Today is my 50th birthday and so far, being 50 is not so bad.
In fact, I feel it is actually a good thing to reach what I consider to be the half-way checkpoint on my way to one hundred. And because I have an almost 3-year old daughter, I am definitely taking the long term view of life events.
By the way, did you know that Wikipedia has articles that track events and births by year?
For example, check out what happened in 1959 and see the people who share 1959 as a birth year with me.
Among the who were born in 1959, there is a lot of pretty good company including John McEnroe, Matthew Modine, David Hyde Pierce, Kevin Spacey, Brian Williams, Magic Johnson, Jason Alexander, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Fred Couples, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole and my lovely wife. What is interesting is that me and all of the other ’59-ers probably have had similar life experiences from a historical perspective. Our first memories were probably of JFK’s funeral and how it disrupted our TV shows for several days. We were all enamored with space travel and watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. We all watched the same sitcoms while growing up and still recall our favorite episodes. And while we experienced Vietnam, hippies and rock-n-roll, it was somewhat from a distance and not from direct exposure.
So what have I learned in the past half century and what advice do I want to share on this milestone day?
Hair is overrated – this is easy for me to say, because I haven’t had any (or much) for the last 15 years. What I really mean by this advice is that it is sometimes best to accept things as they are. Or put another way, sometimes simple is actually better.
Be patient – patience is definitely a virtue that I learned from having children. For instance, how can you not be patient when you read the same book for the 99th time or watch the same TV show for the 47th time (in the same week). Whether you learn patience from your children or in another way, being patient is a trait that will bode me well as I reach for that 100 year milestone. Plus, we all know that “good things come to those who wait”.
Take time to exercise as much as possible – there are a myriad of reasons why exercise is important, but the most important reason for me is that I want to enjoy the ride over the next 50 years. In my mind, why live to be 100 if you’re not going to be healthy and feel good about it? Since I am an early morning runner, I am also lucky to watch the world wake up each morning and experience the beauty of our earth before it starts getting hectic. I expect to make the most of the more than 18,250 sunrises I have left before I reach my 100th birthday.
Do good things – whether it is in your career, in your community or in your family, it is important to be remembered for doing good things. Sometimes good deeds are simple gestures and others take 18 years or more to come to fruition (like sending children off to college). Whatever you do, do it good (or well). And I cannot believe that I still have at least 50 more years to do good things!
With that, Happy Birthday to me and to the rest of the ’59-ers out there!