So I have a big birthday coming up next week. Really big – like, half a century big. And for the past year, the pressure has been on all us 49-year-olds to have big plans for 2016 and the big 5-0.
So here we are and one of my girlfriends has gone on a ski trip to Vail. Another went to Turks and Caicos, while another took a trip on a boat. A set of twins from our class is throwing a weekend-long party in Charleston. And that’s just the February birthdays.
But even though I have one of the first birthdays this year, I already know that what I’m doing is something that none of my friends will be doing. And while it’s not a competition, my plans are pretty tough to beat. What am I doing for my 50th? I’m getting married.
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It’s the perfect way to celebrate this milestone. You get the party, the cool dress, a nice ring, music, gifts, flowers and a much taller cake. You also get blessed by somebody holy – and told that you’re never going to be alone again until somebody dies. All good, when you’re turning 50.
Historically, I’d say I’m pretty original for birthdays at the decade mark. Ten years ago for my 40th? I had a baby. See what I mean? And even my first marriage took place at the halfway mark, falling neatly at 35.
On my actual 30th birthday, I was in the middle of a party at the Aspen Comedy Festival with Rosie O’Donnell. And we recounted the hilarious story of when I spent two days with her in the hospital after she got food poisoned on the set of the movie “Now and Then.” And how she was mistaken for Kathy Bates in “Misery,” by a nurse still clearly traumatized by her crushing James Caan’s ankles.
The second decade of my life, at 20, I was hired as the University of Georgia’s news director for its first-ever “University News” broadcast – excited to be behind the camera instead of in front of it, starring in my dad’s hot dog commercials.
And at 10? I was starring in my dad’s hot dog commercials. With my twin sisters, we promoted a two-for-one special at Weiner King. I didn’t get paid, but I got free cheese dogs for a year.
“What are you getting for your 50th birthday?”
Sorry, it’s just too good. And original, when everybody else’s answer is something material like a trip, car or new laptop. And then they say, “You already got one of those. What are you going to get that’s really special, that you’ve always wanted?”