So. This is 50, then. Time to ramble like an old!
(We’re the Goldens. It’s who we are and what we do.)
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: yesterday ten years ago I posted about my 40th birthday and anticipated falling to pieces over the next decade. In reviewing that entry for the time in ages, it’s awesome that at the time I linked to a video for the exact same song that I quoted on Twitter on my 50th birthday, no parallels intended:
Since my 40th, I’ve regained more of the weight I lost on my long-ago one-year diet. I’ve gone from zero daily meds to three — Vitamin D and two for blood pressure. Over the past few weeks I’ve started getting a stinging pain in the back of my right ankle whenever I drink too much caffeine for two days in a row. My hairline hasn’t fully retreated, but it’s getting slowly un-fortified millimeter by millimeter.
Otherwise? Meh. Same-old. All other blood-tested portents of physiological doom have gone fine lately. I keep waiting for some new alien fuddy-duddy mindset to overtake me out of nowhere, purge my sense of humor, throw away my comics, and force me to wear polo shirts. So far I’m safe, I think? Safe-ish? The only major mental change I can confirm is the now-constant sensation of mentally checking myself every three minutes to sense whether I feel different yet. It’s like I’ve Schrödingered myself into it. That shouldn’t count, right? Or is that all there is to reaching 50? Is it truly safe to quote “Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number” this late into our personal timelines?
My wife Anne crossed this same threshold 17 months ago. Same deal with her: the days after The Big Five-Oh felt like the days before. My theory is all those over-50 shambling mounds around us were either doing it wrong or flat-out lying to us all this time, feigning elderly angst about hitting 50 as part of some perverse long-game hazing ritual so that we’d dread middle age for most of our lives, but now that we’ve crossed that border they’re guffawing at us from their lawn chairs like, “You spent all those decades fretting and worrying yourself to death for NOTHING! Your fear was hilarious! YOU GUYS SHOULD SEE YOUR FACES! HAW HAW HAW!”
I suppose there’re perks to 50 besides the usual birthday cards, but those remain nice. One advantage to knowing people our age or older: we still receive greetings on paper. This year saw old-fashioned wishes from my stepmother-in-law, my mom, a coworker, and an awesome friend who lovingly hand-crafted hers. The 50th percentile also drew mail from an unexpected source: local politicians.
I had no idea this was a thing, but last week I received two pieces of free, unsolicited, autographed memorabilia to mark the occasion — a postcard from State Senator J.D. Ford, followed two days later by a genuinely certified certificate of certification from State Representative Renee Pack testifying that I am indeed 50 and therefore entitled to certain perks, including but not limited to congratulations. I don’t know if it helps that I voted for at least one of them, but…yeah, this is weird to me.
I feel like I should be creeped out by well wishes from strangers. Quite the contrary, I accept them in the halfway-point Willard Scott spirit in which they were intended. Value-added plus: now I can show off my keepsakes if either of them become famous on a national level…for good reasons, that is, as opposed to the other reasons Indiana politicians tend to make headlines and become the Twitter Main Character of the Day.
Around the same time, the USPS also dropped off the requisite membership pitch from the AARP. I chuckled when Anne got hers. Now it was her turn to chuckle back at me as I pondered whether or not a handful of small discounts and a vague reassurance of Elderly Lobbyist Power were worth a (remaining) lifetime of mailbox flooding, including endless advertising for insurance services we don’t need or want. For now: nah.
In a bit of cosmic synchronicity, my birthday also brought our household the series finale of NBC’s Mr. Mayor, whose subplots included one with a group of 100-year-olds (one of them played by 227‘s Hal Williams, a mere 83 years young in reality) were brought into the L.A. mayor’s office for official congratulations on their milestone birthdays. I know one-half of that feeling.
Much as this blog has promised since its very first week back in 2012, we’ll continue charting the effects of the aging process on me here on MCC, and see where it leads. As of tonight, still no warning signs of a full-blown midlife crisis that might threaten to unwind the very fabric of my life and ruin everything Anne and I have worked together to accomplish over these past 17 years together. Updates as they occur!
…well, there was one odd thing: I may have listened to The Black Parade a few too many times this week. I’m sure it’s nothing.