Brilliant banks of purple and orange flowers at the San Francisco end of the Golden Gate bridge, Christmas Eve Day, 2017.

Quinquagenarian = Someone in his/her fifties; of or characteristic of a person in his/her fifties

Remember that song by Five for Fighting from, serendipitously, almost 15 years ago called “100 Years“? I say “serendipitously” because the lyrics repeatedly hark back to being 15 years old. I always cry when I hear that song, partly because it’s just dang pretty, but mostly because it hurts to think about the words.

The ages mentioned in the song are 15, 22, 33, 45, “halftime,” 67, and, with immense softness, 99 (that’s the part when I really, really lose it). Surely John Ondrasik must have been about 33 himself when the song was released in 2004, and my interpretation is that he was already, at the 1/3 mark to 100, nostalgic for the time in his life when he was about half his age – 15 years old – because then you still have so much time ahead of you.

What of “halftime”? That’s 50, midlife, the decade of the quinquagenarian. I’m 53 1/2 in a few days (we acknowledge half birthdays in my family), and I feel physically stronger, mentally more focused, and emotionally more stable than I ever have. I never want to return to half my age, 26 3/4; I was confused, needy, and blindly trying to correct the first set of big boo-boos of my life. Much of this blog will address how I have finally come to pull myself out of that mess.

The main goal of this blog is to emphasize that, by learning deeply from my blunders, I have made it to the halfway point on this 100-year mountain and can turn around and call out to others at their points on their climbs and say, “Hey, the view is awesome from here, come see this! Oh, but you know what? Be careful of that loose boulder off to your right, be sure to notice those purple flowers in the field to your left (unabashed reference to one of my fave films, The Color Purple), and you might want to consider taking that detour in the sketchy-looking stream – there’s the most rewarding surprise waterfall that everyone else misses.”

Come join me on my climb, I’ve got plenty of maps and harnesses to share from when I was 15, 22, 33, 45, and now… “halftime.” It’s the time of the Quinquagen.

Griffith Park map
A section of a Griffith Park trail map from a hike with my two youngest boys on March 19, 2017.

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