This might be 2020’s only Monday I’m looking forward to because it’s my 51st birthday. I can stop worrying about the big 5-0 hanging over me.
Happy 51st birthday to me. Nope, I don’t plan to celebrate with a big birthday cake or even a doughnut.
But I’m happy to say that now that I’m 51, I can shed any last remnants of angst over being 50.
Actually turning 50 didn’t bother me as much as it bothered some friends of mine. I told you this time last year that I devised a way to feel better about it.
The night before his death, the late Orson Welles appeared on The Merv Griffin Show and said he didn’t mind recently celebrating his 70th birthday. That’s because, he said, he thought he was 70 the year before. So all of the mental anguish 70 brought with it hit him the year before.
By the time he actually turned 70, he was over it.
Well, as I thought about 50, it dawned on me that your 50th birthday means you’ve completed 50 years. Yes, you’re 50. But you are beginning your 51st year of life on birthday #50. So that little mental bombshell helped me get through the 50th birthday with less sadness.
Still, while you actually are 50 years old, you still think about all those black balloons people use to mark such an occasion.
When you turn 51, you find that the joke ran its course a while back. At 51, you don’t really have to worry about the next age joke for another nine years. At that point, you’ll start worrying about turning 60. (But in my case, I’ll sweat that out on my 59th birthday and take the edge off the day the cake has the big 6-0.
I’m not the only thing turning 51 this year.
I did a little mental math and concluded that anything that turned 50 in 2019 must be 51 in 2020. So I find myself in decent company as I celebrate another path around the sun.
- The Moon Landing – In July of 1969, man first landed on the moon. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon’s surface.
- Sesame Street – The long-running children’s educational show made its debut a few weeks before I made mine. Today’s version is barely recognizable, but then again, today’s childhood doesn’t look much like mine, either.
- The Internet – I still find this one hard to believe. It seems like the internet couldn’t be more than about 30 years old or so. But I’m thinking about when I first met up with home-based internet services like America Online. It took quite a long time from the internet’s actual birth to making its way into people’s homes.
- The ATM – The automatic teller machine — or the ATM — dates all the way back to 1969. I remember seeing my dad use one for the first time. A regional bank called C&S introduced its “Financial Wizard” machines back in the 1970s. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. C&S went through multiple mergers and I lost track of which bigger bank it became part of. But the ATM is still beeping along just fine. Just please don’t refer to it as an “ATM Machine.” That’s still a grammatical no-no.
- The Brady Bunch – The show that has come to define the style of the early 1970s actually had its birth in 1969.
I’d like to think I’ve at least aged a little better than The Brady Bunch’s wardrobes have. I don’t wear bell bottoms, so that has to count for something!