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Turning Fifty

Keep Calm

Keep Calm

The year is 1997

And I am twenty five years old.

I drive my car on the Saturday evening involved over to the cricket club near Croydon where the fiftieth birthday party is taking place.  I have a card and present which I’d wrapped at the last minute stuck on the seat next to me.

I arrive on time, which means I am early compared to most other people which makes it a little awkward at first, although it gets better as more people arrive.  The main person that I know is the person who is turning fifty, and I know them very well – along with his wife and a couple of other relatives as well.

The rest of the evening is a little awkward as I now am in a world where a beer is bought for me (even though I didn’t really want one), and I feel like I don’t have a lot in common with others to talk about.  I don’t have any dirty jokes to swap, or stories of being out on the lash late last night, and I definitely feel that I am judged as being the weird geeky one.

I do spot though that that someone has nicely created a ‘Gallery of 50 years’ using old photos of that person’s life although I note that there is a distinct lack of pictures of a particular person in the gallery.

Mainly though, what I remember is that the evening culminates when a stripper arrives.

Someone has booked one, and we all get to watch a young lady in her twenties strut about in lingerie as the build-up act, for the finale to be just for the birthday boy to be suitably entertained with when he alone gets a ‘chest only’ view of the particular person hired.  Everyone whoops and cheers … well, maybe no everyone, but I know that I didn’t as it felt a bit awkward.

The year is now 2015

Straight away, I’d like to say “Fuck! Where did the time go?” as that is my first thought of seventeen years later, as I am now 42 years old – only eight away myself from the big ‘Five Oh’.

No, I am not turning fifty myself just yet, but one of my friends is.  A good friend, someone that has helped me with something in the past that I will forever be grateful for, and someone with whom I have a lot in common with.

This person isn’t having a party. They might be having a small social gathering hurriedly arrange at the last minute, but it won’t be held in a cricket club where there are signs – stolen from all around the world from when the club goes on tour – brought back as trophies and stuck on the wall.

And this person most certainly won’t be getting a stripper, so there will be no pert jiggly breasts thrust in towards them on their big day.

I thought about these two people and the turning-of-their-five decades a lot the other day.  And the contrast between them.  Two people, both known well to me and yet I have totally different relationships with, in how I interact with them, talk and swap stories with them, and generally deal with the differently when I meet them in real life, and they celebrate their 50th in completely different ways. And I just find that fascinating.

The latter doesn’t have a 25 year old son to come to his non-existent party, the former probably couldn’t imagine not celebrating it in some way.

My Dad will be 68 this year – maybe he’ll have another stripper when he turns 70 in a couple of years time. My friend however will no doubt write a brilliant piece for his blog, and sound like anything-but a 50 year old, because I see him as someone who looks and acts much younger.

And I really hope that in eight years time, I still don’t look my age. And please – don’t book me a stripper.

Happy Birthday DG.


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