I've heard it said that 50 is the new 40 these days. Then again, I've also heard it being said that 60 is the new 40. 40 must obviously be the old 40 and can now be completely disregarded.
However for me there might be some truth in it, in so far as I don't remember ever being so concerned about reaching a particular age before now.
40 really didn't bother me - it just felt like a smooth continuation rather than any kind of transition.
50 has been looming.
50 has felt a bit too scary.
50 feels like it's come way too early - by at least 10 or 20 years.
Although it hasn't overly helped that the majority of people I know are already over 50 and so have no sympathy for me at all.
But this is the first time I've ever been worried about my own ageing process. Up until now, I've always seen birthdays as a celebration of life - a mark that I've survived another year whatever the gods have thrown at me.
Perhaps it's the strong whiff or mortality. The full realisation I definitely have less time left in front of me than I've already experienced. A sense of regret at things I haven't achieved that I thought I would have by this age. Fear of the idea that there are things I never will.
There's a flavour to the intensity that reminds me of how I felt in the time following the death of my mother, nearly 14 years ago. An increased urgency to the sense I need to find, or create, more meaning to my life.
And therein lies the the problem and the solution.
I've been coming at this with a victim mentality - turning 50 is something that is being forced on me whether I want it or not, and that feels brutal and unfair.
So the answer is to rewrite the narrative; retake control.
I need to embrace it, make it mine, and use that intensity to propel myself forward to make change happen, rather than drift aimlessly towards the grave.
On Friday I'm having a celebration with friends, food and music.
My 50s will be my best decade yet.
Me at 50 - taken this morning