The first refers to the half-century odometer click of age marking my birth on this day fifty years ago.
According to Victor Hugo, "forty is the old age of youth; fifty is the youth of old age." Though I don't quite agree with the first part of this observation - the old age of youth occurred somewhere in my mid-to-late twenties for me - I do believe fifty marks the beginning of old age.
Of course, in our youth-obsessed world - in which most modern people sincerely envision themselves windsurfing and bungee jumping at seventy-five - harboring this view of old age is anathema. The common consensus holds that fifty is firmly embedded in that nebulous cloud known as middle-aged, which at last check extended somewhere from the ages of forty-five all the way to retirement age.
As far as I'm concerned, that's all rubbish - particularly from a spiritual perspective. The truth of the matter is that the years between thirty and forty are middle-aged for most people. Anything after that is - at best - "late" middle age, but more appropriately "young" old age.
So, at fifty I consider myself firmly entrenched in the realm of early old age. I greet this development with joy because I can now "officially" begin to distance myself from my youthful desires and worldly ambitions and dedicate myself more fully to spiritual matters, which, as Bruce Charlton has noted, should mark the true purpose of old age anyway.
This doesn't mean that fifty marks the beginning of my withdrawal from the world, but that my activity in the world will be driven and flavored by a refined set of motivations and purposes that are quite different from the motivations and purposes that fueled me when I was twenty, thirty, or even forty years old.
Luckily, I am still in possession of (most) of my physical and mental faculties at fifty - hey, Leonidas was in his fifties when he fought and died at Thermopylae - and I still possess a great deal of energy, but my utilization of these faculties and energy has changed and continues to change - and I regard these as changes for the better.
So, Happy Birthday to me. Since I'm not all that comfortable with being celebrated, I'm going to commemorate the event by tiling a bathroom. In the evening, I'll have a nice dinner with the family.
The second number refers to the number of posts on this blog, which at some point in the past month reached and surpassed the thousand mark.
The bulk of these thousand posts were written in the past three years after I shifted the focus of the blog from lame self-promotion for my independently published novel to a blog about spiritual learning. To this day, I am not exactly sure what inspired this shift, but it has proven to be immensely beneficial from a spiritual perspective.
A big shout out to Bruce Charlton, William Wildblood, William James Tychonievich, Kevin McCall, and Amo Boden for their support of this blog. Also, many thanks to Sasha at Synlogos and Islanti at New World Island for including this blog on their aggregrator sites. Extended thanks to other bloggers and aggregrators who have shared and linked my work through their pages.
Lastly, a big thanks to my readers whose comments and insights have often added depth and dimension to my scribblings and have helped facilitate the spiritual learning I mentioned above.
Here's to a thousand more posts, God willing!