A milestone birthday is coming up for me in less than two months. I’ve been living my life planning on this for almost 50 years now.
My mother didn’t get that opportunity and my father barely made it. She died at 47 (in 1990) and he passed away at 55 (in 1987).
So, what’s a few wrinkles and a head full of gray hair? I never had a six-pack stomach, so as I get old/older, I don’t have to worry about losing that. And, I can’t be all that disappointed that I have to work a little harder to keep the slowing metabolism in check.
While I definitely love cake, even that boring white cake for my first birthday in 1965 (Happy Birthday Crystal!), there’s a chance that I won’t have a cake this year — unless I have it early or late.
Since you only turn 50 once, Ray and I decided to make both of our “nifty fifty” birthdays memorable. Last year, he celebrated with a Danube River cruise that allowed us to spend a day in Zurich, Switzerland, and to visit Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, and Germany.
Since then, we’ve been saving our pennies (okay, mostly dollars) to make another international trip to celebrate my 50th.
However, the second part of that trip may now be in jeopardy due to missiles, bombs, bullets and bloodshed. While we’re not changing the itinerary just yet, a back-up plan is being considered. More on that shortly.
When we started planning the trip, it was going to be an overnight flight from the United States to the Mediterranean destination of my dreams with a plane transfer and four hours of sit-time in Paris, France.
Dreams of wine, cheese, and pastries began filling my head.
At that point, we decided instead of spending seven nights on the Mediterranean Sea, we could spend three nights in Paris and hit two continents!
So, now I plan on spending my birthday sitting in a park having a picnic of wine, cheese, fruit, bread, and pastries in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower — rain or shine!
While Ray and I each paid for the trip, I already know what my birthday present is from him — a Sunday evening that includes a three-course dinner cruise on the Seine River, a one-hour visit to second floor of the Eiffel Tower to look out over Paris, and an evening at the world-renowned Moulin Rouge!!!
Now, about my original 50th birthday destination spot before Paris crashed the party! I’ve always wanted to visit Tel Aviv, Israel, the fifth most visited city in the Middle East on the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.
Tel Aviv is known for its dynamic atmosphere and famous 24-hour culture earning it the nickname, “party capital”.
It’s also known as “The City That Never Sleeps”, “The Bubble”, and “The White City” (for the more than 4,000 buildings built-in a unique style from 1930s German-Jewish architects and, yes, the buildings are white!).
Since Tel Aviv is Israel’s financial capital and is compared to New York City, it’s also nicknamed “The Big Orange”, because of the famous Jaffe (now a part of Tel Aviv) orange — a very sweet, almost seedless fruit similar to the Valencia orange.
We booked this trip back in January, but once the Israel-Gaza conflict started back in early July, which has led to bombings and missile strikes that have claimed more than 2,000 lives, mostly in Gaza, we thought about choosing another destination.
However, Tel Aviv is still the safest city in Israel and we’re still going.
So, that is how I plan on spending the last days of my 40s and the first few days of my 50s.
In the words of French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement, Victor Hugo, “forty is the old age of youth; fifty is the youth of old age”.