The milestone birthdays are supposed to be special. At least, that’s what we’re told.
Eventually, the gravity of turning 50 will punch me square in my nose out of nowhere. Two days in, however, it’s mostly been a continuation of the reflective mood I’ve found myself in recently.
That reflection is a result of the whirlwind that was my forties — easily a decade of growth that far exceeded my modest expectations. If my twenties were the equivalent of a lost weekend and my thirties were mostly a period of stagnation and obstinance, my forties were when I showed up, did the work and reaped the rewards. These were the years when, whether by design or dumb luck, I chose to live in the world, leave myself open to possibility and opportunity, and grew as a person.
I’m not proud of the person I was when I was younger. I was fueled by anger, envy and hubris which held me back. My forties were where I made up for lost time. I found my career. I found love (a couple times). I found my tribe. And I found that I don’t need my past to define me, but inform where I’m going and what I want to become. This has been a decade of hard work, life lessons, therapy sessions and humility
If I have any wishes for my fifties, it would be to continue on this path. As my birthday neared, people have asked if I’m looking forward to it. I believe we ask this because we’re ingrained to believe that 50 is the acme of our life’s journey — that it’s all downhill from here. I’m not sure that’s true.
Gray hair may have settled in my temples and my beard. My quadriceps muscles feel like wet cement after my bike rides these days. My doctor keeps hounding me to stay away from any combination of chocolate and peanut butter. But there are so many things I still want to do and I remain motivated to putting in the effort.
So yeah, I’m looking forward to 50. And 60 and 70 and 75 and every second I’m fortunate to live. Because life is in the living.