John Y. Brown, III: On Turning 50

JYB3_homeWhat’s it like to turn 50?

It’s like watching a play and you seem to lost track of the story line but are enjoying watching the current scene because it reminds you of something fun about your life that you like thinking about and then the audience suddenly starts clapping and the lights go up. And you think for a moment the play must be over—but it’s not.

It’s just the second intermission of a very long play and you are going to have to go outside in the lobby and talk to the other members of the audience about how interesting you think the play is even though you have no idea what is going on and are still a little rattled at what exactly is happened before the audience started applauding but tell yourself there was probably an applause sign directly over your head that only you couldn’t see— and you stand around and look like you are dignified and in control because others there are standing around in their dress up clothes talking eloquently like they know exactly what is going on but all you really want to do is find out if the concession stand has lemonade and maybe some peanut M&Ms.

And if they don’t you are thinking of asking your wife if you can slip out and watch the rest of that DVD series that you started last night because now you remember that you don’t think you’ve seen it before. And would she mind driving.


The coolest thing about turning 50 years old is that 50 is the age that many of the statisticians working in the insurance industry start to consider us “actuarially interesting.”


John Y. Brown, III in best fashion mode

John Y. Brown, III in best fashion mode

I’m starting an Xtreme Shuffleboard league for people over 50 who still feel physically like they are only 48.


I got a notice on my phone at 11:45 that I was having a birthday today.


In a college psychology course I learned that skydivers feel the height of their fear not seconds before they jump …but about 15 minutes earlier when the plane is taking off and there is no turning back.

When it’s time to jump, the skydiver is ready and not afraid.

Turning 50 is a lot like that


Tonight and tomorrow night are my last Friday and Saturday nights ….before turning 50.

Am I ready?

I think so.

How do I know?

I have no plans for either Friday or Saturday night except dinner with my wife and then possibly watching a TV series on DVD.

Why do I say “possibly watching?”

We are two episodes into the series and can’t recall if we’ve seen it already or not.

jyb colonelBut we should be able to figure that out by Sunday.


Perhaps the most disconcerting thing about turning 50  is realizing that going forward everything starting with a “5” gets rounded up.


One of the great gifts of being middle-age is realizing that others know about falling into rabbit holes.

That you really have seen flying monkeys and survived

And your best friend really is a scarecrow who has protected you.

And as irritating as they can be, Tweedledum and Tweedledee are family and you miss them.

And the person you admire most in your life right now is a Chesire cat

And that’s OK.

We are not alone. And should have tea more often


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