Saturday, March 10, 2012

On Turning 50

A friend of mine informed me he's getting ready to turn 50. As someone who has now spent more than half a decade there, I thought I'd give him some advice...

Hey man,

damn straight
50 is the time when you start to figure the whole chess game out. The pieces of the puzzle slowly come together and the meaning of life becomes more in focus. I've (for the most part) enjoyed my 50s. I try to keep the body somewhat in shape and feel more comfortable in who I am. I think I'm in better shape and feel better than I did in my 30's. I tell my friends I'm fighting old age "kicking and screaming". I am certainly not as excitable as I used to be, it's hard to yank my chain because I've heard it all and experienced it all before. My skin is thicker.

My worries include what my drug use in my youth has left behind and the genes I carry. There are some burnt chromosomes that go back centuries.
And yes, there is something to be said for making it to the other side. A lot of our friends and contemporaries did NOT.

That's the bummer about my 50's. I've lost a lot of people I look up to. I've lost favorite musicians, teachers, mentors, friends, etc. One week last year, I lost three friends in the span of two weeks.
Another bummer is I don't get filled with a sense of awe anymore. THAT's the one thing I miss about being a kid. I used to be awed regularly. Not so much anyone. In fact the last time I remember being "awestruck" was about nine years ago.

The thing I've become more comfortable about is "acceptance". I know I can't control a lot of the stuff that happens in my life. I'm now trying to focus on accepting that.

I have begun a quest to right the wrongs I've done in life. I haven't always been the nicest person in the world. There are a few things I need to settle before I depart this Earth. Speaking of that, when the day comes I do, don't cry for me. Where would you put my quality of lifestyle on a measuring scale of one to ten? I think mine goes all the way to 11.

"It's louder, innit?"

I think we have more compassion as we hit the big 50 because our hearts have been scarred. I've become much more empathetic and sympathetic. I have more respect for the elderly because...they've made it too. Just making it to their age deserves my humility and respect. It's STILL a process and I am trying to be the best person I can be.

Embrace change, grasshopper.

Again, it's about acceptance. Run with it, your 50's will be the chance to rediscover your life and what makes YOU happy. Kids will be gone soon and after the empty nest syndrome passes (it takes about 6 weeks), you'll realize that this is the way it should be, the way it has been for generations and it's now dad and mom's turn to fly.

Fly high, dude.

not quite MY ratio, but funny nonetheless

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