As of 9:00 a.m. this morning (Eastern time) I am 50 years old. It feels a little strange as this number used to look really old to me. In 1970 I received (as a Christmas gift) a book called The First 50 Years, the history of the NFL from 1920 to 1970. I still have it. I remember thinking then that 50 years seemed like forever. It doesn’t so much anymore.
While it’s amusing to recognize that I’m now eligible for membership in the AARP I don’t feel 50, though I’m not sure what 50 should feel like. I know I don’t mind being mistaken for being older than I am, and I have no desire to be younger. Maybe I’m fooling myself but I don’t hear the hoofbeats of Sister Death. I love the wisdom I’ve gained in my first 50 years and while my experiences have been far from universally fun, I’ve learned some important lessons.
I’ve learned to laugh more and fear less.
I’ve learned that worry is seldom benign, often malignant, and almost never accurate.
I’ve learned that the better angels of my nature are quite powerful and are most effective when I let them loose.
I’ve learned that the people who love me aren’t mistaken, and most of the people who dislike me are.
I’ve learned that when someone pays me a compliment it usually comes after some honest thought.
I’ve learned that when someone criticizes me it’s not always done well, but I can probably learn something from it.
I’ve learned that God loves the people who drive me crazy and I should follow His example.
I’ve learned that there is no downside to praying.
I’ve learned that there is no downside to love.
And finally, I’ve learned how much I love my wife Nancy. We were out to dinner tonight to celebrate my birthday. I told her that out of my 50 years, the last 12 when I’ve been married to her have been my happiest. I hope she feels the same way.
It’s been a fun ride so far. I hope for many more birthdays. If you’re reading this, thank you.