Fifty

October 21, 1966 – That is the day I was born. I have completed fifty years on this earth. I can safely say I am past middle age. It would mean living to 100. Not completely out of the realm of possibility, but highly unlikely. Although, I do have a great aunt who’s still alive at 104. Anyway…

Do you know what the lead story around the world was on the day I was born? A mudslide buried a school, killing 148 people in Aberfan, Wales. The local Merthyr Vale coal mine had dumped coal waste, ash and sludge to a height of 700 feet. Heavy rains led to the slide and the subsequent burial of the Pant Glas elementary school and some nearby homes. 116 of the victims were children. Horrifying.

Fifty is hitting me hard. I’ve never minded turning another year older. The other milestones haven’t affected me the way this one is. I feel like doors are closing on me – there are things I can never go back and do again. Opportunities have been lost, the consequences of past decisions have now been fully realized. The future is no longer wide open with possibilities, it has narrowed to a dimly lit hallway with doors that have been locked or that have been stuck with paint so they are hard to open. The walls are covered with artwork displaying everything that is now out of reach.

However….

I remind myself of these words of wise King Solomon: A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth – Ecclesiastes 7:1. And I remember that really a birthday is nothing more than a way to mark the passage of time. That, at the beginning of one’s life we have no name, no reputation, no body of work, no achievements, no experiences, no friends and no memories. After fifty years, at least I have all of those things. And though I feel like a great portion of those fifty years could’ve been better spent than they were, time unfortunately does not move in but one direction.

My only option, then, is to move forward down that dimly lit hallway, yank open the paint-stuck doors and take advantage of the opportunities left to me. It just no longer seems easy or effortless. But not impossible.

Header image from owl-cation.

113 thoughts on “Fifty

  1. Definitely NOT impossible! I can definitely relate in that I feel like I lost a lot of time, as those decisions have made it seem as though many doors are now closed or stuck, as you described. But I also savor a much simpler life! Even that takes work, but it’s so necessary to do what fills your soul. Do what you love, Meg! You are such an amazing women. No doubt you’ll bust through those doors.

    I remembered how much I loved this article. It may not apply at all for you, but I thought I’d share.

    https://markmanson.net/passion

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, probably not. But then again I had my new decade age stress when I stopped being a teenager and turned 20. A few days later I realised that I was still the same person and haven’t really bothered about it ever since! I’m still 18 in my head you know 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. First… Happy Birthday!! Cake always makes things better. 🙂

    I’ve been thrown off by a few numbers along the way… with regrets and dreams of time travel to live the years better, to do it “right” with a second chance… But of course, that is not to be. (Dammit!) However, I don’t think of myself as being my actual age. Maybe that’s because I act about 13 most of the time. But the magic is… You don’t need to be in a dimly lit tunnel. I picture more of a whipping crazy amusement park ride… And in the end, a sudden dark plummet. No slow walk down a dim hall.

    Of course, I could be full of it since I have no idea how I’ll feel at fifty…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy Birthday, Love!!!! You’re amazing and talented and fun, and don’t forget you have awesome shoes!! You’ve got lots more years to do lots more things! I hope you have a happy day! Eat some cake, drink something bubbly or something aged and celebrate!! 😀❤️💐🎈🎉🎊

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well: happy, happy birthday. Make it a good one. Fifty is just a number like any other. It has no significance. Age is in the head and the mind can conquer most things, as you well know. I did my best work AFTER the age of 50, not before. There are many good things ahead of you and, piece of advice, if that corridor seems dark: buy a torch or turn on the lights. And if the doors stick: ‘those boots weren’t just made for walking, they were also made for kicking open doors that stick! Your birthday presents are on the way, Meg. They will be a little bit late, but I hope you enjoy them. NOW: make it a great day.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. To my younger sis: All we have is one moment. We don’t even have a day. We have now. Live now to the fullest. I’m older than you. I realize there are things I am sometimes I get caught up in: Where am I? Why am I here and not there? How much time do I have left to do X-Y-Z?

    But overall I have decided I just have this moment. I could have died a number of times in my life and almost did. I didn’t die. I could die today. This afternoon. This weekend. All I have is now.

    Sure, I make plans for the future. I want a future with Waco, with my kids, to have little babies running around who call me something other than “grandpa” because I’m not old enough to have grandchildren.

    But today is all I got. Now is all I got.

    Today I wanted you to feel special on your birthday. I hope something I wrote or said helped that to happen.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Happy Birthday Meg. Enjoy your special day/Month. I hope you’re spoiled by friends and loved ones. Fifty is not old, it’s only half-way. My Great-Grandma was 93 when she passed, my other somewhere in her mid-nineties, my Baba is coming up on ninth-four and my dear Grandma Reeder (my great-God mother) is almost 98. I love the passage you chose from Solomon. A good name, to be a good person and a helpful person, no matter the circumstances. I think that is much more vital. And I think even on your blog, you do this. 🎈🍰🍧

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Happy birthday, little sis! I already opened some of those doors for you and it’s all good, trust me. And I should know, I’m even older than Kev! Really, life just gets better and better, the possibilities nowadays are endless. Don’t waste anymore time being depressed, you’d be cool at any age. Love ya!! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It doesn’t matter how long you live, its what you do so that you wouldn’t regret it as you will have to repeat it eternally (Eternal Recurrence was his metaphysical idea to escape the nihilism implicit in atheism). there was also his advice that it is vital to die at the right time, but that probably wont improve your mood. Anyway a very Happy Birthday Meg, they are tons of positive, enjoy.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Happy birthday, Meg! The way I see it, you have all that wisdom and joy for living… and the money to enjoy it that you wouldn’t have had at 18! I think it’ll be a great age to be when I get there… I hope you agree in the meantime! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Looking back in hindsight from atop the high vantage point of Mount 50, I can see why a lot of things happened and turned out the way they did. I think in some parts they call that wisdom.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Happy birthday, Meg. It’s always good to imagine that you don’t actually know how old you are. All you have to go by then are your feelings, and not get all caught up in pointless worries about meaningless numbers.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Happy Birthday Meg, and welcome to the 50s. They’re not so bad. 😉
    I would tell you that I didn’t even start my blog until after 50, but since I have not been very good at keeping it, up, I’m not sure that will mean much. Just look at all you have accomplished!
    Have a wonderful year!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Oh in the excitement over our birthdates I forgot to say this: you are someone I look up to not just as a writer but a good human being too! So don’t let that number 50 stop you, the world is your canvas paint on it however you like….ppl love art! Oh yea I see you have already started with sketching 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I missed it, and it’s too late now to wish you Happy Birthday, but hey, it was just another day. A day to savour like every day. A day to start doing new things, if that’s what you want. A day to think “to hell with it, I don’t have to impress anyone!” Always remember that regret is a wasted emotion. Above all else have a very happy “rest of your life”! Hugs from a youngster who had already been in the Army for 2 years when you were born.😘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Peter. I’ve come to terms with it. For some reason, this milestone felt heavy. I’m not usually that affected by the passage of time. And it is all in the attitude, isn’t it? In my mind, I’m still a twenty-something!

      Liked by 1 person

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