Tuesday, July 07, 2009

A Personal Milestone

This Sunday I turn 50.

Throughout your life there are certain birthdays that are supposed to be special. A sort of milestone that marks your place in life as you travel towards the end. But it's never been that way with me. Birthdays were never that important to me. Yes, I enjoy people fussing over me and giving me presents, but I never felt like they represented any special significance just because of certain numbers. You know the numbers, 21, 30, 40...those numbers that are supposed to make you pause and take reflection in your life.

To me they were just one more birthday. Another number. I guess I never looked at those growing numbers with the alarm that some people do, maybe because I never thought about how old I am. This is either going to sound cliche or like I'm already experiencing a mid life crisis, but it really is neither, but I never acted my age. I don't mean I was one of those older guys that try to be twenty years younger than they are and act like an idiot.

I don't think I look my age (and that's not really due to anything on my part except for inheriting good genes from my parents) and I don't act my age. Lots of what other people my age think as important I'm not that interested in. I still want to discover new things, I want to hear a new sound that thrills me, read a new book that makes me question life, watch a movie or tv show that makes me weep.

I've tried to live my life with the understanding that the feelings of others are just as important as mine.

I've lived my life I hope with as much truth as I could. I'm not going to claim that I've never hurt anyone or lied. I've tried not to, but sometimes things happen that you wish you could undo later. I've done somethings I wish I could redo, but nothing that I'm ashamed of.

I don't drink. I don't do drugs. In fact I've never done either. Ok, I take it back. Once in my wild younger years I drank a beer. Didn't agree with me. Now while I don't drink or do drugs I don't think others should necessarily follow my example. In fact I lean more towards legalization of drugs, our war on drugs has been lost years ago. And it's not that I feel some higher power is telling me not to do either. It's just a decision I made years ago and have followed through. It works for me, it doesn't work for everyone.

I don't curse. I have had friends try to get me to swear, just to hear me say a swear word. I just don't. Now I know I'm starting to sound like some sort of prude or religious nut, but really I'm not. I just made some decisions that I wanted to follow. I'm not a prude. In fact I favor letting people do what they want with each other as long as it doesn't hurt others. And as far as a religious nut, that I'm definitely not.

Mark Twain said "If one truly believes there is an all-powerful Diety, and one looks around at the condtion of the universe, one is led inesapably to the conclusion that God is a malign thug." I guess I don't have to say much more about my religious beliefs.

Why am I going into such lengths about all this? Because for once I'm finding myself thinking about a number as I approach my fifitieth birthday. Odds are that once I hit this Sunday I'm on the downhill side of my life. Except for my Dad who died because of smoking both sides of my parents family live long lives, into their ninties. But even if I follow that path I'm still looking at less years than I've already lived.

Am I satsified with my life? Of course not completely. There are still lots of things I want to do. Am I where I thought I'd be back when I hit that first milestone birthday of 21? No. I was thinking I'd be writing for a living now, but all our dreams don't come true. I've tried to live the life I've made as completely as I can and still have not given up on my dreams. Am I happy with my life? Yes I would say so. Like I said, there are things I wish had turned out differently, some things I wished had happened that haven't, but you play the hand you're dealt and I've enjoyed the past years.

Still with this birthday coming I've found myself pausing and wondering.

Maybe this is what a mid life crisis feels like.
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Bond said...

WOW...I read so many of my thoughts and feelings in this. I don't feel like I look my age (OK, the hair is grey, but other than that, when I see men who are 54-55 like me, I see them looking so much older).

I have never been concerned with birthdays and the numbers.

OK, we differ in that I do drink and the drug thing- I believe every citizen who desires should be able to cultivate 5 pot plants/year...but that is just me.

Now, from a 55 year old...we might be on the downside of our lives, but it certainly does not mean that life is ending...

I have actually found a new me in the last 4 years.

And as far as the writing Sir...hell, that is ageless!

JohnH985 said...

We may differ on the drink and drug, but I don't feel like you shouldn't be able to. Most people upon hearing that I don't think I have a problem with people drinking or doing drugs. I don't. Only when it becomes a problem for the person is it a problem, but there's nothing wrong with drinking or some drugs. It's a person's choice.

Thanks for giving me your prespective. Glad to know that there are others out there that feel similar to some of my feelings.

Bond said...

I have friends who do not drink, and am about to marry into a family where no one drinks (except my bride)...

As far as my friends, we still have a fantastic time together...if we all led the same life-style, hell it would be a boring place.

Travis said...

Your attitude is so similar to mine. I've never bought into anyone's idea of what kind of behavior is supposed to go with certain ages.

Happy Birthday!

holly wynne said...

Happy birthday today! I hope I can mature as gracefully as you obviously have, especially on the eve of my 30th :).

aims said...

Happy Birthday John!!

JohnH985 said...

Thanks to everyone. I spent my birthday at work, so much fun. :)

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