Today, I turned half a century. 50 years have I tread upon this verdant land casting about to mold it in my image. The time has flown. I was pretty depressed about it for the last few weeks as I had to select life insurance, retirement options and health insurance. I worked enough in various locations that I was able to officially retire today, although in fact, I left the normal working world a few years ago to be a full-time author. There was that disgusting invite to join AARP. Wow…
When you retire with a retirement plan, you have to select pay-out options. To optimize your reward, you have to coldly predict how much longer you will be alive, how active you will be, what the inflation rate will be (if you are an Economist like me and want to calculate net-present values and income streams), whether you will outlive your spouse or die first, if you die first how much longer will they live than you and all those great things. It makes you step back and evaluate the scarcity and rapidness of the human life and its implications on a more personal basis.
After awhile, you stop this introspective wallowing and get back mindlessly into the stream of moment-by-moment life you are more familiar with. Luckily, for me, I was able to get over the maudlin aspects before this actual day so I was able to enjoy it. I started out by filling out paperwork, completing a consulting job, then spending five hours with a client in a meeting. Afterwards, we had some adult beverages with friends. Now, tired, I sit at my keyboard, wife next to me, dogs at my feet, relaxing.
My wife does not ask anymore what I want for my birthday. Having been born in July, growing up all my school friends were gone or on vacations during the summer, so I never had birthday parties. I feel uncomfortable with parties held in my honor and even more so with receiving gifts. So she asked me what I wanted to DO on my birthday. It would have been wise to have an answer other than, “I don’t know.” Instead, I end up by default with a pretty busy day of the usual. Still, marking fifty years of life lived and gone could be disturbing, so it is probably better to just keep busy on such occasions and not mark them with too much pomp and circumstance.
There was a pleasant surprise though born on the wings of the modern social media phenomenon. I look at my email, facebook, twitter, pinterest, stumbleupon, other emails, blog, other websites, phone messages, texts, ad nauseum each morning as I rise for a new day. Today, I had forgotten it was birthday in my early wakeful grogginess. It started with facebook where I saw that scores of folks had posted on my wall that morning. What the? I have a news feed that scrolls like a ticker tape but my own personal wall usually only gets a handful of posts per day. I sat in mystified silence for a moment pondering this irregularity. With a shock it came back to me that those must be well wishing birthday posts. They were indeed.
It is nice to know that so many people throughout the day saw my little birthday reminder pop-up and took the time to send me a congratulations. It was really nice. When you make some angry you always know right away. It is good to have a day where people just say nice things to you – because they have some regard. Thanks to all of you traveling this wild ride of life with me. I hope your day is wonderful.