Monday, May 12, 2014

7 Age Milestones

This morning I turned 50. The big five-oh. It's no great accomplishment, really. Lots of people did it before me. Lots will do it after me. But I'll never do it again.

There are seven age milestones we all know well.

1) Turning thirteen is a biggie. We all remember becoming a teenager, innocently thinking it would be a completely positive experience, then learning it is anything but.

2) For girls there's the Sweet 16 milestone. No such thing for boys ... or maybe there is. By that age we've started to appreciate our Sweet 16 counterparts.

3) Then there's the biggest-until-now milestone -- Eighteen. Back in my day that meant we were adults. Today it's more like adult-on-probation, with limited benefits until you get used to the real world.

4) Twenty-one comes next. You can drink alcohol now, though you've probably been doing that already. At twenty-one you're all grown up. You can start proving your parents wrong on all those senseless things they told you.

5) Forty. People dread turning forty, perhaps because it's been so long since your last milestone. So much has happened. You've married and had kids. Maybe divorced, remarried, and had more kids. That stretch between 21 and 40 is when we settle out into a career. We set goals. Big goals, because, hey, we've got our lives ahead of us. Forty is when we begin the process of redefining our goals to better match our abilities. We begin to inventory our achievements, and our failures. We tweak, because we still have time. We've also realized our parents weren't as dumb as we thought they were, and we are trying desperately to pass that intel on to our teens.

6) Fifty is the big one. If you make it to fifty, you know there's probably more years out the back glass than through the windshield. Fifty is when we start to worry that maybe we should've saved more and spent less, or worked harder toward those goals we set back in the day. If you're lucky, you've found that special someone who loves you no matter what. By fifty you probably have grandkids. Grandkids are a do-over. We know what we did wrong raising our own kids, so we can constantly tell them what they are doing wrong with our grandkids. You can spoil grandkids because you can send them home, and you won't feel guilty about it because your hard-headed kids won't listen to your child-rearing advice, but be careful. They are like boomerangs -- they come back. Spoil them carefully.

7) The final milestone for most of us is 65. Retirement. After that we coast. Nothing to do but fun and sun. Spend all that money we saved. If that's not entirely true, don't tell me. Let me keep that RV lifestyle in my head. I'm still young. I'm only fifty.

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