My in-laws sent me a card with all the great things about being 50.
It’s basically a poem that starts with 50 being “fierce” and “strong” and “awesome as ever.” It rhymes its way through 50 being “wise and bravehearted” and “50’s discovery” and “50’s on top.”
I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about turning 50. I don’t feel any different physically from my last days of 49, and in spite of the Facebook message a friend sent me, it’s not like an odometer ticked over at the stroke of midnight.
(By the way, my friend’s day is coming. She turns 50 mid-October.)
When my mother asked me how I felt being 50, I gave what has become my standard answer — I don’t know how I feel because I don’t know how 50’s supposed to feel.
But the one thing I’ve found is that just saying it — “I’m 50” — feels odd. Me … 50 … it just seems strange.
Being when it is, my birthday always falls around Memorial Day, or like this year, on Memorial Day.
When I was in the band in high school, we always marched on Memorial Day, often one parade in the morning, another around lunchtime and a third later in the afternoon. That sort of thing happens growing up in a school district with a lot of small towns.
One of those years when my birthday was on Memorial Day, it rained all day. We still marched in all three parades. It was miserable.
Now, having my birthday around the holiday makes it convenient for my parents to come down that weekend. They get here Saturday afternoon, we watch auto racing Sunday and they go home Monday morning — this year, after we went to a local botanical garden.
Two years ago, we had to skip getting together, for the obvious reason. Last year, they came down, but we got takeout for dinner instead of going to a local Italian restaurant. It was fine, and certainly better than nothing, but getting back to our normal routine was nice.
I had been planning to see if Mix wanted to get together, but I couldn’t figure out how to ask “Would you mind if I invited myself to do something for my birthday?” even though you probably thought of five just reading that sentence.
My buddy Mix wanted to know what I was doing Sunday night.
I was going to be with my parents, I texted back, but how about Monday?
Sounded like a plan. I had been planning to see if Mix wanted to get together, but I couldn’t figure out how to ask “Would you mind if I invited myself to do something for my birthday?” even though you probably thought of five just reading that sentence.
What can I say? My brain doesn’t exactly work smoothly sometimes.
We ate dinner and hung out in the backyard with Mix, his wife, their daughter, her boyfriend and Mix’s mom. It was fun. It’s always fun.
The funny thing is … he originally didn’t remember it was my birthday. He was just inviting me over to hang out on Memorial Day. But once he realized it — maybe through a Facebook reminder — they bought me a card with a gift card.
And they had balloons … helium balloons. All of a sudden, it’s like we were in elementary school again, making sure we didn’t lose our balloons, because otherwise we’d go to our teacher sad because they had gotten away.
I’d have a hard time thinking of a better way to end a birthday.
The poem on the birthday card from my in-laws ends with “50 is just getting started.”
Just getting started at 50? I’m not sure how much I believe it, but it sounds nice.