Half a Century

You might think I’m talking about the cricket score but no.

By the time this post goes out, I will have turned half a century old.

Yes, I am bloody 50!

There, I said it out loud but I still can’t quite believe it myself.

How did over half of my life go by so quickly?

Should I be having a mid-life crisis as so eloquently described by indeedably?

My Mum will no doubt ask me if it’s finally time for me to grow up?

Even if she doesn’t actually ask me, I will see it in her eyes and I’m afraid she’ll continue to be disappointed, haha!


I have to admit that I had not been looking forward to turning 50 at all. I was the same when I turned 40; seem to recall being a little down (for me) when I was 39.  I ended up getting a tattoo to celebrate and it looks likely there will be a similar such celebration for this birthday…

I know it’s only a number but it still sounds so….old!

It’s just as well that I’m told I don’t look my age (or act it) and I certainly don’t feel it, although when hungover, I think I feel every single one of those years!

Weight-wise, I’m only a few pounds heavier than when I was in my 20s but size-wise, I’m actually trimmer than I was then (about half a dress size), probably due to a better diet and less alcohol.

According to the Boditrax machine I tried out six months ago, my metabolic age is 34 years old which is great and means this old girl is mostly looking after herself!

I could probably get away with lying about my age but nah, I’m crap at lying and couldn’t live with my own lies!


Anyway, my friends kept asking me last year what I wanted to do as they wanted to celebrate my five decades on this planet.

To be honest, I just felt like hiding at home to contemplate, not celebrate but I bowed to peer pressure in the end.

I’m not one for being the centre of attention and the idea of a party seemed horrific, so the alternative was to go away somewhere.

I ended up organising a trip. The whole act of booking flights for everyone, sorting out hotel and ‘loose’ itinerary actually made me look forward to celebrating my birthday.

And the trip was a big deal – not just the significance of a life milestone but because:

a) I was travelling abroad with my friends, whereas previously, we’d barely ventured out of Manchester together, never mind leave the country – two of them had expired passports so good job I checked; and

b) the group of 7 friends were made up of my two ‘circles’ of friends who hadn’t previously met (ex-work, who have known me for around 20 years and gym pals who have known me around 6-7 years).

Fortunately, my fears of clashes of personality were not founded (not that I knew of anyway!).

And so, to celebrate becoming ancient my birthday, I decided to go on a little weekend trip away to Bruges, in Belgium.

Girls on Tour In Bruges

Of all the different European cities to visit, I opted for Bruges because I like beer and my friends like chocolate, so it seemed like a no-brainer! No, actually, what attracted me was that it looked really picturesque and historical and seemed to have a lot to offer for tourists. One member of the group had visited previously and she recommended it.

The whole trip nearly started off with a disaster however, as I realised just as we got to Brussels customs that I’d left my bag on some chairs while we were waiting for some of the others to get off the plane. I ran all the way back for it and fortunately it was still there and hadn’t been detonated as a security risk – phew!

Bruges was lovely – we did a lot of walking along cobbled streets, visited museums (including an interesting Salvador Dali exhibition), went on a brewery tour, canal trip, guided walking tour, drank lots of Belgian beer and ate some great food. Somehow, I managed to miss out on moules frites – not sure how!

The trip was not cheap – the girls (sorry Ms Ziyou, we all refer to ourselves as such!) were looking to stay centrally so I got us into a 4-star hotel right next to the canal, with lovely view and great walking right outside the hotel. We were just ten mins walk into the main square where all the pubs and restaurants were.

It was a fabulous weekend – the city had a lovely ambience, I found it very friendly. The weather was perfect – sunglasses and sun-cream made an appearance! I was very happy and humbled to have such a great group of friends who wanted to celebrate with me – it was a perfect weekend.

Anyway, I would definitely go back as there were still lots we didn’t get the chance to explore.

The Actual Day

The trip to Bruges took place last month.

Drinks and celebrations continued the weekend just gone but on the actual day of my birthday, this is what I did:

  • Woke up to my usual work alarm but stayed in bed – tee hee, for the first time ever, I took the day off for my birthday! 🙂
  • Opened my cards and presents – my friends got me a Fitbit!
  • Did a bit of matched betting
  • Went to the gym (not just to test out the Fitbit, but gotta be fit at fifty!)
  • Met up with friends and had beers and food at Mash Tun, a gourmet banger and mash place.
  • Home by midnight, like Cinderella!

It was a great day!


Some folks might feel that I’m too old to be aiming for FIRE but I’m not worried about what others think.

