November 07, 2011

Thoughts On Turning 50

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Yesterday I turned 50.  I've been thinking about it for months. 

Not in a good or a bad way, just in a profound way: What does it mean? When I turned 40, the theme was, "it's the new 30, just a number!".  The last big birthday milestone for me was 21, the age of legality and adulthood.  

Our society makes a big deal out of turning 50, punctuated by my receipt of my inagural edition of AARP's magazine with my name emblazoned on the address label.  Others I know have wrung their hands or shrugged their shoulders at turning 50.  Everyone has a different POV about it, largely influenced by circumstances. 

For me, turning 50 was a milestone, but not necessarily the last one.  My thoughts crystalized over the weekend at a hot dog stand in Studio City, where I stopped for a guilty pleasure lunch.  First: I got a polish with sauerkraut instead of a chil-cheese dog (my all time fave).  That symbolized my sort-of-recent focus on eating and living healthy.  I can still have fun, I realized, it just needs to be thoughtful.  

As you get older, you realize you are not invincible and lifestyle decisions have real consequences. I went to the doctor with a cold last week, and she reminded me to have annual blood work, especially to check my blood sugar. "Diabetes will cost you 10 years of your life," she repeated to me.  Wow, 10 years is a long time, I thought.  I contemplated all the live I lived between September 11, 2011 and today.  It was a life's worth of challenges, opportunities and thrilling adventures.  Wouln't trade that for anything.  So, I'm going to live healthy, to live longer.  

Second, I noticed an octo-generian with her grandkids, huffing and puffing to keep up with them. She fawned over them like it was the last time she'd ever see them.  In that observation, my second thought emerged: You are not getting older, just closer to the end of your story. 

Everyone of us lives a story.  It has a beginning, a very long middle and an end...sometimes sudden and short.  We are the producer, director and protagonist of it.  Sometimes the antagonist too.  I've been thinking about my story, my significance, that I'm trying to tell with my words and deeds.  It's a Love Story, that's for sure - my relationship with the world based on my belief that people are good and shouldn't suffer unecessarily.  

As I get closer to the end of my story, I become more attuned to the feedback loop that informs me as to whether I'm giving, using or taking in my day-to-day life.  50 isn't the end, but by all accounts, it's the clear beginning of my life's Second Half (or 2nd Act).  So, wishful intentions are not enough. I need to contribute in a meaningful way I can measure, iterate on and improve on until the day I die. 

And so 50, then, is a milestone that means this to me: Live long and (help others) Prosper. 

Posted at 12:06 PM in Abundance  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)

Comments

Commentor

Happy belated birthday Tim! And great reflections!!

I'm so happy to know you are inspiring so many to do what is most important.

Your reflections reminded me of research I read on people who had "near death experiences" - pronounced clinically dead but ended up surviving. Nearly all people reported hearing a voice - whether from Jesus, Mohammed, their own true self, etc. - which asked "How well did you love?" Across all cultures, this seems to be the true barometer for a successful stay on Earth.

Your fellow Lovecat,
matthew

Commentor

I appreciate your posting your thoughts on this milestone. I'll reach the same milestone in a few months. Feels funny, since I think we all feel twenty-something inside. As you say, 50 can be a reminder to make the most of our time. Thanks.

Commentor

Oh Happiest of Birthdays to you, Tim! Here is feedback, You are very much contributing to what I need now as I re-read your first book, make a career change and get focused on why and how I am going to do that. Thank you very much. Lovecat-you are doing quite well at keeping your flock inspired!


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