Armen Chakmakjian

On turning 50…

In Random, Uncategorized on August 25, 2014 at 1:13 am

So five weeks ago, I turned 50. Every year since the dawn of the modern social media age, I’ve written a blog post on my birthday.  (When I say modern I mean basically 2007… I avoided that weird era of myspace and Friendster just prior to that, although I was a very early LinkedIn user).  Overall though, the day passed normally as any other day. I went to work, drove home. This year my birthday, while treated with the many, many well wishes, passed in the way that I would have always hoped, with my nearest and dearest together. My wife, sons and I went to a Brazilian Churrascaria and had more meat than I have ever eaten in my life in one sitting.   I had a glass of Caipirinha, which is the Brazilian equivalent of a mojito. Quite an event.  All in all I had not much to say about it as things were churning all around me.

Just prior and subsequent to July 28th 2014, I seemed to be surrounded by friends and family having various health events, some of them bordering on the existential. Then 2 weeks ago it caught up with me, when I got stung by a bee and had my own scare, an event which I recounted in my previous post.

This has been quite a year for me, and not just for some personal accomplishments or changes. I’m watching my boys turn into men and seeing my elders dealing with the difficult side of aging. I had a couple of significant things happen, a job change, a new slightly fancy car, a bucket list trip to Italy. I’ve even kept my two-tone goatee for all of this year, the longest period of facial hair this century (I had a stache for a significant portion of the last quarter of the 20th century). I’ve been asked, “What is with that gray goat, under the dark stache?” My cheeky response, accompanied by hand gesture pointing to the dark then the light, is “It just means my mind is still young, but my body is getting old.” 🙂

So with all the change and reminders of our collective mortality that coincided with my passing through the 50, I did ponder a few time in the last couple of weeks about whether there was any philosophical conclusion I could offer anyone.  It took a while, since I have written so much here over the years and I didn’t want to just repeat myself.  Upon contemplating the ups and down of life, I fell back on a mantra that keeps my feet on the ground or resettles me if I feel slighted or hurt by someone. My wife has heard me say this many times, especially if a person has gotten what appears to be their comeuppance, and if I catch myself bordering on Schadenfreude.  This mantra is the verbal equivalent of the nazar bonjuk (the blue eye that people from the middle east sometimes have around…to ward off the evil eye):

I don’t want what they have,
I don’t want what they don’t have,
I don’t want their good luck,
I don’t want their bad luck.
I don’t want anything.
God bless them and I wish them good health.

There’s a lot of handwaving and gesticulating that goes along with that, as if to clear the air around me.

Anyway folks, peace.


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