Tuesday, June 9, 2009

50 and life

A few weeks ago I had my fiftieth birthday. For some reason that just sounds old. Now, even though I have been told I look younger, I can't say I'm “40 something” anymore. Plus, I am now a grandfather. I am also old enough to join AARP. Before, when I was “40 something”, if a group of people I was in consisting of all ages were told to form two lines, one for young people, the other for old people, I would get in the young line.

Now, I probably won't always be able to get in that young line. Oh, I'll try. But I think increasingly people, mostly young people, are going to come up to me and say “excuse me sir, I think you're in the wrong line”. But sometimes it will be the older crowd telling me to get in their line; “Hey Jeff, get over here and act your age”!

When I lived in Arizona, I worked in some of the retirement communities there. These communities were designed such that you could only live there if you were 40 or older. I was in my late twenties at the time. What set these communities apart was the folks that lived there always seemed just a little bit more distant, disconnected, even bitter. The younger residents, those in their 40's and 50's seemed to embody a perspective that was more typical of those in their 70's and 80's. In other words, everybody seemed a bit older than they really were. I don't want to go there.

God has really blessed me, and for that I am grateful beyond words. I have my health, as does my whole family. I am in good shape. The other day, I was at the beach with my family. As I chased my one year old grandson along the beach, I pondered the question of rather I had the energy to raise a family from scratch all over again. That was just a hypothetical question, mind you. But I can honestly say yes, I do still have the energy. Not just physically, but mentally as well.

When I was a teenager, 50 sounded old as dirt. I couldn't even imagine being 50. Thought I would have one foot in the grave! As it turns out, I'm just an prematurely gray, slightly wrinkled teenager. The primary difference being instead of 18 years of wisdom, I now have 50. Man, that was a quick 50 years!

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