Let’s see, what would I like to receive on my birthday? Maybe an apology from the man above, or the “powers that be” for neglecting to mentally prepare me for the agonizing anguish that comes when one turns 50. From now on, when any of my friends turn 50, I’m going to offer them my full attention when they discover that 50 sucks and I’m going put all of his or her family on the suicide watch with me as well.
So maybe it’s not what I can get for my birthday, but what I can give to the up and comers: those hapless fools who are in their mid-forties, or later, who actually think that the 50s are the new 40s. It’s not. 50 is the old 50. And don’t listen to anyone who sugar coats it. You can’t trust them because they are probably the type of Pollyanna’s who believe that the economy is on the upswing because Team Greenspan said so.
Most of my friends who just turned 50 agree with me. There is something that comes with 50, along with the introspection, bitterness and disbelief. Everyone leaves town for a reason on this particular birthday. You just want to be left alone to figure it out. It’s not even so much the identity crisis such as, “But I still feel so young…,” and “Who is that staring at me in mirror?” It’s the isolation. By the numbers, you are no longer allowed to be that guy by falling off your stool in bars, or dance on the speakers at night clubs, or play volleyball with the 20 to 30ers. So this pushes you out of your pack and I bet you don’t even feel like being part of the pack anyway. And you probably don’t anymore relate to the struggles of your friends who are still yearning for a mate to complete them because you are too busy with your own interests with nary a thought to who approves of what you are doing. I’m lucky to have a partner, but even without him, I’d be doing what I’m doing. I just have a lot less people to do it with me. And yet I still miss the pack. Do you?
Around the time of my birthdays’ past I used to joke about registering at Nieman Marcus and Target so my friends, rich or poor, could “participate” in the gift-getting (mine) that I’ve enjoyed so much over these last FIFTY YEARS. And if any of my friends or family actually did buy me a gift or take me to dinner, I loved them for it and I always would send a thank you note. But nothing would make me happier this particular year than giving me a little bit of their personal time, one on one, or with a small group–after May 28th.
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