When 18 turns 50.

With a little luck, patience and a few decades, most 18 year olds eventually turn 50.  Some arrive a little sooner, but barring tragedy or developmental setback, nearly all arrive safely and on time with enough life experiences to have made it worth the wait.

When I was 18, so was my entire world.

A society of 50 something year olds was an unconscionable concept. It was a morgueful of the old and diapered on canes, cursing gravity through dentures between sips of chicken noodle soup someone else fed them. Nobody wanted to be there, they just arrived one day on a short bus to the grave.

At 18, 50 something was a distant age of unnecessary people.

I wish back then I’d known otherwise.

Today, the gears of my world run on 50 year olds.

I’m talking about all my friends from high school and before who made it here unincarcerated, consciences intact, generosities abundant and much kinder hearts for their journies.

The career I chose is one that helps the most unfortunate of the 50 plus generation who are indeed, diapered and caned, dentured, dying and worse. What was unconscionable at 18 is my everyday reality now where I work to add a little glitter to the not so golden years of the poorest group of senior citizens this country has ever created.

Thankfully, I don’t work alone.

I have a lot of 18 year olds who help me.

People like Steve, Misty, Lori, Cece, Tama, Jenai, Karen, Marc, Anne, Heidi, and all those who have re-emerged from my high school woodwork to support my cause. The captain of my high school football team, the first runner up at junior prom, the bass player from band, songleaders, student council secretaries, and even the weird kid from the lunch room…they all grew up and into really cool people who now partner with me 40 years later in my pursuits to feed, clothe and care for people we all once thought unnecessary and fortunately, have not yet ourselves become.

We are all still a bunch of dreamy-eyed 18 year old high school kids who eventually woke up to realize that all people are necessary to make this world a better place for all people.

So shout out to a lifetime of friends who still have my back just like we were 18 all over again, only kinder now, and up for challenges of life that make a difference.