May 19, 2011

What Fifty Said


ast night I called my parents. They had tried to call to wish us a happy 25th anniversary and a storm prevented us from taking their call. So I called them back last night and we talked about 25 years of marriage and fifty years of life. And I am reminded again of how old I am.

Fifty is a different age than all those milestones that have been passed before. I remember when I didn’t trust anyone over the age of 20. And then I was 20. And I remember when 30 sounded very old, until I turned 30. After that, 40 sounded really old—until I turned 40. Throughout all those years 50 sounded ancient. And now I’m just a few months away from turning 50. And it still sounds very old. And made older all the time when I look at those around me. Most people are younger than I am. And the people who are my age are far, far more accomplished than I am.

Last night my parents reminded me of their 25th anniversary. They celebrated by touring Europe for multiple weeks. For our celebration, Kim and I walked around the town of Front Royal, walked through a few stores where we couldn’t afford to buy anything, and then went to an inexpensive restaurant for dinner.

I’m beginning to see why this 50-year milestone has been more difficult to swallow. I’m not sure how it will end, but it has been a roller coaster year and doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon. I guess the only thing I’ve learned so far is that I’m not nearly as smart as I used to think I was.

What Fifty Said

When I was young my teachers were the old.
I gave up fire for form till I was cold.
I suffered like a metal being cast.
I went to school to age to learn the past.

Now when I am old my teachers are the young.
What can't be molded must be cracked and sprung.
I strain at lessons fit to start a suture.
I got to school to youth to learn the future.

Robert Frost

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