A Stroh looks at 50..

Folks, when this publishes, I will have just 1 day left in my 40s.  Yep, your buddy Tony, one of our favorite cyclists, mountain climber, attempted blogger,  and over all goofball, will hit half a century….

With the exception of the ever lovely Stacy that we adopted at a very early age,

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Who, like my wife Michelle will never age, I am the last of the Cougar clan to Reach this ripe old age.

Michelle has been dealing with me lamenting about this milestone ALL year-long!  While my buddies and wife have REVELED in their celebrations

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Michelle, Seahawks

I had been voting to skip mine since the first time it was mentioned.   Maybe I was running on the theory that if I didn’t acknowledge it, it wouldn’t come.  Or if I didn’t celebrate it, the birthday gods would miss me.

Or maybe, I am just afraid of getting old.

When I was much younger, 30 seemed forever away.  Shoot, I was sure I’d do something dumb somewhere and never make it to 30.  Looking back, I have NO idea why I thought that.  I was a runner, climber or a cyclist in my 20s.  I was a beer drinking, dart throwin, mouthy bastard, but aside from some white water trips

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I lived a pretty sedentary life.

I was NOT happy when 30 hit, but I felt I was still in my prime!  The legs were strong, I was still playing softball, and at 31 I started my climbing career.  My thirties were the decade of communing with nature.  Every weekend would find me on a hike, training for one mountain or another.

Carrying that 40 lb pack steep mountains, Rainier

Made me feel like nothing could stop me.  Hardly a day goes by when the mountains don’t call me.  I will never forget the sight of the sun rising as got near the end of the trail, the smell of the woods after a rain, the feel of snow as I kept trudging along.  I was never an athlete in school, and but damn, in my 30s no one could touch me, I was firing on all cylinders, and felt invulnerable.

That is till I hit 40, and finally realized it was time to give up the mountains, Rainier would never be mine.  Undaunted I took to the bike! I have, even hough I’ve whined about  getting old since the 40s began, succeeded in everything I have ever tried.  17,000 miles, the Oregon Coast, 200 miles in a day (twice!), ridden to the top of 2 mountain passes and the highest road in Mount Rainier.  Though I was late in life when I started, I hit my cycling prime, just point my nose and I will get there, eventually.

Most importantly, the 40s gave me the love of my life Michelle, and she consented (though I regularly question her sanity) to be my bride.

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I sit back and think about it and there is just NO way I will match what I’ve done in the last 20 years with the next 20.  I’ve got great memories, great stories, and I am who I am today because of these adventures, but I start to wonder, have I lived through the glory days?

Hence the trying to skip the birthday and lay low.  I was hoping to let it slide by and just put it out of my mind.

Yeah, that was my thought, luckily have Michelle who thought differently.  OK, I admit it, I was thinking only of me.  Michelle, on the other hand, made a gathering happen.  I can’t remember the last time so many people gathered for me.

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From back in the 80s, clear back to WSU, was Pete, The Mudsucker (his sexy wife Jill!) Jenna (I won’t call her man sexy, but Gus was there as well as and appreciated!),  and Dave!

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Pete, TBT, WSU

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From the 90s, my work wife and one of my best post college friends Angie, who has always been there for me (she brought her little guy as well, who stole the show) Stuart who married Michelle and I with his bride Katie and last, but most important,  Michelle.

Folks, for 3 hours, I laughed, heard and told stories, drank beer, annoyed Husky fans and allowed myself to be the center of the universe (aside from Braedon, Angie’s little, who is so damn cute and funny at 6).  It is, bar none, the best birthday celebration I’ve ever had.

So, tomorrow, the day after this posts, I hit 50.  The legs are still rock solid, though the rest of me is pretty damn pudgy, I have no idea what the 50s hold, and they still scare me.  But, thanks to a loving wife, and great friends, the 40s ended perfectly, and I know I am not facing the next decade alone.

So wherever you are, raise a glass of whatever you are drinking, and I will salute you in return!  Thanks for visiting and being there with me as it hits!

Wine at Denali base camp, zoom in enough and you will see mountains reflecting in the glasses

Wine at Denali base camp, zoom in enough and you will see mountains reflecting in the glasses

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11 Responses to A Stroh looks at 50..

  1. sarburch says:

    Happy birthday, friend! I have no doubt that this next decade will be the best decade to date! 🙂

  2. jimdev7 says:

    Great post Tony. Very we’ll a said, makes me wish even more to have been at the party. Cheers to another 50!

  3. Well happy birthday, and just remember, you only need an age if you are going to collect social security, otherwise it is over-rated…

  4. Hey Tony, I just hit 50 in October. In my head, I am the same old me, even if my body looks different. That is not my fault; I feel like I get a new body every 10-13 years! Happy Birthday!

  5. Congratulations! As long as you are alive, there is more for you. Don’t compare decades, let each decade of your life have its distinctions. You can still have biking though you cut back on it some, and let other enjoyable activities fill in as you grow into a new decade.

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