By my count, this will be the final column I write in my 40s.
In 21 days – or, as I like to remind friends, family and colleagues, 20 shopping days – I turn 50.
I have watched a great number of friends turn 50 this year. Rod was given a cane and fake Viagra at his bash. I missed the party where Donna received a bouquet of prunes.
Lise’s friend Trenna threw an amazing Amazing Race-themed party. I was with birthday girl Lise and our team was the last to arrive at the finish line in Spallumcheen, Lise’s house.
Brian, Clay and myself went to Duncan to surprise our mutual friend John at what turned out to be a fabulous almost 50-hour 50th birthday party.
Our arrival was a complete surprise to John. I told him I couldn’t make the party because of work and distance. Clay lied and said he was opening a new store up north. Brian snubbed John altogether, never replying to the invitation.
The look on John’s face was priceless when we showed up unexpectedly on a Friday night, the day before his wife Eva threw a raucous party, complete with barbecued pork.
John received a handcrafted bar from his family, accompanied by four (probably could have been 50 but that would have been costly) kegs, all a delightful vintage called Shock Top Belgium White. He also got a bouquet of prunes from us.
By the way, Brian (oldest), Clay (youngest) and I were born 10 days apart in October. Just an interesting tidbit.
In July, my high school graduation class – Vernon Senior Secondary Class of 1981 – threw a collective 50th birthday party for all of us at Paddlewheel Hall. More than 100 grads from a class of nearly 500 turned out, including two who travelled from Nova Scotia and Ontario.
We all had a great time and some of us managed, at our ages, to make it to 3:30 a.m. (we were cleaning the hall).
The Year of Turning 50, for me anyway, is time for reflection. I think that’s only human nature.
Without question, the greatest moment of my life happened 13 days after my 36th birthday. I became a father to one incredible son who makes me more and more proud with each passing day. I can’t believe he’s in high school now.
My family has always been there for me. Through good times, bad times, dark times.
They’ve tied me to a telephone pole in a back yard so I wouldn’t run away. They’ve kept secrets from me. They’ve messed with my car radio. They’ve driven across the white line on the shoulder of the road near Grand Forks and said “Look, you’re now in the United States.”
They’ve played April Fool’s pranks on me. They’ve also given me a place to live. They’ve helped me move more than 25 times since high school. They’ve given me unconditional love.
The friends I mentioned earlier are part of a large circle that I am blessed to have in my life. One thing about turning 50: I have met a lot of fabulous people in my lifetime.
I haven’t travelled extensively (those who know me well know going to Kelowna is a chore) but I am thrilled to have been to Mexico at least once.
I think about my career. I’ve been a broadcast and print journalist for 30 years. There isn’t a lot of money in it. There wasn’t when I started, and there isn’t now.
But this job has allowed me to interview some amazing people, celebrities, and I’ve had the chance to visit most of B.C. and other parts of Canada.
I think about personal relationships and marriage. I don’t have either right now, though I have tried to learn from each that I have had. Right now, I’m on my own and I’m happy.
Happy to have a job, a roof over my head, a great kid, great friends. So no regrets. And this is not a time to look back (something might be gaining on me, besides weight). It’s a time to look forward. I’m happy to be turning 50 in 20 shopping days.
You can even get me a bouquet of prunes, though I would prefer a bouquet – that is, 12 – of Belgian White Shock Top in bottles.
—Roger Knox is a reporter for The Morning Star