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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Turning 50 and Other Thoughts

Is turning 50 suppose to have a meaning? If so, what is it? At the turn of the century the average life span for an American male was something between 45 and 50 so turning 50 had real meaning. If you were 50 you were lucky to be alive! Yesterday’s 50 is today’s 80 so perhaps the big celebration should be reserved for 75.
Perhaps the phrase on my birthday banner announcing I am “Over the Hill” is a warning to those standing below me. A warning telling the people its all downhill from here and the old duck may loose his footing. If he looses his footing he could fall, and if he falls how many will he take with him?
Perhaps the phrase is intended to tell me that after 50 years I have earned the right to tell people what I really think and feel. Being 50 and “Over the Hill” means that I can boot political correctness out with last night’s left overs. I’m beginning to feel slightly liberated....... Being 50 is starting to feel pretty good.
I’m a member of the 50 party. Our platform borrows the best from all. We have the knowledge, and fifty years of wisdom, to temper and use that knowledge correctly. We are at the time in our career when we can make a difference. Hey, if you haven’t done it yet then what are you waiting for my fellow Fiftyites? Once you turn 60 or 65 they’ll think you’ve lost your ability to reason and send you out the door with a gold watch and a pat on the back. “I’ll be sure to say hello to you at the WalMart door,” will be their final parting words.
Fifty is Nifty! Baby Boomers - this is our time. The first of our generation is retiring and the rest of us are nearing the shoreline. So let’s do something meaningful. Stand for your beliefs - whatever they are. Let the young ones feed from your table of knowledge and wisdom. Let them see your example. Let them see that growing older brings a freedom they must earn to enjoy.
My friends, I’ll be fine at fifty. Don’t worry about this old duck having one of those “mid life crises”. If, some day, you see me looking a bit down at my desk ask my opinion about something and see me come to life. It’s like dropping a coin into a jukebox. Stand back and listen to the wonderful music.
I want to thank all those that had a hand in putting my 50th Surprise Party together.
I was really shocked when I came around the corner of my sister’s house and saw so many family and friends standing there staring at me. I was long gone by the time everyone shouted “Suprise!”. I’ve never had a surprise party before so that one was one for the books. You Got Me!
I enjoyed the evening but came home hungry. I was so busy saying hello to everyone that I didn’t have time to eat supper or enjoy a piece of my birthday cake. I guess to some degree that party was hard work.
Fifty is now in the rear view mirror. The next milestone will be 65 so I've got fifteen years to go.
One last favor to the old man. When you all come to work and camp please don't walk up, stare, and then say, "Wow, you're fifty. You're so old!" I heard that from enough of the younger ones at the various parties this last weekend that I don't need to hear it at work.
Don't hold the door open for me. Don't offer to cut my food at mealtime. Don't hand me a napkin and motion that I should put it on under my chin. Don't ask me if I need some rest.
Don't offer to drive me home when it gets dark. Don't offer to read the small print. Don't whisper, "Bless his heart he tries so hard," behind my back. I still have excellent hearing.
What can you do for this dear old man? Do your job and do your best. Take out the garbage when its spilling over the top. Don't leave pizza boxes all over the Center. Keep the work areas clean and tidy. Tuck your shirts in and leave one ear unattached to the ipod so you can hear instructions. Smile and be happy even if your exhausted. I'm the only one that has the right to look like death's traveling companion. Don't walk over to the cafeteria's sound system and change Aleta's music. One day she will explode and then you see what a real food fight looks like. Be kind to each other at work and look for the camper that needs some special attention.
I'm ready to get back to work. I'll see you all in the trenches.

Mr. Williamson
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