Will Morrow (courtesy)

Will Morrow (courtesy)

Older and wiser, or not

Turning 50 has been a more laid-back experience

Remember when 50 sounded old?

For me, it wasn’t that long ago. Like, last week, when I was still “in my forties,” 50 sounded a long way off.

But I celebrated my 50th birthday this week. And to be honest, it hasn’t been a big deal, emotionally speaking. Turning 40 seemed to make me a lot older.

Sure, I’m quite a bit grayer than I was 10 years ago. The crow’s feet are more defined. There’s a few more aches and pains, and they take a little longer to go away.

And don’t get me started on how fast hair grows in places it didn’t used to grow. Tufts of hair on their ears help cats hear better; I’m not sure what the evolutionary purpose is for me.

Turning 50 has been a more laid-back experience. I’ve heard that 50 is the new 40, but 40 was much more stressful, trying to balance family, career, and taking care of myself.

But at 50, the kids have left nest, and they’re doing well. Career-wise, I can start thinking about what I want to accomplish before I retire — which in some ways feels closer than turning 50 did just a week ago.

And I have time to pursue things I want to pursue, whether that’s volunteering, getting in some exercise, or reading for my own pleasure. I’ve been pretty good about filling that time. A day planner has been more essential now that it was 10 years ago, but there’s time to get most of it in, anyway.

There is one perk to turning 50 — you start getting the AARP membership application in the mail. I’m not sure which speaks to my age more — that I get AARP membership applications, or that I look forward to getting things in the mail.

I’ve been pretty low-key about my birthdays for a long time. There are a number of reasons for it. It’s proximity to Thanksgiving means there’s other things to celebrate, and I share it with my twin sister. (That reminds me, I should wish her a happy birthday!)

You also reach a point where you realize that you don’t feel any different on your birthday than you did the day before. For me, that happened in my late teens and early twenties. I don’t claim to be a wise man, but I seem to have figured out that you can look forward to a day on the calendar with excitement or dread, or you can try to enjoy each day along the way. Always look on the bright side, right?

This year, my birthday fell on Thanksgiving, and we in Fairbanks visiting my son and his girlfriend (and their dog, which is our first grand fur-baby!). A wrench got thrown in our Thanksgiving dinner plans, and we ended up hosting in our little rental accommodations. It made for a more spontaneous day, with a snowshoe excursion, a cobbled together feast, and an evening of board games. As far as birthdays go, it was as good as it gets.

I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. And I hope that your next birthday is a great one.

But even more than that, I hope you enjoy all the days up until then, too.

Will Morrow lives in Kenai. Email him at willmorrow2015@gmail.com.

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