In my mind, I can’t be more than 35 but my back will tell you otherwise. Turning 50 is a forced reconciliation with the indignities of getting older. I’ve had a check up, my prostate checked and I have a colonoscopy and endoscopy in two weeks. I can’t see as well. I wear my glasses everywhere, sometimes even in the shower accidentally. If I can’t find my glasses they are usually on my head or hanging on the neck of my shirt. Even though I am wearing them, I still squint. I have a tremor, I move slower, I was never fast but am not as strong, I can’t push myself as I once did. I have less hair on my head and more on my back and ears -wtf is that? How is that evolutionarily helpful except as a warning to the opposite sex to stay away because this one is past its prime. #furryandflacid It’s like mold on fruit. I am moldy and not yet 50!
But I think of the friends and classmates who didn’t get even 50 years and I am humbled and grateful for every ache and pain. Sean Matthews, Carl Hartig, Dave Miller, Hank Gathers, Gina Testa, Caroline La Pierre, Lisa Manning, Cliff Viernes, Phil Caustrita and more would be thrilled to be laying flat on the floor with back pain, whining to a loving spouse, a cherished child or even a favorite dog. Thrilled? No, I understated it, ecstatic. Once again, their memory inspires me to be better. #LiveWellLiveNow
I think of the many many blessings I have - a loving wife, 2 great kids and a third one (😂 just kidding but this will drive them crazy for months - how was I allowed to be a parent?), parents, sister, in-laws, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, health, dogs - ok mostly Hank but Baxter and I have also grown close of late. So much to be grateful for that I don’t have much time left for coveting and envy. #blessed
I think of the good things I have done and the bad things I have done. I think its time to let go of the bad and properly admire the good. The bad things were sins of pride, envy, gluttony, and even wrath. (Sister Olga would not be happy with me.) While isolated and in my past, they remain an emotionally impactful reminder to me of my flawed, frail, human nature. I try do better and mostly I have, but to those that may have been injured by my sins, I sincerely apologize and I hope we can both be liberated by forgiveness. #JesusSaves
I think of what I have done, what I need to do, what I want to do and how much it has changed over the course of 50 years. I distinctly remember a conversation with neighborhood friends Paul Davis and Mike Cattulo about what we would be when we grew up. First we would be astronauts and go to space, and then return to play in the NFL. Seemed reasonable at age 6. By age 8, microscope in hand, I wanted to be a doctor. At some point I wanted to be a CEO of a large company. I wanted cars and houses and trips and stuff. Now, I know jobs come and go, cars come and go, trips literally come and go and stuff is a pain in the ass to manage and ends up on eBay selling for about six cents on the dollar. Now what I want is more time to travel to see the kids, more barbecues with friends, more date nights, more happy hours with friends, more hikes with Hank, more tennis with Laura, more vacations with friends. That’s the stuff that matters and the joy and value are multiplied by the number of people with whom you have to share it. #MoreHappyHours
I’ve had a small square of paper from Life's Little Instruction Calendar pinned to my office bulletin board for probably 15 years or so. Ironically, it is from a Friday the 13th but I can’t tell you what year. It says, ‘Measure your wealth by the state of your health, the love of your family and the number of good friends.’ The paper has been especially important to me when I’ve battled anxiety and depression because even though I didn’t have health, I was rich with love and friendship. Love and friendship will carry you through the darkest of times. When I read studies done on the power of prayer, to prove that it is ineffective, I shake my head and smile. Until you have been sick and needed prayers you cannot know the relief you get just from knowing someone loves you enough to take a moment from their day and offer you a prayer. It is a drink of water to a parched throat and every drop a blessing that feeds the soul and nourishes the body. Invest in health, love and friendship because one day you will need to draw on those accounts and you never want to empty them. #vibes
Now that the kids are gone and I have officially been laid off from my work as the stay-at-home-dad a question that comes up a lot is ‘what are you going to do now?’ I don’t know, specifically. It may be one thing, it may be many things. It may be temporary, it may go on for years. It might be work, it might be vocation. It might be impactful or it may be frivolous. I just don’t know, but I do know for certain that it will be directed by my faith and towards health, love and friendship. #FaithHealthFamilyFriends
I need to say a special thank you to Laura for making the last 25 years possible with her love, understanding, sense of humor and great career. I say that so she won’t make me get a job. Seriously. I’d also like to thank all of you for being part of the richly colored tapestry of my life. Even those of you that are a red wine stain on said tapestry. I’ve come to appreciate your contribution whether it was intended to be included in my tapestry or not. #FiftyMorePlease
Here’s to 50! Chin-chin!