The day referred to in the title is yesterday rather than today. Yesterday was my birthday, the big Five-Oh. ---> 50 years. Half a century! Hard to believe - to believe that's it's happened, and to believe that I enjoyed it. It's been a weird year plus a few months to say the least, and a big attitude change for me. In my mind I am still 25, ready to adventure, and spoiling for a fight. Now actually double that, reality is not at all how I envisioned it. Instead it is much better!
I guess I always wanted to be twenty-something forever. When I turned 30, I grew a ponytail. I had plenty of hair, thin and straight and some grey, but lots of it. Apparently this thing was ugliest thing ever. Since I could not see it, I asked everyone how it looked. They all said, "It looks great!" When I finally cut it off the very same people all said, "Thank goodness you got rid of that stupid pony tail - it looked really bad." If they had been honest, it would have been gone much sooner. But I suppose they thought they were being polite or something. So when I turned 40, I decided to just disappear. Got on the bike and headed for the mountains for 5 days. Rode until my brain was numb. In retrospect, probably not the best use of a good ride. Then Y2K came and went without much fanfare, or blood in the streets as some had predicted. But 9/11 came and there was blood and ash in the streets. Then Afghanistan and Desert Storm. Like most Americans, I became jaded about it all. Work, go home, eat, drink, play, church once a week, and repeat. Then March of 2008, and the "Big C" gave the biggest shock of all to the system. What I said a couple of months after that is so true, and even more so today. CANCER WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE. It's up to you and God whether it will be for the better.
I am thankful today that my life has changed for the better in every way. Despite the crushing economy, scariness of the medical situation, frustration and uncertainty in the employment arena, etc. I am doing just fine, thanks! Since my last birthday I have lost 35 pounds (wasn't a goal, but a welcome byproduct), changed my diet and exercise habits radically, and improved my general health in every way. In fact, I believe I am a year younger today than I was at my last birthday! Truly amazing stuff. And rather than moping about a birthday or trying to cling to lost youth, I have embarked on a program of health that has been anti-aging as well as anti-cancer. I never would have believed it possible, and flatly would have declared such changes inconceivable for me. I also am attempting to take up squash, a much more difficult game than the racquetball or handball it resembles. Thanks to my friend Trevor for suggesting it and helping me learn.
Due to the American Memorial Day holiday today, we made no plans to travel, but chose to stay home. Most of the neighbors did the same, probably due to school being in session still. I know several who plan to hit the vacation highway next weekend. I may do a recreational motorcycle ride sometime in June as well. We have a dinner out next weekend, a play and tailgate to attend in June, and a wedding in Texas. There are a lot of things to celebrate and enjoy in the upcoming weeks, and we decided to stay at home this holiday weekend.
So this milestone birthday was anticipated and celebrated with relish. My wife worked for days preparing healthy meats, salads, snacks, and even desserts, and we had several people over for an afternoon and evening of great food, great beer, great wine, and even greater company. I am greeting 50+ with a smile rather than a snarl, and it's a whole new ball game and attitude for me.
Several folks gave generous donations to our church's building fund for my birthday, which was a wonderful gift. And my parents and my friend TK decided to celebrate the moment with coins. On the right we have a pic (click to enlarge) of a handmade plaque from TK, with 51 pennies, one from each year in order from 1959 through 2009. What a thoughtful and creative gift. And my parents, with justifiable concern about the state of the global economy and potential for currency collapse, decided to give me the gift of hard-money. Ten silver "rounds" with one troy ounce each of .999 pure silver good for (and backed by) BEER! Each good for "one or more beers anywhere in the world," and worth about 14-15 beers today. Very cool indeed, pictured below, click to enlarge. The day and evening passed quickly with great conversation and fellowship. I thank all who stopped by, and those out of town who emailed, called, and otherwise toasted my longevity. I can only hope your day was as joyful as mine. Now I can see that birthdays are a gift to be cherished rather than events to be dreaded and ignored. I look forward to another 50 years full of happiness (and perhaps even more blogging). Life is an adventure, now more than ever!
Wishing all you readers the best in health and in life.