Despite all the material benchmarks and the conventional wisdom about what a man should accomplish in the first 50 years of his life, there is no better metric to determine success than to experience the love and companionship of friends and family.
Apparently, when you celebrate the silver anniversary of your life, you are rewarded with bundles of gold.
Given my self-destructive tendencies, the Vegas line on my getting to 50 has always been a bit dicey. But the payoff when I got there was beyond compare.
How incredibly blessed am I?
We are reckless in our use of the lovely word, friend, said Romain Rollard; and I agree.
How do you measure success in your career? when former and current colleagues are willing to drive more than 100 miles just to sip beers and eat pizza in celebration of your birthday. When former and current professional competitors walk into that same room with smiles and a warm embrace.
How do you measure your success as a husband and a father? When your teenage sons voluntarily give up a Saturday night just to hang with you and other “old people.” When your wife spends weeks coordinating and planning a party to celebrate your birthday, baking cupcakes into the late hours of a work night.
How do you measure success among your peers? When you can count friends you have known since the Carter Administration, and newer friends who would gladly answer the phone at 4 a.m. if you really needed them.
That so many people wanted to be there, and so many others — limited by geography and the other constraints — sent warm greetings, affection and regret.
As I fell asleep, it occurred to me that I have exceeded my own expectations; that I am wealthier than I could possibly imagine; that I am fortunate beyond belief.
As a species we celebrate our common benchmarks (weddings, funerals, anniversaries and birthdays) because it is the stuff that makes the day-to-day drudgery worthwhile. We are all in this together, and it’s always so much better with companionship and the gift of friends.