Friday, August 5, 2011

Obama Turns 50

Yesterday, President Obama celebrated his 50th birthday. While that's certainly a milestone, one can reasonably wonder what that means to someone who has achieved what he has. He's the president of the United States! The question "what do you want to be when you grow up" has been answered for him.

I believe that for most of us, however, turning 50 is a bittersweet milestone. It's an accomplishment to survive half a century, to be sure, but for me, it was also a time to realize that if there were things I wanted to do, I'd better get started NOW. So I did. I took up the bass guitar, which led to the upright bass, and now I've got lots of music to enjoy--just what I wanted at 14 and tried to do at 18. Yeah, it took me a while.

Right now our leader is very focused on doing his job and getting re-elected. At the end of his second term he'll be a mere 55, and if a Republican manages to unseat him next year, he'll be a 51-year-old guy with an amazing resume and a range of options. He could do the "retire to the ranch" thing that his predecessor has done--put out a book, cut brush, go speak occasionally for big bucks. Or, he could take the Bill Clinton model and go out and get involved. Or, like Jimmy Carter, work for peace and help people around the world for decades after his relatively brief government service.

It will be interesting to see how Obama handles a midlife crisis. He may be having one right now, for all we know. He's "cool" so he'd never let on. Much has been made of his hair turning gray in office, but I think it's not even the stress (president of the U.S. - yeah!) but the fact that it's typical to start graying at this age and also that there may have been just a touch of Grecian Formula on the campaign trail--although it seems like it wouldn't have hurt him then to show a little gray. We'll probably never know (and it really doesn't matter).

Happy Birthday, Mr. President, and good luck with the next five years -- and whatever comes after.

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