Milestone birthdays and signs of age

19 Apr

Tomorrow is D-Day…De Day I turn FIFTY.  I don’t know how that happened, but I do realize one thing.

When I was 18, fifty was so old that it wasn’t even truly alive anymore.

When I turned 30, fifty was “aging” and “over the hill”.

When I turned 40, fifty was “a bit older”.

Now that I’m turning 50, heck, it’s not old at all!

So what was on my birthday wish list?  Um, comfortable shoes and a blood pressure monitor.  Seriously.  That’s almost pathetic.  Who wishes for comfortable shoes at 18?  At 18, you want cute, you want hip, you want a lot of things…but comfortable?  Yeah, right.

Blood pressure?  Ha, that’s what we consistently make rise in our parents, not something we monitor on ourselves!

There is a remote possibility that I have changed a bit since I was 18, although it still feels like ME inside, I am often surprised too.  I’m surprised when I look in the mirror and wonder who in the hell that old person is.  I was surprised when the state of Mississippi put my mother’s photograph on my driver’s license, and she’s never had a Mississippi one.  I’m surprised when I take my blood pressure, and the numbers are larger than my bank balance too.

And then, there was the cake.  Yeah.  Take a look at this beauty!

50th birthday cake

50th birthday cake

Birthday parties…

Working on a 4 wheeler

Working on a 4 wheeler

Guys…and motors…and parties…

If its not time for food, they’ll be gathered around a motor or a television, it seems.  It was before dinner.

Full moon after party

Full moon after party

After the party, the full moon rose over the woods at the bottom of the hill.  It was beautiful, and a fitting end to a wonderful afternoon and evening of birthday party.  It was truly a day to make me feel special.

And then, surprise, surprise…it was back to real life, where I’m not special!

The past few months have had their own fair share of surprises.  Like the salt free diet.  I’ve lived low sodium my entire life, although I was free to binge on salty stuff once in a while, it always upset my stomach.  Even as a kid, too much salt would have me in the doctor learning a new word: gastroenteritis.  I knew what it felt like, for sure…it was the word that meant stomach cramps doubling me over and even vomiting wouldn’t help.  It meant missing out on fun while it felt like my insides were being tied into knots and then ripped apart slowly.  It meant that when Grandma stubbed her toe on the salt next time, I was going to have to figure out how to politely not eat it.  Now, a slice of ham means my ankles are going to give me complaints for days, and doing it twice means more misery than I’m prepared to deal with.  I’ve also discovered that it is impossible to cheat without being terribly miserable.  No more flavored crackers or fast food for me!

It’s meant advance whining too.  Easter and that traditional American ham is just around the corner.  I’m pleading the cause for adding turkey breast or pork loin…minus the sodium embellishment of even a modern cured ham.  My daughter, suddenly the ultimate traditionalist, is being resistant.  Worst case scenario?  Turkey burger…the ham isn’t an option, I’m not going to have swollen feet and ankles for the sake of tradition.  It doesn’t matter how much I love ham at Easter.  I can’t eat it, my blood pressure is still not under control.

Sigh.

But…I had a fantastic birthday party on Sunday with family and friends.  I was given a blood pressure monitor, a really cute container gardening set, and the money to buy the coveted pair of Keens…which have already been ordered as of this writing.  Oh  yeah…I’m anticipating happy feet here.

I was raised that one took care of their feet, because if your feet hurt, you were miserable and couldn’t be as productive.  But…with the rising prices and shrinking income thing going on, I’d not been buying the best of shoes.  I already know I kill shoes, and a typical $40 pair of shoes lasts about 90 days with consistent wear.  A pair of Keens or Merrells, my two favorite shoe brands (obviously, I’m not a slave to fashion here…) will typically last me well over 1 yr, and often over 2 years even with nearly daily wear, and hard wear including things such as lava field hiking (I have demolished boots in under 1 hour on a lava field) and soggy hiking on saturated ground (more common on the Gulf Coast than it was in Arizona) as well as countless hours standing and walking on cement.  The problem was my not wanting to spend over $100 on a single pair of shoes.  However, if you compare cost-per-day of use, the cheap $40 shoes cost about $.45 per day.  The $100 shoes cost about $.27 per day using a 1 yr minimum (even though they typically last 18-24 months with even daily wear.)  It’s a false economy there to continue wearing the cheap shoes, and that isn’t even calculating in the unmeasured cost of pain!

That’s the justification that goes straight to the heart of the matter with any frugal “devil’s advocate.”  It’s also been the reason for my new half century resolution.  Never wear cheap, poorly made, poorly designed shoes again.  I should have relearned the lesson with Crocs too.  Cheap knock offs were uncomfortable, unpleasant, and the tread wore off quickly.  The “real deal” lasted over a year with regular wear and did not leave my feet aching.

So I can continue my frugal ways, without painful feet and ankles now, and in clear conscience as well!

But it’s likely to be a sign of age.  I refuse to wear uncomfortable clothing or shoes.  I don’t care if its ugly or weird.  That’s okay.  I do avoid obviously poor choices like plaids with polka dots or stripes.  I don’t like to have clashing colors either.  BUT…if its just to work in or hang around in the woods in…I’m far less concerned about patterns than I am about comfort, durability, and protection (you know the routine, thorns, sticks, etc.)

I don’t want to spend time with unpleasant people either.  Whiners, complainers, shriekers, bitchers, moaners, excuse makers, etc. are all on my list of “given up after half a century.”  I’m now officially too old to put up with unpleasant BS unnecessarily.  If I have to put up with it, it better be made worth my while to do so, and I’m expensive to make miserable.

Maybe the first half was all about quantity, I wanted to experience a LOT.  Now, I want to have great experiences, so it is all about quality.

Maybe I really am finally starting to get some wisdom.

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2 Responses to “Milestone birthdays and signs of age”

  1. mb April 19, 2011 at 12:52 am #

    Happy Birthday, enjoy your Keen’s they are great shoes. I enjoyed your post, I can remember being in High School thinking forty was deaths door, now not so much. Fify is not that bad.

    • giascott April 19, 2011 at 12:55 am #

      I’m already enjoying my birthday, and I know I’ll love the Keens–I’ve had them before, although it was the clogs & sandals. This will be my first “shoe” from them, since they’ve slimmed down their clog selection.

      Fifty…hey, forty was great. Fifty has to be better! And in high school…well, there is a reason we’re not legally responsible, and thinking 40 is practically dead is one symptom of that lack of understanding!

      I’m sure I’m getting smarter with age anyhow!

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