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Over the Hump: Turning 51

Jeff Linamen

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Last year I celebrated my 50th birthday, December 29th– at 12:01 am (my official birth time), in my favorite city in the world: New York– standing in Times Square. This year, the moment was spent snuggled in bed with my babies, Cash and Roxie. Two vastly different scenarios but both equally appealing and memorable.

I can’t say I’ve looked forward to this birthday the way I did the last but I haven’t dreaded it either. Turning 50 was magical. Why does turning 51 feel like it just sounds so much older? I’m now officially over the half-century hump.

I’ve always said age is just a number and it’s more about how old you feel. Better put: it’s how old you act. Measured that way, I must seem pretty schizophrenic to some people. Believe me, the old adage, act your age means very little to me. Acting your age assumes that you know how someone in your shoes should act. How can you actually know that, if you haven’t already experienced it?

I think society still expects that once you reach a certain age, there are certain behaviors that should be adopted to exhibit a perceived level of maturity. As our population ages and life expectancy increases, some of those presumptions are also changing. Nevertheless, I’d prefer to be referred to as an old, crazy, creative guy than someone that acts their age. Being 50-plus may not be considered old anymore but I think it’s still considered something worse by the younger generation: boring. I hope I never fall into that category.

I’m pretty lucky. Most of the people I know– my age and older are active, adventurous mold breakers. In their seventies, my parents are extremely active and constantly on the go. One of my friends that just retired has basically traveled the world, non-stop this past year. So I have some great examples going forward.

I’ve had plenty of time to reflect and to reevaluate my ambitions over this past year. What is clear, is that there are still so many things I want to accomplish, places I want to visit and things I want to experience in this short lifetime. I want to leave my mark, my thumbprint on the world– in some way, making it a better place. I’m still not sure how I accomplish that. Whether it be through my writing, some action, or some impact through connecting with others… I guess only time will tell.

My fiftieth year was in many ways a difficult one. A big year for change. At the same time, it was year full of affirmations. So even though I may be over the half-century hump–it’s certainly not all downhill from here. Onward, upward… so much to do, to see… to create. There are many new adventures ahead.

Live life, love those around you… and above all else: Be Yourself!


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