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Birthdays


Yesterday I celebrated a milestone birthday by actually making it to 70 years old. Many of my friends will be doing the same thing throughout the year and as we always have we reach out to each other every year and wish each other well on our birthdays. This year we will be getting together and celebrating this milestone together for a few days sans spouses just like it was 1972 again.


Anyway a couple of the emails and phone calls got me thinking about what birthdays are the milestone ones and why are they. They seem to be universal and I find them interesting for my ideas as to why we picked these years. Now, they may not be the real reason we do, but mine work for me.

We start off our lives with two milestones in five years. Our first birthday is pretty simple to understand, our parents didn't kill us for 365 straight days so we survived our first attempts at gaining control over them. This is especially noteworthy if you are the first child or child three through however many siblings you have. The first child because your parents have no experience yet and you hope they are better at parenting then they are at parallel parking for example. The third plus kid because your parents are not only worn out by now but they are not that concerned about your needs like they were for the first two.


The fifth birthday is a milestone, I believe, because it means you have finally reached school age and mom can go back to drinking her momma juice without your look of disgust during the day. Plus with the teachers now in charge of your babysitting the parental units are free to play golf or tennis, brunch with friends, and just relax for four to seven hours during the day once again. This one may be more their milestone than yours but it is a milestone nonetheless.

We now enter the teenage years so we've gone eight years without a milestone and once again we bunch them up with three in five years. Our 13th birthday is really our first milestone for ourselves. We have been dreaming about becoming a teenager for seven or eight years at least and now that day is finally here and we are super excited. After two days we realize it sounded much better that it really turned out to be and we move on with our daily lives, albeit with a growing number of zits and sudden BO we never before had.


Our sixteenth is really for the girls more than us guys. There are sweet sixteen parties galore and all of them are for chicks. For the guys it is usually when we notice that girls are different and we are liking what we are seeing sprouting out on them. It is also when the fathers of those girls who used to tousle your hair when you came over to his daughters house are now glaring at you like a bear getting ready to defend his den and instead of a warm smile you get a deep guttural growl. Stay away from my daughter is the clear message from him and the signal you have been waiting for to now want her even more than before.


Eighteen is another one for the parents as it means two things. First, you will be going away to college if that is your path in life, and you will be gone for extended periods of time which means a huge rest for them from you and your miserable attitude. Secondly, it means that according to the laws of the United States they are no longer legally responsible for you so go do whatever the hell you want now and don't call for bail money.

Finally, twenty-one years old and you can now do all the things you have been doing for six years legally. This is a big one for us and is usually accompanied by many friends joining you at the local tavern for massive quantities of beer and Jägermeister shots until you crawl out the front door and throw up in the parking lot as your friends load you into a car and drop you off in your parents front yard where they leave you until the following Tuesday. Ah, memories.

Thirty, forty, fifty, and sixty are all whipping by because we are busy working so they may be milestones for those around us to celebrate but we are too busy to pay attention. Well, except thirty, for women, who for some reason think this one is a tough one. They still look young-ish and haven't let themselves go just yet but it is a year that makes them kind of nutty and let's us know that things are only going to get worse for us in life from here on out.


For us guys, sixty, while we are still busy with life, is a reminder that we are getting closer to retirement and we only have to survive for a few more years and life will once again be glorious. In general, however these four milestone years don't hold a candle, pardon the pun, to some of the others.

At sixty-five we have finally reached a milestone that is worth something. We can now start collecting Medicare which means the knee replacement we have been putting off for ten years can finally be scheduled because the government will be paying for it. It also means that retirement is here if we want it and we can start collecting all that money we poured into Social Security and our 401K's. Sadly, the reality is that all that money we are expecting turns out to be barely enough to live on so many of us will continue to work for another five or so years and severe depression sets in.

And now I've reached this milestone, seventy years. It seems like a major accomplishment but in my head it seems like it was my 25th birthday last week. Where has the time gone? One of the congratulatory phone calls yesterday was from my longest lasting friend Jeff Beebe and I mentioned that at seventy I didn't feel or look like people that were seventy when I was in my twenties for example. He agreed and we surmised better medicine, food, and lifestyles were the reasons but honestly, it is just pure luck really.


Thank you to all those that reached out to me and thank you to all those that are celebrating this milestone year with me, I look forward to getting together later this year. And for those of you that are still working your way through these years, hang in there and enjoy the ride.

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