The countdown is on. In less than 1 week, I will officially be 50 years old. I am not sure how to handle this news. I don't really feel like I will be 50. The number itself holds no special dread for me. I feel fine and look at this upcoming birthday as an accidental result of my birth and nothing else. I suppose that it has to happen sometime, so I might as well get it over with.
Turning 50 means a birthday celebration organized by friends. As usual, the get-together will not actually happen ON my birthday, but at the closest convenient point on a weekend immediately before or after my birthday. It looks like this year it will happen on the weekend after, and that is fine with me. This also means the obligatory gag gifts and such that normally go along with entering a new decade. I don't mind the attention, and the good-natured barbs don't really hurt at all. I am just glad that I have friends who feel like celebrating an occasion like this with me and Hal. The only limit that I place on things like this is the amount of money that they will throw down on the event. I am not a selfish person by nature and I don't see the need for friends to get all extravagant with plans for the day. The best birthday celebration I have had over the last 12 years was one that was delayed by bad weather. When things were finally rearranged, the birthday dinner ended up at Golden Corral! While some of the people thought that this was not the proper place for a birthday dinner, I reminded them that it was their presence, and not presents, that made the time special. The fact that the dinner wasn't overpriced was a bonus to them since mine was gratis anyway.
I guess that I am rather strange in this way. I have often remarked that a potluck dinner at the apartment would be just as joyful for me on my birthday as going out. Sadly, I don't think that I can trust that many of my friends to prepare anything edible in their own kitchens to bring to the potluck! I just am not that much of a materialistic person, and I don't feel the need for people to spend a large amount of money on me. As long as the celebration isn't terribly expensive for them I will be very happy.
As I said earlier, I don't feel any sense of dread as my 50th birthday approaches. I suppose that it is natural to think back and wonder how I might have done some things differently, but that usually doesn't last with me very long. The past is the past. Decisions were made that brought me to the point where I am today, and no amount of wishing will change any of it. The key to happiness is learning to keep moving forward from the place that you are now.