You want to know what turning 55 feels like? How about this. This birthday boy is celebrating pooping for the first time in three days and being pain free for the first time in a week from a kidney stone. Let's whoop it up! Yes, all those Facebook greetings were nice. At least a dozen people seem fond enough of this guy to send nice notes. That felt good. But it's not exactly any comparison to that year the birthday came with a new bike or baseball mitt.
Birthdays are for kids. It's a time to make them feel good about themselves at another milestone reached. No doubt the mortality rates for youngsters back in our history made this kind of celebrating what it is today. But whenever it started, who doesn't want to see a kid with birthday cake a big smile.
For grown ups, the event marks another tick closer to the grim reaper. When you get to 55, you rarely want to think about how many years that is. Born in the 50s, this life has seen a part of seven different decades. Ugh! When you are 55, you remember black and white television that was small. You remember the days before calculators, computers, digital cameras, cell phones, key chains that automatically locked the car and soft drinks in cans and flimsy plastic bottles. When this writer was a kid, candy bars were a nickel and gas was 27 cents a gallon. When this writer was young, births to unmarried people were frowned upon. People in America made things in this country when this writer was a boy. Churches were always full. Things tasted better. Converse All Stars were necessary and not chic.
When your birthday happens at this age, you know that you can't hop over fences any more. Nobody in baseball is your age. Managers are generally younger. Heck, even Presidents are younger. People you are competing against for jobs are younger and more savvy. They have more energy and less doubt. They eat twice as much without putting on weight.
When you get to this age, you tend to look at more bad things that happen on this date than good things. It was on this date a year ago that Armando Galarraga was robbed of a perfect game. It was on this date in history that Babe Ruth retired. Race car driver, Bruce McLaren died in a crash on June 2nd. Thirteen years ago on this date, the divorce was finalized. What a treat it was to get that letter from the court in the mail to find out what date that event was going to fall upon!
When you reach 55, the drives on the golf course don't go as far. Putting leads to yips. You feel the cold more. And yes, time does seem to fly by faster. Someone may counter that you are only as old as you feel. Thanks a lot. That means that this is the 85th birthday then.
But, the conclusion here is that such a day gives those that love you a chance to honor your presence in their lives. It's a time to be thankful for rich memories and wonderful experiences. It's a time to be glad of the children that grace life and bring promise for tomorrow. It's a time to marvel at how wonderful it is to be a Fan of baseball in this age of instant information. It's a time to be glad that survival has been more positive than negative. Birthdays are really for kids, but it's nice to be thought of when your day comes, even when the candles on the cake would set off the fire alarm. And, it's always a bonus to reach this age with a full, thick head of hair.
And it sure felt good to finally poop.