Mile Marker 50

Posted: 13th November 2012 by iBarnabas in journaling
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Milestones are those major turning points, events if you will, in time. In the life cycle of a project they might be the launch date, several key progress submittals and of course the final deliverable. In the life cycle of… well, “Me” I’ve hit a milestone. I turned 50 years old a few days ago.

At age 15

  • I had no idea what the word ‘Mortality’ meant, nor cared.
  • I could finally drive a car – and was already quite good. My dad taught me to back the car and boat trailer down the ramp at 12 or 13. I thoughtfully volunteered to turn the car around after my mom bought groceries, on a regular basis. (I am quite talented at driving in reverse). I also got good at night driving after months of sneaking the car out and joyriding with my friends.
  • Planned up a big birthday party (with girls) and no one showed up.. . . . (Mom freaked out when she thought I had drank cough syrup, but it was only the peppermint schnapps I had stolen from my dad’s liquor cabinet.)
  • Got a job so I had money for fuel (see above), and junk food and some dabbling in illegal substances (not cough syrup).
  • I hadn’t reached the age of being an adult but I damn well was and should be treated as one. ~ yeah, right.

At 18 (might as well throw in 21)

  • I knew what mortality meant but was certain it did not apply to me.
  • I had reached the official age of adulthood, but was less sure that I was one.
  • Graduated, got Married, lost my job and got another. Having a job was no longer a perk but a very heavy responsibility. Rent, food, lights and fuel were only overshadowed by baby food, diapers and doctor bills.

At 23

  • I was well on my way to building a young family so their mortality took precedence.
  • Work became more normal.
  • Not a common milestone but probably the closest to my ‘actually’ becoming an adult.
  • It’s hard to explain but 23 was one of my more (positive) memorable birthdays.

At 33

  • I was way too full of myself to care about anyone’s mortality.
  • Family life became more normal.
  • I was the age that Jesus had died, but had too shallow a relationship with him to think about it.

The rest of my 30’s and 40’s?… a blur.

Now, I’ve hit fifty. some birthdays make you feel like you’ve arrived, or hit that milestone age where you can drive, drink (legally), vote, be considered adult, etc. Fifty seemed like it should be one of those. The day came and went with little fanfare; a mini-vacation to a hotel on Daytona Beach for me and my Lady.

“Fifty? pshaw, no big deal.” well, until the mail arrived on Monday. Tucked in with all of the usual junk mail and bills was an envelop from the AARP.






AARP??! Oh…. yeah thats right… I’M OLD!

And it’s been settling in more and more each day. My hair’s grayer, lines deeper, waist wider (okay that’s been happening for a while). I even have a hearing aid! I went in for my “Old Man Physical”. Yeah, that’s what it is. starting at age fifty they have us old farts come in for annual physicals. Just so they can hammer us about our rapid weight gains (honest doc, I was slim yesterday!), warn us about our cholesterol, and ask us embarrassing questions about our (ahem) ‘performance’ issues. of course that’s not as embarrassing as some of the more physical tests (cough).

Okay, all jokes aside (maybe)… My physical went well and I am heavy but healthy. And, yet, I am finding myself more aware of my age than ever before. I know, ‘fifty is not old, you have another twenty or more years left.” My favorite is, “it’s just another chapter”.. yeah, in an old dusty book.

My sudden awareness of my age is troubling me. I am not as mortal as I had been. At 20 and 30 there was too much more life to worry about the end. At fifty there is only a few decades at best. When I think about how fast I went from 25 to 50 I am really concerned that I will blink and find someone changing my diaper!

The truth is, I am on the back slope. I did not take my future seriously over the last three decades and if I don’t do it now there will not be three more. My health is not the only concern. What about keeping up with technology, about keeping my job and competing against younger faster smarter kids entering my domain? What about keeping my home and leaving behind a legacy and inheritance instead of debts and judgments?

With great age comes great responsibility. I love my wife and family. therefore I must change – yet again. I want to live as long as possible with my lovely wife. She is everything to me. I want to go to my grandkid’s graduations and weddings. I want to see my kids succeed and become all they can be. I want to make them proud of me and have something of value from me after I die. Money and ‘stuff’ would be good too. I want to be that strange old guy who seems to know way more than he should and stay relevant in my industry and too my great grand-children. I want to be able to retire into a life where I can write stories, teach, serve excellent coffee, or be one of the few who still knows how to fix a car.

One of the cool things about being on the ‘back side’ of a hill is that I can choose to be rolled down it or I can surf it like a madman. I think I’m going for the later. Yeah, I’m an AARP member, I am graying, and life is moving faster than ever. But I plan on making the very best of it and myself along the ride.


p.s., I told my wife that if I get Alzheimer’s or Dementia or simply lose my mind before I die that I want her to volunteer me to be plugged directly into the internet. Hold her to that okay?

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