Archive for May, 2010

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Birthday, bl**dy Birthday!

Poised almost halfway between the half century and unaffordable retirement, a 55th birthday isn’t one of the “biggies” that people celebrate with extravagant parties.  It was mine on May 1st.  Thank you for all the birthday wishes, by the way.

There are only two truly significant “fiver” birthdays.  Five, because it means you’re finally old enough to go to school and your exhausted parents can finally stop paying for child care. And 65, when you can at last officially retire, claim your retirement savings without being extravagantly taxed and start getting reluctantly given “seniors” discounts for pub meals, McDonalds coffee and train tickets.   75 is a pretty good number too, but then any birthday after about 72 is one worth celebrating a little too enthusiastically.

55 is getting close for most people these days to the last birthday they will have that doesn’t involve small grandchildren underfoot.

My siblings have instituted a convention – we all get together at the home of the afflicted brother or sister on the occasion of their 50th birthday.  Since the first, my own low key Chinese restaurant meal with my siblings, children and mother, the subsequent celebrations have expanded each time.  The last, only a week or so ago in Queensland for my youngest sister, included a cast of thousands – siblings, spouses, nephews and nieces,  children and her first grandchild.  Most of us descended on her home near Warwick where she and her partner effectively have two houses on a block of land. All rooms were full, there were tents and a camper, and Ms Canada and I managed to reserve the prime suite, their well appointed caravan. With a BBQ, an all-you-can-eat meal at the local RSL ($14.50) and a huge breakfast at the Yangan pub on Sunday, no-one went hungry.

There’s only one 50th to go – in another  4 years, but in the meantime we have my mother’s 80th.

Then it starts all over again, with my 60th in 2015.  How did I get so old?