Counting down to 50 — downsides, upsides

What’s left of my hair is either gray or unwanted.
My memory has gone from steel trap to sieve.
Fashionable clothes look out-of-style on me.
I have a reptilian neck.
On the upside, I can give myself haircuts, and many things are best forgotten, and I’ve got no one to impress, and …
Honestly, there’s no upside to a reptilian neck, except maybe the laugh lines around my eyes.
I ran into an old friend at a Christmas party a few weeks ago. He had just turned 50 and was not feeling good about it.
I don’t see the problem. Turning 50 for me feels right — like my body is finally catching up to the old fuddy-duddy soul I’ve had since childhood.
Still, there are some negatives.
At 49 years and 363 days, my metabolism is so slow that I can barely eat without gaining weight. After a normal dinner, I’m like a boa constrictor that just swallowed a goat — good for another six months.
One little cookie goes straight to my love handles.
On the upside, I have more discipline than I had in my youth. I’ve found the ability to eat right and exercise regularly, and as a result I’m in better shape than I was at 40 — or 30, for that matter. After years of reluctant jogging, I finally reached the point where I enjoy it, and if I die on the trail, I’ll be doing what I love.
At 49 years, 363 days, and seven minutes, I am increasingly irrelevant to anyone under 40. With the exception of Congress and the financial industry, the movers and shakers in our culture are younger and better looking than I am, and I missed my own chance to move and shake.
On the upside, I don’t have to put up with any crap from anyone. I’m officially an old guy, so I can finally embrace my inner curmudgeon.
Besides, I was never that relevant anyway.
At 49 years, 363 days, and 12 minutes, my kids are embarrassed to be seen with me. They’d rather spend time with their friends, and they’ll soon abandon me for greener pastures.
On the bright side, they usually reply to my texts, and they’re not in jail.
At 49 years, 363 days, and 16 minutes, I’ll probably never fall in love again.
On the upside, dating terrified me, I was a terrible boyfriend, and I found the perfect life partner.
At 49 years, 363 days, and 19 minutes, the best of my adventures are probably behind me, as I try to put my kids through college and save for retirement.
On the bright side, I’ve hiked the Milford Track and climbed the tower at Notre Dame, and I’ve got plenty of national parks left to visit.
At 49 years, 363 days, and 25 minutes, I still don’t know my true calling. I’ve bounced from job to job and ended up doing something I never planned or trained to do.
On the upside, I have a good job working with great people, and I get to sit inside in a warm office and exercise my increasingly feeble brain.
At 49 years, 363 days, and 31 minutes — no fortune, no fame. I never got my novel published, and playing in a rock-and-roll band was a letdown. Our income has tripled, but we still live check-to-check.
On the upside, I have good health and more creature comforts than anyone needs, and I’m happy just to be here.
Enjoy 2013, my friends, whatever your age. Let’s make it the best year ever.
Brett Larson is the editor of the Messenger.

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