50 - it's one greater than 49, one less than 51, 1/2 of 100. It's just a number. But for some reason, in our culture, 50 is suppose to represent something. A long time ago, when life was harder and medical science hadn't had so many advances, making it to 50 was a big deal. Now, it's assumed that you will make it to 50. When people retired at 65 and traded in their working lives for a recliner, 50 meant the end of your youth. Now, people climb Mt. Everest at 50 or beyond. The goal post has moved on how we live our lives but somebody forgot to tell the greeting card companies or the paper goods manufacturers who print "cute" sayings like Over the Hill on napkins and paper plates.
People like to throw themselves or their loved ones big parties when they turn 50. I don't think it's really because they turned 50, I think they just wanted to have a party and have a good time with their friends and family. Kids have birthday parties all the time, not just at 5, 10 15 etc. But as adults, we need to justify having an event for ourselves so we celebrate the "big ones." What's wrong with a party at 48 if you feel like it? or even 52? Sounds good to me.
If I'm suppose to be feeling something special or unique today because I'm turning 50 someone forgot to fill me in on the details. I feel the same way I did yesterday only now it's today (at least until we hit the international date line when it will be yesterday again). No, I'm not as young as I use to be and the aches and pains and lack of flexibility are apparent, but they were there yesterday, and last week, and last year - they didn't miraculously appear today. The signs of youth don't disappear overnight, they erode over time and they started eroding a long time ago.
I have fewer acquaintances at 50 but more friends. The birthday messages that I have received from all of you are so warm and heartfelt and hold a special place in my heart - thank you, each and everyone of you, for being who you are and for sharing your life with me. I know that we will celebrate when I return home since all the time I spend with you is a celebration. And thank you Marty for organizing my email birthday party.
Having been born in February, I always envied those kids who could have their parties outdoors. I hate the cold and have always wanted a summer birthday. So here I am, in Christchurch, New Zealand, in the southern hemisphere, having my first ever summer birthday. Not too bad for a 50th birthday present. I am surrounded by my loving husband of almost 17 years and my two awesome daughters who all planned a wonderful evening of great food, champagne, a scavenger hunt, presents and birthday cake (we celebrated last night due to travel plans). I have been traveling the world for the last 8 1/2 months and will continue to do so for another 3 1/2 more. Life doesn't get a whole lot better than this.
I don't have my whole life ahead of me, I haven't had that since the day I was born. With each day that I live, that part of my life is behind me. Today, on my 50th birthday, I just have one more day behind me than ahead of me. It's just math.