Birthday number fifty-one

Since my birthday only comes around once per year, I had might as well announce it. Today I turned fifty-one.

Decades, literally, have passed since I was sentimental or celebratory about this day. I have long subscribed to the late Andy Rooney’s dictum: Twenty-two or twenty-three is the last birthday that is really worth making a fuss over.

That said, I don’t necessarily dread this day, either. And neither should you, if you’re getting on in years.

Time is going to pass whether you like it or not. You need to make terms with that fact. If your entire self-identity is founded on being a cutting-edge youngster, you are going to be miserable for most of your life (unless you plan on dying very young, which I don’t advise).

For my fifty-first birthday, forget the corny celebrations. Forget about the “ironic” black balloons, too.

At my age, having passed the half-century mark, a birthday takes on a new significance: I have cheated death for more than half a hundred years. This day (assuming I live through it) is a finger raised at the Grim Reaper.

But I won’t allow myself to get too cocky—even on my birthday. True, I have outwitted and out-lucked that skull-faced figure with the scythe for 51 years, as of today.

But there’s always tomorrow, and he’ll be back.