I am 50 today.
Honestly, I am not sure that I like the idea of the number fifty so much.
What does a number really mean at the end of any one life?
I've known people who live short lives to the fullest measure taking pleasure instead of waiting for it to come find them and others who have wasted worrying about the growing number of their years, doing nothing but waiting to die. When my time ends, I hope the memories I leave people who love me will reflect upon many more important things than the number of years I walked on this earth.
While feeling all nostalgic and $h*t (you know I can't stay maudlin and serious very long) I decided to share this poem. I printed and framed it as a gift to my son when he turned eighteen. I told him this as good of an example that I have ever seen to use as your measuring stick of accountability for life.
But truly, this should apply to all of us, man and woman alike when we take accounting of ourselves.
(‘Brother Square-Toes’—Rewards and Fairies)
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
Happy Birthday to me!