Fifty freakin’ years old. The Big Five-Oh. Half a Century.
That milestone was passed this weekend. Not that I mind; I have always seen it as a number. Not as good as 32, mind you, but certainly better than 72. I never actually thought about turning fifty; I have always felt old (some days more than others), or rather, many times felt like a young man in an old man’s body. 50-year-old me still like things that Younger Me liked: toys, comics, sci-fi, music, cars, cartoons, going to the movies, etc.
It started on Friday, as I sat down with a cup of coffee at Starbucks and I heard a favorite song from the ’80’s: Yaz singing “Only You” which let me reminisce about my twenties; finishing school, friends I made while working in Bloomingdale’s, starting a career as an EMT, moving into my first apartment without roommates, etc. Real rite-of-passage stuff for twentysomething-year-old me.
Back in the present, Mike took me to the movies Friday night. We had made plans months ago when he heard that “Jurassic Park 3D” was coming to theaters on April 5th. He asked me if I wanted to go with him. Jurassic Park is a big deal for Mike; it is the movie that really brought dinosaurs to life for him. The movie that opened up that door to learning–dinosaurs were the key that Mike’s teachers needed to relate to him, and have him relate to other things: dinosaur stories gave him vocabulary and speech, dinosaur pictures gave him visual cues, guidelines for drawing and coloring and attention to details. Learning more about dinosaurs awakened his curiosity to learn about other animals, photography and video, and so much more. Of course I would go; movie night wound up becoming my birthday gift– a night a boy and his dad could spend together.
It was pure juvenile joy: wearing 3D glasses, eating popcorn, pretzels, M&M’s, and Twizzlers, and having a good ‘ol scary time. The previews also allowed us to plan for future movie ventures: “Despicable Me 2” and “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2″ are definitely in our future. I also want to see “Man Of Steel” but Mike likes Spider-man better, so “Amazing Spider-man 2” is more likely to make that list.
Mike and I had originally planned to go to the movies and lunch on my birthday (Saturday) but some reconfiguring by my wife changed that to a family lunch instead. Mike had picked out the restaurant, Miller’s Ale House in Levittown, because of a good experience there on a school trip. It was a nice place, with good food and flat-screen TVs all around. I noticed that Mike took to watching an Ultimate Fighting match. It may be that he was non-plussed with the other choices being shown: the Mets, a women’s college softball game and a soccer match. I asked if he had a favorite team, and he did not, but did check to see if I still like the Yankees. When his brother asked him about the Ultimate Fighting match, he thought it was like boxing, but clearly saw that it was different, and was a little mesmerized by what he was watching. Maybe this was a budding new interest taking hold.
We congratulated Mike for making an excellent choice for lunch, which was highlighted by two desserts which we shared: ‘Capt. Jack’s Buried Treasure’ and ‘The Chocolate Pounder’ (both soooo good).
Younger Me would have never thought about turning 50, and certainly didn’t know about Autism. I like to think that the Younger Me, now armed with wonderful experiences and memories, along with my family, helped me reach this point in my life; with passion, enthusiasm and a deep appreciation for all that I have. And a optimistic outlook for what the future has in store for all of us.
Bring on the next fifty.
- Beware of the Dinosaurs (silenceyourcellphones.wordpress.com)
- Jurassic Park 3D Released: Our Top 5 Moments (scubo3d.wordpress.com)