than the tribulations.

I thought my forties were pretty fabulous. I was finally comfortable in my own skin. I think I learned what is truly important in this life. I say think because each decade I learn more that shifts my understanding. I anticipate the fifties will have its own set of lessons to absorb. I know many people view fifty as the top of the hill, the beginning of the slide down, but I choose to look at it as a continuation of the climb. I’m excited about being able to claim I’m half-a-century old. I like the idea I might be viewed as wise by the younger, although I have at least fifty-eight more years of learning ahead.

Whatever this next decade brings, I’m thankful for all of the past fifty years. Each triumph and each tragedy, even the mundane days of daily living have brought me to this point. For a moment I’m trying to slow down time and savor this milestone. I will savor the moments of my party with many of those friends I’m blessed to have. Then I’ll jump into this next decade with enthusiasm for all the gifts of life that are yet to come.

 

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