All day, birthday greetings have been pouring in from friends and family. Most sound a common theme: turning fifty is a significant right of passage. Many of the messages are tinged with dire humor, advising that “Fifty is a major birthday” and welcoming me to “the beginning of the end.” As often happens, my mother put it best: “I’m an awfully young woman to have a son who is fifty.”
The consensus seems to be that I am old.
But am I? I certainly don’t feel any older than I ever did. Perhaps part of it is my irreverent, adventurous attitude (which could be one of those keeps-me-youngish-despite-the-gray-in-my-hair things); but part of it must be the fact that my knees have been more-or-less shot since I was nineteen (so I have always been old and decrepit). Either way, I feel no different than I did at forty — or thirty or twenty, for that matter.