Valley View:Fifty, Fun and Free

I have a theory about birthdays and it's fairly simple — some are great, some are not. Of course, every birthday is a momentous, much longed for occasion when one is a child. Biggies growing up include 5 (off to school!), 10 (first double digit!) and 13 (hey, I'm a teen!).

And then … we get older. I turned 18 the same year 18-year-olds got the vote, so I cast my ballot and it felt pretty huge. Nineteen and 20 were anti-climactic, but 21 cements one's status as an adult. After that, my birthdays were fairly dull until notching up the big 3-0, followed by the big 4-0.

Which brings me to the present, and this month's celebration of my 50th. Okay, technically my 51st, but I'm holding at 50. Some people are perennially 29, 30 or 35 — I think 50 is a cool place to stop. Besides, I was ill last year and birthdays in a hospital just don't count.

Fifty is a number that truly impresses me. It represents one half a century on this planet. Which means that in an extremely modest way, I'm walking history. I have the vantage point to look back and see that while it's been a wild ride at times, all of the years brought me to where I am today.

That's as philosophical as I will get. I certainly don't have any profound insights to share except that for me, 50 is fun. Honest! I have long since passed the age of being a child responsible to parents, or being a parent responsible for a child. That means 50 is not only fun, it's free.

I feel like a kid in a candy store. Various possibilities appeal to me, which never did before. For example, I have a yen to study algebra without fear (of grades). I have a yen to take up Middle Eastern dancing and drumming. I have a yen to understand what the heck rappers are saying on KIIS FM. Seriously.

My sense of curiosity is expanding into dimensions of consciousness I never knew existed. Christiane Northrup, M.D., has written extensively about women's brains getting rewired at mid life. I'm glad she did, or I might have suspected my water of being contaminated with additives other than fluoride.

In addition to my disparate, newfound or reactivated interests in math, dance and pop (as in popular) music, I am fascinated by nature's precision and beauty. I also wonder about the complexity of language and exactly how words function. My days are filled with continual "wow!" moments, each moment yielding layers of discovery.

All in all, 50 is a pretty good deal. In fact I like it so much, that as mentioned previously, I think I'll stick here for a while and possibly emerge with a new birthday in the next decade. That's another great thing about 50, you can bend some rules and get away with it as being eccentric. Eccentric? Me? Yah sure, you betcha.

Or, as Alfred E. Neuman said, "What me worry?"

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