Last week I turned 50 years old.
Even when the birthday isn’t a major psychological milestone,
it’s hard for me to feel celebratory in late November
when the days are short and the gloom seems to stretch on forever.
Which is why I planned ahead and made arrangements for our family
to fly to San Diego and stay in a condo on the beach in Oceanside.
I really, really wanted solid family-bonding time because our
last few tumultuous years yielded less-than-heartwarming vacations.
This family time would be different, dammit!
And it was.
Wildebeest and I took morning walks on the beach,
talking and laughing.
Zebu and I shared a nighttime stroll,
watching the silhouettes of shorebirds
in the lights of the distant pier.
There was football, Frisbee, and boogie-boarding.
and sanderlings (my favorite busy-busy shorebird).
I shot pool for the first time in years and regaled my sons with tales of
my many years playing in bars and pool halls. My performance was
streaky, but I made enough good shots that Zebu commented it was
obvious I used to play a lot. (Score one for Mom!)
Months ago when I made arrangements, my plan was to
celebrate my birthday by running on the beach for 50 minutes,
and run I did (along with Zippy). My altitude lungs were tickled to
be at sea level, my trail-running feet were grateful for the mostly
flat beach, and my bird-loving heart was thrilled by the constant
presence of gulls, pelicans, crows, willets, and curlews. I smiled
and waved and called out greetings to my feathered friends as I ran.
We went 5.69 miles in those 50 minutes, the final mile our fastest.
Then we soaked in a hot tub.
Now we’re back home in Colorado dealing with our real lives, the
skin-shriveling dry air, and a lack of happy-inducing negative ions.
However, I’ve got a mental scrapbook filled with wonderful memories and a
healthy start on how I’ll define life after fifty.
Plus this lovely souvenir from our family vacation in Oceanside, California.