On Turning 50 …

Well, it finally happened – I had my fiftieth birthday last Saturday (9/20/08) and it was all I’d expected: daunting, disconcerting, unsettling, and also enjoyable. During the week before my demicenturian birthday, I became much more reflective about my first 50 years of life.

I dreamed much more about events and places where I spent time as a child (see my personal blog at vanburenarkansas.blogspot.com where my favorite music list is also playing) and actually found myself trying to make sense of some of the things I’ve been through: two marriages, a step-parenthood, my faith, my friends, family, and pets, careers as an artist, a journalist, a writer, a bookkeeper, a minister, a coach, and a mediator.

I thought a lot about you, too, my friends. I thought about what I have to offer to you and your families, as well as what small contributions I’ve been able to make to a modest number of stepfamilies around the world. I’ve got some particularly eyebrow raising compliments from Russian, Chinese, Irish, African stepparents who claim to have benefited from my suggestions and (mostly) my willingness to share my mistakes and victories in my own family.

I have been invited into the secret inner workings of so very many couples’ tumultuous relationships, which is a privilege beyond words. I have been allowed to participate in those relationships in trust and I remember each and every one of you. Not all of the details perhaps, but the couples and families. And I treasure each of you.

I’ve written many thousands of words of advice – mostly directed at one family or another, but applicable to most. I’ve been blessed to have met and known you all. And I look forward to knowing more of you. You are a great deal of my life, you know. I think of you all often and regularly and I pray for those of you whose situations I’m familiar with.

I hope to be able to serve you for another few decades. You are not alone. You have at least one friend in your corner. God bless you all, my friends.

Bob C.


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