I turn 50 this year.
Don’t worry. My birthday is not for a few months yet, so you still have lots of time to buy me a gift. (No tube socks, please.)
Anyway, it seems like yesterday I was a nine-year-old whose mind was blown by the first “Star Wars,” a 12-year-old addicted to Atari Asteroids, a 17-year-old who wore designer jeans that were far too tight. (Despite the dire warnings of the day, thankfully I was able to have kids.)
How is it possible that 37 years have passed since a girl named Suzie broke up with me because I didn’t swear? (If she could only see me now, when the Red Sox or Leafs are playing or Trump is speaking.)
It can’t be 30 years since I was a university frosh trying to sell some of his clothes on a Friday night to buy beer.
And it’s incredibly hard to grasp that it’s been 25 years since the phone rang and I got asked to write one story for my hometown’s weekly paper. That afternoon, I went from lying on my parents’ couch watching “Days of Our Lives” to a career in journalism that has given me so many experiences and introduced me to so many incredible people.
Birthdays have never really affected or bothered me, but I just can’t believe this one is here. Fifty already? Where did the time go? Who stole the years? Is there any way to get them back?
I try not to regret mistakes — and I’ve made many — preferring to focus on learning from my gaffes to avoid a repeat. But what would I do over? I’d unsay some unkind things to family, friends and co-workers if I could. And I would never, ever have bought those snakeskin boots on a Sears credit card with 28,000 per cent interest. The boots went out of fashion long before the debt.
A big thing I’d change is my weight. My reader is probably sick of me writing about that topic. I’m sick of writing about it too. But, sadly, it’s one of the most frustrating challenges of my 50 years and, while writing this, I realized weight loss could probably be considered part of their life’s work.
That thought really, really bothered me.
So now I say screw it. My 50 Mission — thanks, Tragically Hip — is to find greater health through simple actions, like eating slower and in moderation, and trying to move more.
I’ll aim to play more hockey and plan on signing up for fitness class (details to come) but no fad/strict diets or unsustainable workout plans. Neither has worked for me yet so I’d rather put those efforts into other things as I try to milk the next 50 years for whatever I can squeeze out of them.
Because it won’t take long for those decades to fly by either.
Steve Bartlett Steve Bartlett is an editor with Saltwire Network. He dives into the Deep End Mondays to escape reality and empty calories. Reach him via email at steve. firstname.lastname@example.org.