I almost cried the other night when Arianna mentioned that HuffPost was launching Huff/Post50, and did I have any thoughts about being over 50...
Any? Unfortunately, I have nothing but thoughts about being over 50.
I remember seeing Alan King in Atlantic City in the '80s (when I was a young comedian) and he said, "I'm 56, and people say I'm middle aged -- who do you know who lives to be 112?"
I'm 55. It was funnier then.
The thing about your fifties is, you're not nearly over (if you're lucky) -- in fact, lots of ambitious people are peaking -- but it is the first time in your life that you can see over the crest of the mountain and down into the Valley below -- you know, Death. Death is the monster we all fear, yet with each day, we walk toward it, and can't help doing so; we can't help but walk toward the one thing we're most trying to avoid.
Little things remind you of this all the time -- like minor cuts taking longer to heal than they used to. It doesn't cause you any health problems, but it reminds you your body is not replacing cells as fast as it used to, and the ones it is sending are inferior copies of their predecessors. That's why we age, and look progressively worse as the years pass: just like a photocopy or a video tape that looks slightly worse each time its copied, we are constantly copying ourselves and coming out a little inferior every time. Merry Christmas.
However... the one thing that does seem to get better, at least so far, is the brain -- you know, so you can be more aware of the depressing physical part! But hey, the depressing physical part also gives you an urgency to life that is really quite irreplaceable. When you're young, you don't appreciate! And learning to appreciate life is almost better than being young and ignoring it.
At least that's my story, and I'm sticking with it.