If things go according to my plan, I’ll be in a position to pull the plug 11 or 12 years before I’m eligible for the state pension and that’s pretty early in my books!

And when I say I’m going to ‘retire’, I really am going to retire, as in the original definition of the word.

Still, this might be the time for me to review my plan and evaluate my investments (too much in equities for my age?), so a post on this at some point soon.

Tough as old boots!

And finally, I’m so old that the boots that I wore at uni (which I have kept as they are still in good nick) are older than my boss, who has just turned 30…I wore them into work one time on dress-down Friday to show her – she thought it was hilarious!

And on that note, hope you all have a great weekend!

34 thoughts on “Half a Century

  1. Big congratulations Weenie – and I can say for certain you could easily pass for 15 years younger. I think it’s all that time you spend at the gym.

    Glad to hear you had a fun trip – Bruges is so pretty. And given you have made it to the half century, you are welcome to use the word girls to describe yourselves. 🙂

  2. Congratulations Weenie. Going away to celebrate is definitely the way to go. And well done on bringing two groups of friends together, that can be a tricky one. I’m turning 50 next year and I’m trying to view it in a positive light, but I definitely have mixed feelings. My best friend kindly turned 50 a couple of years ago to pave the way for me. We celebrated his big day with a trip to Cuba. There’s worse places to turn 50 than Havana, so we’re planning a return visit to celebrate my 50th. And there’s a trip in the planning to Berlin to run a half marathon with my running friends, as nothing shouts birthday celebration more than a half marathon!
    So maybe you can just keep celebrating for the rest of the year. And remember, as I keep telling everyone who will listen, we’re in the prime of our life.

  3. Congratulations on your 34th birthday 😉 I’ve just found out that you are actually younger than me, my metabolic age is 35, so you must be doing something very well here Weenie.

    I would also say that you are young spiritually talking, that’s the feeling I have when I read you. Your words transmit positive energy – at least to me – and that’s where the real age remains 😉

    Glad to see you enjoyed it with friends experiencing something different.

    I also own a Fitbit, if you would like me on you Fitbit friends list just let me know on Twitter.

    Salut! 🙂

  4. Sounds like you have a lovely bunch of friends. Brudges is now on my list, although I have a feeling Mrs. CfC suggested this in the past. I know if I suggest it now, I’ll get the “I told you so”.

    All through reading it, I kept thinking: “tattoo of what?”

    Happy be-lated Birthday!

  5. Happy Birthday Weenie! Sounds like a fantastic trip and a great idea to celebrate.

    Thank you for what you do, you’re a great role model and inspiration for so many in the FIRE community – and elsewhere I’m sure!

    Here’s to many more years and can’t wait to read the post when you achieve FI 🙂

  6. Happy Birthday from Mr and Mrs FU. Sounds like you had a great birthday trip.

    We agree with Ms ZiYou that you don’t look anywhere near your age.

    Unfortunately, I’ll be joining your club next year so I’ll have to think about a birthday trip as well to cheer myself up, instead of stopping in my birthday cave as Mrs FU calls it.

  7. Well happy birthday and I’m only trailing you by 2 years and so am already having all these thoughts. Ralise now that no one feels grown up at 50. Although life has dealt some low punches and so I do feel older from those I guess. Enjoy the year!

  8. Happy birthday Weenie! What a fabulous way to celebrate. I love the boots – great that you’ve hung onto them for so long!

  9. Many happy returns Weenie. Been there, done that, got the FireStarter t-shirt. As you say, it’s purely a number, so tuck it away in the bottom drawer with all the investments, forget about it, and carry on exercising.
    Not so sure about the tattoo though…i’m far too indecisive to be able to decide upon a design and style. it’s taken me half an hour to work out what to have for breakfast this morning.
    As for the DM’s, they’ve got to be one of the best clothing investments anyone can make. Mine are ~35 years old and only finally wore in about ten years ago. They’ll see me out i reckon.
    ps – On the subject of value, i took a small punt on Woodford Patient Capital this week on the premise that there must surely be some upside to the (perceived) 30% discount. That’s going in the bottom drawer along with the dusty old birthday cards!

  10. Happy Birthday Weenie.

    I find what seems “old” to me is a moving target as my parents and I get older. Once upon a time I saw 60 year olds as old, but now my parents are nearly 60 and they still seem middle-aged to me.

    Your DMs are in better condition than mine and I’ve only had mine a few years! Must take my mum’s advice to keep feeding the leather.

