Thoughts on the 49th Birthday

Normally, Fridays are faith-related posts, but on my 49th birthday, I’m going to break with tradition for this particular week.

Every five or six years, my birthday falls on Thanksgiving Day. This year, my 49th birthday falls on Black Friday.

Last year was one of those years that my birthday was Thanksgiving Day.

In 2020, it’ll fall on a Monday. I think I’m taking that day off.

But in 2019, my birthday — the 50th — will fall on a Saturday: the Saturday before Thanksgiving, in fact. I think I’m happy about that, because I think turning the Big 5-0 won’t be that happy a day for me.

Getting older can be a scary idea.

Yes, yes, I know, it beats the alternative.

Although, because I’m a Christian who believes in Heaven and believes I’ll go there Christ is my Savior, I’m supposed to believe that the alternative, when it eventually comes, is better.

It’s just that I don’t care to rush that particular experience.

For a lot of people, turning 30 is a nightmare. For me, turning 30 was absolutely nothing. I woke up on my 30th birthday feeling like it was any other day. I didn’t feel any closer to the grave or old age.

I assumed turning 40 would bother me a lot. It did bother me a little bit, but when that actual day came, there was really nothing to it, either.

Even turning 45 wasn’t a problem.

And now I think I know why.

When you turn 30, you assume you have plenty of life ahead of you because most people live well past 60 these days.

Even when you turn 40, there’s still a reasonable chance, depending on your general health, that your lifespan isn’t half over, yet. People live to 80 and beyond every day.

But when you approach 50, you’re suddenly aware that far fewer people make it to 100, even as far as science has progressed. So as 50 approaches, you begin to feel that it’s a distinct possibility that you have more time behind you than ahead of you. 

Don’t get me wrong: I plan to live long enough to be an ornery centurion. And then some.

I plan to make it to at least 105 or so just out of spite.

It’s just that as you get closer to 50, the odds seem to change.

But there’s one thing I find slightly comforting about the 49th birthday…in an odd sort of way.

When you turn 49, it means you’re already starting your 50th year. The day of your 49th birthday, after all, is the first day of your 50th year on the earth. So I’m hoping that stretching out that “50th year” business will take some of the anxiety away from November 23, 2019.

I’m hoping that by the time my 50th birthday rolls around, the worst of that day will already be over, not just beginning

You might just have to remind me of that plan this time next year! 


  1. Hello Patrick – I find I am not so frightened of turning 50 (in January 2020) but find turning 49 in exactly 22 days daunting. It’s not the number that has jolted me but this sinking feeling that I have not done half of what I ought to have done by now. When I take stock of what I have done in the past 8 years – other than my daughter, it feels like my 40’s were a wasted decade, a decade of exhaustion on darn rat race. This fills me with debilitating hopelessness because I am scared the 50’s will be worse. I still want make plans for my 50’s (hope floats doesn’t it) – I just need the courage to make bold plans.

    Happy (belated) 49th birthday. And may we step into our 50’s with no anxiety but with boldness.


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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.