On Monday, April 4, I will slam into a milestone: my 50th birthday.

How did that happen?

The overwhelming shock will pass—just as the shock of having a pretty girl call me “sir” for the first time passed.

(Now the pretty ones in their 40s are calling me “sir.” Stop that. You of all people should know better, ma’am.)

These life-defining moments, like glory and life itself, are fleeting when all is said and done.

Nor do I expect much sympathy in a town with as large a senior population as Seal Beach has.

(Actually, that’s one of the things I love about this town—I’m sill a young man in several neighborhoods.)

The fact I’m getting older simply means I’m still alive. As a cancer survivor, I ought to be glad of that and let the rest go.

Trouble is: life is a game in which each victory—and celebrating a birthday is a kind of victory—brings you closer to the day you lose the game.

That irks me.

Life and glory are fleeting—get used to it, Charles.

Indeed, I feel silly for worrying at all about it. Fretting won’t stop time. All worry ever got me was chronic chest pain and a craving for chocolate that has made me overweight.

Yet it seems amazing, all the same. I’ve seen one century go and another century come. I saw a man walk on the moon. (How come we can’t do that again?) I saw the Twin Towers fall. (How come we can’t rebuild them?)

I’ve lost count of the wars my country has fought since my birth. (Just as well—keeping track was depressing. Which reminds me: I need a new hobby.)

Still, I keep thinking: I actually made it to 50. That astonishes me. That astonishes everyone who knows me.

I wonder if my father felt shocked when he hit the big Five-oh. He was 45 when I was born, so hit hit the half century mark while I was a child. Maybe that’s why he never warned me about the experience: he was too preoccupied with raising a son to worry about the advancing years.

Fortunately, my birthday will come on a Monday. I’ll be working on the Sun Newspaper in Seal Beach. What better way to mark half a century?