  11. Pingback: The Full English – The Sam Vimes Boots Theory – The FIRE Shrink

  12. Happy Birthday Weenie!

    Congratulations on your 5 decades. I love the idea of going away for a big birthday. It’s a few years yet till my next big birthday and I’m already thinking of starting a saving fund so that I can do a great trip to celebrate. Possibly Vegas but not sure yet.

    Hope you continue your celebrations for at least a month!


  13. Happy belated birthday! What a wonderful way to bring it in. I too want to take a trip to Egypt for my 50th – which I know will be here in no time. Yikes.

    I also have boots that are older than my daughter. And now she has her own, too. It makes me happy when we are both wearing them out.

  14. Congratulations and Happy Birthday Weenie! I’m new to your blog and I’m also new to the idea of FIRE. I’ll be back-reading your posts to learn more.

  15. Congratulations and happy birthday. For some reason, I thought you were only about 40, so I’m delighted to see you’re only a couple of years younger than me. I’m also late to FIRE, and aiming to knock about a decade off as well. That’s pretty good in my book too – it’s basically being handed another 10 years of life when you’re still young enough to enjoy it!

  16. Happy Birthday Weenie!

    Glad you found a great way to celebrate it.

    I am a year ahead of you so reached the milestone last year. Downshifting to a part-time job is my aim and would suit me fine in the next few years.

  17. Happy birthday!! Brudges looks lovely, sounds like you had an awesome time.

    Are those the boots in the picture? They look like they’re in such good shape 😮

    Where can I buy a pair? 😀

  18. Happy Birthday Weenie! Congratulations on the much younger metabolic age as well – shows you are doing all the right things and not just financially, so setting up for the next 50! 🙂
    Bruges is a great place and a lot of interesting sites, glad you enjoyed it!

  19. Hi All

    Thank you very much for the lovely birthday wishes!

    @Sassenach Saving – wow, hope you have a great time in Cuba to celebrate your 50th, although what an achievement it’ll be to celebrate your half-century with a half-marathon! I do feel like in in the prime of my life!

    @chrisB – ‘weenie’ is a nickname I acquired when I was at uni, as in ‘teenie-weenie’ to describe my petite stature!

    @Cashflow Cop – haha, that tattoo won’t be anything too controversial, not decided on final design yet.

    @Fu Mon Chu – hah, hear you on the stoping in your man cave – I would have been doing the equivalent, had my friends not persuaded me to plan the trip!

    @Kid Cocoa – there’s no rush to get the tattoo, although as I’ve been thinking about it, I have an idea of what I’ll be having. I recall the DMs being quite expensive at the time (they still are) so yes, a great investment. Also, I’ve taken a small punt too on a few WPCT, but I think they’ve still yet to bottom out! Ah well, need to be ‘patient’ as its name implies!

    @Fretful Finance – in my 20s, I thought people in their 40s were so old. Now, it’s people in their 70s so yes, it’s a moving target! Listen to your mum, the leather needs feeding (I’ve been using Dubbin on mine).

    @Ado – I concede defeat! 🙂 Two years til your next big milestone!

    @Frugal to FI – haha, love the idea of daughter and mum wearing the same boots!

    @Sparklebee – I’m not ready yet (mentally or financially) to downshift to part-time work but it sounds good for the future.

    @SavingNinja – yep, them’s the boots in the picture! They’re just classic Dr Martens. Although if I were to buy new, I’d probably go for the softer leather that’s now available – the hard leather took a while to wear in but I guess that’s why they’ve lasted!

    @FIL – Thanks, I would love to revisit Bruges. Good to see you about and hope all’s well with you and yours.

  20. Very belated Happy Birthday Weenie! Love that you have boots older than your boss. That’s brilliant!

    Bruges is brilliant. I’ve only been once, but I loved it. You’ve made me want to go back. Belgian fries are the best!

    Oh and like Tony, let me know if you want to link on Fitbit. There’s a small group of European FI bloggers/tweeters (plus a few others) that do weekly and weekend step challenges. It works to keep me motivated.

    • Cheers Caveman. Ref the Fitbit thing, I will add you and Tony – just not had the time to figure it all out yet! Some days however, I don’t move much haha!

  21. Congratulations and welcome to the club – I turned 50 in April. I believe that it’s never too late to discover FIRE and any ‘early’ retirement is great, particularly as you’ll have the money saved to enjoy it.

  22. Bruges is lovely, isn’t it! I had a flying work visit with a college. We spent 4 days in Ostend and got the train over and had a few beers. Dam the beers are strong in Belgium.

    Yeah, it’s not cheap either is it. We had these fancy beers in the main square that looked like mini yards of ale, was about 15 euro a pint haha

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