He's not one for the fanfare that often accompanies the milestone years, or so he says.
Today marks his "big five-oh." As a longtime friend who I've known for more than 30 years, I can understand his reluctance to make a big fuss. After all, it is just a number.
I spent years not really thinking much about the day that marked each passing year, too. While many people I knew made sure to take off their day from work and plan big gatherings, I spent my early years working on not only my birthday, but on many other holidays.
In my radio days, it was fun to get a shift on a day when you could spin Christmas tunes all day and get paid extra for it. Retail jobs also offered extra pay for holiday shifts. I suppose the fact that my family wasn't really into big parties or celebrations played a roll as well. I can't ever remember having a party as a child. And with my day firmly sandwiched between Christmas and New Year's it was never a good time to get people together -- as everyone was out of town with family or on vacation.
As I got older, the big years started to stand out in a very meaningful way. I can clearly remember the who, the where and what of my 20th, 30th and 40th birthdays. (My 38th was spent in labor, so that's pretty memorable as well!) Having children also put the focus on the day, too. What child doesn't look forward to that special day where the party is centered on something that happened to him without any effort at all? As the years have progressed, I have gone from barely acknowledging the day -- to finding the joy in reaching yet another significant milestone and celebrating with friends and family.
I've never shied away from the number, that's for certain. I can't imagine why anyone would to be honest. The alternative to a new number is, well, bluntly put -- DEATH! And if you think of it that way, you can look at each passing year as a major accomplishment. Each year adds a new lustrous coat of sheen to that pearl that is you. The more you learn and share, the more valuable you become. Why try to shave off numbers when your experiences are so much a part of who you are?
Fifty is a good milestone, indeed. I'm not quite there yet, but I am happy to celebrate the many years my friend has lived and wish him many more good ones in the future.
A birthday gives you a chance to think back on all you have accomplished -- or not -- and celebrate the fact that you got through another one. Hoping that you can enjoy your day -- and can celebrate your milestone any way you feel appropriate -- because YOLO -- you only live once!