Today, May 10, I turn 50. Like many milestones it was both looked forward to and dreaded at the same time.
I was working on a long, sappy, post, but screw that.
I kind of remember turning 30. I was working at Read Rite as a process engineer, having fun, but still felt young. Life was simpler then, but living in Silicon Valley meant that I wasn’t going to be buying a house anytime soon.
40 was much more of a struggle. Your metabolism changes, and it is difficult to adjust. It became really difficult to control my weight. That was a struggle. Of course, by then I had:
- Gotten married (to my wonderful wife and best friend, Barbara)
- Become a “marketing” person in product management
- Moved to Arizona, with the snakes, desert and blistering hot heat.
- Became a huge proponent of Greyhound rescue.
The most ominous time though came at the age of 44, where I had a heart attack. An eye opener, and really the first glimpse of my own mortality, and the limitations of my body.
Today I mark the 50th year, and I am seeing a lot of changes. First, post heart attack I get to take a not-so wonderful array of medications. Statins, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, and anticoagulants. These all mess with my metabolism, and are by no means “fun”. But it is better than the alternative.
I no longer ride motorcycles. I gave them up in 2008 when a few close calls on the streets of Tucson reminded me that my reflexes were beginning to suck. That was a hard hard thing to give up, having ridden since my pre-teen years, it was a big part of who I was.
My sense of invincibility is now gone. I used to think nothing of heading out for long hikes on isolated trails, or bicycle rides with no particular route chosen. Heck, in the 1990’s I used to load up my truck with my dirt bike, head out on a weekday to one of the riding areas and ride alone, oblivious to how bad it would be to get hurt when you were in a 20,000 acre riding park alone.
I am quickly getting to the point were I can’t play guitar anymore. A few years ago I was struggling with pain in the base of my left thumb, and instead of it being some transitory ailment, it is osteoarthritis, and the cartilage in the joints is virtually gone. Hence, my ability to play is evaporating. A cortisone shot provided remarkably little relief, and the surgical options, well, let’s just say that the doctor said we don’t do them on people as young as you, as the downsides are drastic.
It is this which I am lamenting the most. I am at a point in my life when I can afford the fine instruments that I have long desired, and I can’t possibly enjoy them.
As I enter my 6th decade, I am recognizing my limitations, and accepting the future as it comes. It is sobering, but it is also hopeful. I still bicycle, I still hike, I still enjoy listening to music, I still enjoy exploring technology, and the advent of social media like Facebook has allowed me to reconnect with many people from my past that I had lost touch with.
I am back in the San Jose area, where I grew up, and enjoying that (although, I really loved living in Tucson), regardless how the demographics have changed.
For those who have read this far, thank you for the time you spent. I remain amazed that anybody reads the dribble I write.