50-1 – Turning Fifty


This is the second week of the second month, and I had anticipated being so much far along in my reflections. I’m still not sure how I want these to flow; I just feel that my fiftieth year deserves something a little special; a little different; a little more.

My age has always been one of those oddities for me. Between not caring at all and caring too much, I can never remember how old I am without doing the math. Being born in December, I was always the youngest in high school and college, having just made the cut off to attend school in my year. My middle son is usually the youngest (October birthday) in his class and my daughter is usually the oldest (January).  One of my closest college friends was born in January, so he and I were quite literally one year apart. At my first job in the early childhood field, I remained the youngest or at least close to the youngest for most of my tenure there.  Things evened out a little bit after my first son was born with colleagues and other parents in school, but I still tended to be one of the oldest in any give group. Even now I am either the youngest (at church or the Red Hats) or the oldest (at any other school or friend function.) My closest friends are in their mid-twenties/thirties.

I don’t know how I feel about the whole age thing.

I already feel adrift, falling somewhere between baby boomers and gen Xers, a forgotten generation of sorts. Too old and practical for my twenty-something friends, and too flighty and culture savvy for my aged peers.

People laugh and think it’s vanity that I can never remember my age. It’s not intentional; it’s just never been important enough to stay on my mind. Oh, I knew 18 and 21, 25 and 30. Forty didn’t bother me like I was told it would, but 41 made me cry, pretty much all year. Forty-one was tragic. I looked forward to 42 – my Douglas Adams birthday as I called it, and I expressed my age that year every chance I could. But after that….it feels like a countdown, and I don’t like to dwell on it or that I’m not quite where I wanted to be at 49. It didn’t help that 45 came with the baggage of a heaping pile  of a previously unknown and undiagnosed severe  case of depression and anxiety that is finally beginning to stay on the track it’s supposed to be on.

One thing that I do enjoy lately is that we’ve have hit the moment pop culturally where most of my favorite television shows have actors around my age: Misha Collins-ish,Jensen Ackles (at least they’re not twenty), Norman Reedus, Alan Cumming, Robert Downey, Jr, John Barrowman. (Notice the obvious lack of women/actresses in my age group to look up to, though.)

At the end of the year, I will be 50, and I wonder what that means. I’m beginning this series of reflections. My aim is to do about fifty of these, originally planned for one a week, and I’m not going to worry about it being the second week of the second month. I’m going to go with the flow. Some of the time. This is the year of positive thinking. I’m just going to trudge on, and make my way through this year, paying attention, noticing, writing, and moving forward.

Always moving forward.

I am in good company, however:

This past weekend, the Super Bowl turned 50.

In September, Star Trek, one of my most formative childhood and adolescent guides to my world will also be 50. Star Trek formed and inspired my creativity, my writing, my thoughts about the future and space travel (I was born during the Apollo age), and my never-ending love of science fiction, which begat fantasy. Star Trek was very important in my life.

NOW (National Organization for Women) was founded.

Batman: The Movie was released and was soon followed by the television show.

UFWOC (United Farm Workers Organizing Committee) founded.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas aired for the first time.

The first Kwanzaa was celebrated.

Nolan Ryan made his debut in the big leagues with the NY Mets (my favorite team. I grew up near Shea Stadium.)

The SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) was formed at author Diana Paxson’s graduation party at UC-Berkeley. The name was created by author Marion Zimmer Bradley. Like Star Trek, the SCA was a tremendous influence and inspiration in showing me new worlds, new people, and new skills like costuming and jewelry making. (It’s kind of amazing how many of my life’s influences were born the same year as I was.)

Days of Our Lives premiered.

The Supreme Court case that brought us the Miranda warning to our collective vocabulary and basic civil rights was decided.

The start of Medicare.

The Department of Transportation was created.

The Black Panthers formed.

Pampers creates the first disposable diaper, and I for one, can’t thank them enough.

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