50 / 🎂

My daughter made me this. I wore it until it fell off. It’s probably in the car.

I turned fifty today. I knew it was coming. Hell, a year ago I knew it was coming. I still feel forty-eight, though. Forty-seven if I don’t count the back pain. Or knee noise.


The other week I saw it start to glide in for a landing. I got something in the mail. I assumed it was for whomever lived here before us. Every now and then the mail doesn’t get rerouted. It happens sometimes; an invitation, a bill, something from a mortgage lender. But the AARP mailer had my name on it.


This week I heard it coming; creeping slowly at first…

“What do you want to do for your fiftieth? C’mon, Rib, you must want to do something?”

(My wife calls me Rib. It’s short for Ribadoo. Which is long for Rib. Because I like ribs.)

“That diner,” I said. “The one you like. That sounds good.”

Me, my beautiful thoughtful wife, and her grapefruit juice.

Last night I heard it with big clown stomps…

“You’re going to be fifty tomorrow, dad. Aunt Laura says you’re over the hill. What does over the hill mean?”


I didn’t want to explain what ‘over the hill’ means to my seven year year old daughter. Mostly because I don’t know. That the view is better?

(Actually, that’s a good one. I should have gone with that.)

Me and the girl. Also where’s daddy’s food?
Helping the boy with his shoes. Really he should do this himself…

This morning I woke up, opened my eyes. My three year old son was poking my cheek and wanted to know what I was doing.

“What are you doing, dad?”

“Daddy’s sleeping, bud.”

“Are you up yet?”


“Are you still sleeping?”

“Go find mommy, bud. Go find mommy.”

I turned over and stared up at the ceiling fan.

‘Saigon, shit, I’m still only in Saigon.’

I checked Facebook. The whole reason to have a Facebook account is for when it’s your birthday. Seriously, that social media spanking machine is NOICE — even if the digital warm fuzzy is somewhat fleeting.

I called my parents later in the morning, to beat them to the punch. Also it’s always hard to find a window to talk (re: children) so when the window opened…

“How do you feel,” my mom asked.


“Fifty’s not old,” she said. “When I was thirty I remember I cried because I thought it was so old.”

“Um, I don’t think you’re helping, mom.”

“What? Oh! Ha ha!”

Before hanging up and getting on with their day, my mom and dad sang me ‘Happy Birthday’.


Note: Yes, I love it when my parents sing me ‘Happy Birthday’.

My sister knows how to smile. Me, not so much.

Yesterday — wow, was it just yesterday? Anyway, yesterday when I picked up my sister at the airport she asked how I felt about being fifty.

“I thought I would have done more,” I said. “I thought I would have accomplished more.”

“Oh. Well, you’ve done things. You’ve accomplished things.”

“Thanks. I mean, I don’t think I’ve done enough. But I think there’s still time.”

“Right,” she said. “You have time. Not too much time, though.”


Pam brought us to the diner she was telling me about. Li’l Goat. We had a big booth for all of us; the kids, my aunt, my sister and niece. It was nice. And Pam was right. It was delicious.


But brunch put everyone in deep nap mode. Well, the adults anyway.


Pam and I were going to go out for dinner and a movie tonight, but it might just be a drink. And something on Netflix…


Oh, crap. I’m totally fifty.


Although by that measure I’ve been fifty for years. Probably since I was forty. Maybe even thirty-five.


Bottom line, I’m very lucky. Very fortunate. I can’t complain. Or be depressed. My life’s not half over. I’m only a quarter of the way to 200, so…

Still, I did think there would be more confetti.


FULL DISCLOSURE: My DC boys had a meat plate delivered to my house on Saturday. Apparently the butcher offered a coupon, but my guys were all like, NO, HE NEEDS A PLATE OF MEAT DELIVERED TO HIS DOOR.

The stuff in the bowl (upper left) is a meat paste. Like hummus, but made of meat.

FULLER DISCLOSURE: My sister is not much into the social media. It’s not her thing. But today she made me this — down to the bacon header photo and everything. It’s pretty fucking awesome! Beautiful, actually.

FULLEST DISCLOSURE: I have a wonderful wife, beautiful kids, a great family, the best friends, blah blah blah. I AM hashtag blessed. ☺️ Thank you!




Have a nice day unless you have other plans.

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Stephen H Stein

Stephen H Stein

Have a nice day unless you have other plans.

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