The Half Centurion
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Thanks everyone for the kind and warm birthday greetings over on the message boards. You helped make my day a special one.
Yep, I turned 50 on Tuesday and managed to get through the day with only a moderate amount of angst. But it was definitely a different experience from turning 40 a decade ago (which I describe in Marley & Me). When I turned 40, I could still look in the mirror and honestly say, "Wow! I've had forty great years in which I grew up, made friends, got educated, got married, became a father, found a career I loved and had a lot of fun along the way. AND I'm not even halfway done living yet." (Assuming I'll make it past 80 as both my parents did.)
But turning 50 does not easily afford such optimism. I had to admit that the mid-point of my life was already behind me. Not many of us make it to 100. It was easy to look in the mirror and say, "Geez, it's all downhill from here." But my friends and family wouldn't let me wallow for too long. I banned Jenny from throwing me a party on the theory that turning 50 is an occasion for solemn mourning and self-pity, not hoopla. Instead, the whole family and my pals Dave and Sara took me out for dinner. Colleen made me not one but two homemade cards, the boys gave me a mini-amplifier for my electric guitar, and Jenny found me a cool Celtic stone cross for the garden. My publishers secured me an autographed early edition of Frank McCourt's "Angela's Ashes," a book I love. And my agent, Laurie, sent me a hilarious framed New Yorker cartoon showing a writer at his computer who says: "I wrote another 500 words. Can I have another cookie?" That would be me. Bribery works wonders on my productivity.
At any rate, I survived the day and woke up the next morning feeling surprisingly like I felt when I was a mere lad of 49. Hey, life goes on.
Thanks again for all the well wishes.
In other news, Jenny and I just returned from a three-day trip to Palm Beach where I appeared at a literacy fundraiser breakfast with the author Erica Jong, whose first book "Fear of Flying" has sold a phenomenal 18 million copies over the past 30-some years and whose latest book, "Seducing the Demon," is a candid memoir of the writer's life, which I'm reading and enjoying. Erica and her husband, Ken, were great company and a lot of fun to hang out with. The weather was spectacular, and Jenny and I got to drive past our old house at 345 Churchill Road, which I can happily report is in nicer condition than when we left it. The whole neighborhood is lookin' spiffy, and I'm told no longer has murders on a regular basis.
The best part about the trip? We entirely avoided the icy snowstorm that socked the Northeast Friday and Saturday. Now that's timing!
posted by John Grogan at 8:56 PM