When I was a teenager I remember telling my Mother to "Just shoot me when I turn 50." I don't recall what was happening at the time, but I recall telling her to shoot me. At that age I thought people 50 and older were OLD! They couldn't see. They couldn't hear. They couldn't drive. They were old, and had no quality of life.
In less than a month I will turn 50. Maybe it's because of all the advances that have been made in medicine, but I'm feeling pretty good. My health is pretty good. I hear just fine. I wear contact lenses and seem to see quite well. I work out pretty hard 5 to 7 times a week, lifting weights and working on the Elliptical Cross Trainer.
About a month ago I had breakfast with a friend of mine. We went up to the cashier who was a teenager. She looked at me and gave us the "Senior Discount" on our breakfast. I think we saved about $3, and I was devastated for days. It was beyond my comprehension that this young lady could believe I was a "Senior Citizen!" What could she have been thinking? Then it occurred to me she was thinking the same thing I was when I was her age.
Now I have it pretty good. I have my health, I am employed, and I am happily married to a wonderful woman. My two children, in spite of me, have grown into incredible young adults. My oldest graduated from college last spring, found her dream job and moved to San Francisco. She couldn't be happier. My son was one of very few people admitted to the Business School his freshman year at college. He is doing great, making lots of friends and thoroughly enjoying college.
I suppose if I were to be able to convince my mother to fulfill my childhood wish, I would go with no regrets, but, in all honesty, I'm not ready yet. 50 doesn't seem like such a big deal to me. I'm probably reaching the pinnacle of my lifespan and about to start the downward trek, but I'm not really concerned about it. There are still many things I'd like to do. I'd like to travel a bit with my wife. I'd like to attend my son's graduation from college. I'd like to attend both my kids' weddings. I'd like to hold my grandchildren, babysit them, and spoil them rotten. I'd like to go to a Super Bowl Game. I'd like to retire and spend my days fishing or playing golf.
Lots of people get freaked out about turning 50. My wife did not handle it well. Some of my friends appear to be dreading it. Remember the Doris Day song "Que Sara Sara" which meant "What will be, will be." I thought the phrase was Spanish. Today I was told it was Italian and the complete phrase is "Quel che sarà, sarà" (pronounced approximately "kwel ke sará sará") and means precisely "Whatever will be, will be" and that in Italy it is a popular saying that means one should not worry overmuch about the future, because it's unknown. Whether its Spanish or Italian, for better or worse, its how I feel. So, now that I'm about to turn 50, and I'm older and wiser than when I was a teenager, I take it back. Don't shoot me when I turn 50.