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Dinner The Night I Turned Fifty

There are two great days in a person's life - the day we are born and the day we discover why. - William Barclay -

I started my speech thanking my parents, siblings, in-laws, aunts/uncles, niece, wife, and kids for making time to come to my 50th birthday dinner during Columbus Day Weekend. Then I said the following:

Why is this party at Gus’s? When I was a kid we used to be able to pick our location for a birthday dinner I would pick Gus's or Pancho Villas. Pancho Villas is now out of business, but they had the best nachos with the jalapenos on top which I still miss!

For me it’s all about continuity. I’m a big fan of continuity. Connecting the past with the present with the future.

To me, having the dinner here tonight, with all of you, achieves that continuity both physically and metaphysically.

Physically because we are all physically here. The last time I was here with my parents and siblings was about 40 years ago. All I remember from that dinner was hiding under a very small table with my brother when the restaurant started to sing a very loud happy birthday. It feels very special to be here tonight and it’s very meaningful for me.

Metaphysically, because the past, present, and future generations are all united as one here.

Now, I know most of you here are over 50, so my experience is not unique; but, I will tell you how I felt on turning 50.

I have always felt so much younger and young for my age, so turning 50 is life telling you it doesn’t matter what age you feel, this is how it really is.

To me turning 50 was hard because you look in the mirror, there are a number of you’s you see. And none of them are the “50 year old you”:

  • You see the you of how you are currently feeling (happy/sad/angry).

  • That’s the emotional you.

  • You see the you that has the pimple on your forehead.

  • That’s the blemished face you.

  • You see the you that’s just your low energy.

  • I call that one, the I need more sleep you.

  • Then sometimes you see the you as others see you, when you walk by a mirror in a store and you are looking at that person (not realizing it’s you) and sizing them up.

  • That’s how a stranger sees you, you.

  • Then there is the you, when you look in the mirror, and say to yourself you’re 50 and then thinking how did I get here so fast?

  • That’s the incredulous you.

When I picked up my oldest son from the airport last night, he said happy birthday dad you’re 50, then he goes on to say, you realize that 50 is just a random measurement of the earth going around the sun.

I told him, if we were all immortal, we wouldn’t celebrate birthday’s because it’s sort of pointless marking another year on infinity.

I told him that birthdays are just as much about looking forward as they are looking backward.

You don’t need to achieve anything to reach a birthday.

You just need to eat relatively well, and stay off the phone while you are driving.

I then turned to all three of my boys and said the following:

Everyone has a different understanding or interpretation of the meaning of life.

I want you to look around at all the people here.

Grandparents, aunts/uncles, parents, cousins. It’s all about family.

  • Remember this day!

  • Remember how you feel!

  • Remember what you see!

  • Remember what you think!

The Meaning of Life is about family and being with the people who you love.

Sometime in the future you’ll wonder what’s the point when you’re feeling frustrated with:

  • School,

  • a Friend,

  • a Job.

Here’s the point and the Meaning of Life to me, it’s about:

  • People that matter,

  • that Care and

  • that Love you.

I love all of you, thank you for coming to my 50th birthday dinner!

After I shared my speech with my family, I opened up the BabbleStash app and recorded an entry about the day so I could remember how I felt.

BabbleStash is a critically acclaimed iPhone app that captures the essence of people and lets them share it. Selfies, Snapchats, only express the visual moment; but not what people are truly thinking or feeling. BabbleStash uses scientifically tested questions to elicit feelings, memories, ideas, goals, and dreams and easily records the responses to either be kept secret or shared.

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