It's nearly 10 PM as I write this. In about three hours plus change, I will have completed my 51st trip around the sun. I am not generally one to make a big fuss about my birthdays - I enjoy presents as much as the next guy, but we usually don't do big elaborate celebrations at our house. Consequently, I really don't fret much about getting older. I will admit, last year probably bothered me as much as any birthday I have ever celebrated - somehow fifty just seems old. As long as you are in your 40's you can delude yourself into thinking you are still a "young man," whatever that means, but at 50 you just have to accept that you have entered middle age.
But now that I have had a year to adjust to that, fifty isn't so bad. Honestly, I still think and act like a teenager a good deal of the time (my wife and my students can both verify that), I still have decent energy reserves, and I can still do all the stuff I used to do (granted, I tend to be more sore the next day!). It's really not a bad stage of life - I certainly enjoy myself a great deal, and have lots of friends. I haven't yet entered that mystical place I hear my older friends talk about - it apparently happens after your kids move out and graduate college, and it's called "having money again." However, since I never had much money to begin with, I'm not going nuts waiting for it to happen. In the meantime, I have my family, my church, my writing, my endless fascination with B-movies, and even some video games to waste time with.
Tomorrow I will rise at dawn, take my boat out with a couple of friends, and go in search of those elusive Indian arrowheads I love to find. When I come home, a hot bath, a hot supper, and - who knows? Maybe even a birthday cake. All things considered, life is pretty good - even if I am a year older.