Turning 50

Oldsville“What do you want to do for your 50th birthday?” my wife asked me. “What, I’m turning 50?” was my reply. Even my mother and father were surprised when they realized I would be 50 this month! Oh no, I thought, that dreaded birthday when they decorate with black balloons, grey streamers, and RIP signs hanging on the walls. I have been to countless other “turning 50” birthday parties, but now my own! I am sure my friends will have fun surprising me with gifts like a walker, an oxygen tank, and a package of Depends. My coworkers will start to ask me when I plan to retire and can they have my stapler when I leave. How did I get here? Conventional wisdom would claim that I’ve reached the pinnacle of virility, the mountain top of the career ladder, and the last days of good health, it’s all downhill from here. They also say that you are only as old as you feel. The wisdom of age reveals this axiom to be untrue. See mentally I’m still in my thirties, but physically, my knees and back tell me otherwise. This same wisdom tells me that I’m not ready to start ba50 but not grown upck down the mountain. This perch at 50 provides a great view of the life I’ve ventured below me, but it also reveals a lot of climbing yet to be accomplished, I’m not done and I’m anxious to keep going! It would be easy to conclude that my life is more than half over, and gone are the best years. I prefer to think that my first half century was all about getting me ready for my next half century. And so my second journey now begins.

John Denver sang “it turns me on to think of growing old” (Poems, Prayers, and Promises). There is a romantic notion of age; that the wisdom gained over decades will bring life into focus and provide a perfect vantage point to understanding the secrets of life and the answers to why we are here; Ah young grasshopper, Kung fulisten to my wisdom, life is like swiss cheese, good to the taste, but full of holes. John Denver also sang “his sight has turned inside himself” (Rocky Mountain High). The passage of time has certainly made me more introspective and more aware of my personal motivations and goals. But more importantly, it has helped me to understand that human life is finite. We are each part of a continuous cycle of life that churns generation after generation. Our individual accomplishments, successes, and achievements are of little importance in the big picture of an ever changing universe. Walt Whitman wrote of the value of life “that you are here, that the powerful play goes on, and you might contribute a verse.” So will I leave a verse, a song, or go quietly into the night? The bible teaches us that our verse should not be about personal achievement, but about our contribution to better this world, reduce the suffering of others, and reveal to others the good news of salvation.

 “When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous” (Luke 14:13)


“Preach the word, be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage, with great patience and careful instruction.” (2 Timothy 4:2)

So there you have it, the focus of our lives should not be on us, but on those around us. Allowing God’s love to flow through us so that it may be revealed to anyone that intersects our life. To interact with others “with great patience.” It’s that simple. This is the wisdom I have gained over 50 years. Now the key is putting it into practice, which is difficult indeed.

“Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever” –Walt Disney



28 thoughts on “Turning 50

  1. This is such an incredible piece! I’m glad you suggested I check it out 🙂

    I think you said it all. It’s about understanding what life is all about and the verses at the bottom there really do justice to the motives of a life well lived and well oriented!

    Happy Birthday!


  2. 50 is a big birthday its half a century hahaha Happy birthday brother and I pray every year brings an abundant amount of wisdom and joy. As i said in the post you read time should encompass wisdom and it certainly seems as though that is the case for you!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow thanks a lot man. I didn’t get the follow notification. But I followed you already brother. Let’s win some souls to Christ and strengthen those that already know him!!!


  3. Hi, Mike. I’m new, but old(er) Lol…
    It’s magical to meet you on your birthday. I hope you celebrated your precious life today! I look forward to reading more of your thoughtful shared writings! Live!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Impactive message Mike. Along with making our mark through acts of kindness, I like the idea that we are constantly developing and growing to meet the “what comes next” in our lives.

    Thanks Pal


  5. 50 seems so young for that kind of over the hill celebration. One of my mentors started the work she will most be remembered for at 60! I’m now getting ever closer to 70…. so weird.

    I appreciated all of your reflections. You most definitely have plenty of value to say.


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