You have friends who fly across the country to share it with you. (And one who can’t because she’s busy winning her community’s version of The Biggest Loser, even though she’s anything but.)
You have friends who take you out to the Gaslamp, where you stay out way past your usual bedtime and dance more in three hours than you have in the last three decades.
You have friends who gather to run and then for breakfast and serve special cupcakes that are delivered by another birthday girl. They are older than even you are now but are also more fit than you. You realize as you splurge on eggs benedict that they have taught you how to be driven without taking life too seriously.
You are serenaded on stage by professional opera singers in front of a large room full of people that include some of the best friends in the world, and one husband who has once again earned your undying devotion.
You have friends who agree to give up an afternoon of their vacation to head up the freeway so you can take your grandmother, almost 98, out to lunch at Applebee’s. In return, they get an earful and, later, an eyeful as she pulls up her top to show off her new bra from Nordstrom’s.
You have friends who allow you an extra helping of hubris at the book club supper because they have all turned 50 already and know it is a very big deal to you.
You have grown daughters who put aside their own issues to focus on yours for a day. That’s love.
You have parents who need a vacation. To date, Dad is the only one to tell me it all goes downhill from here -- and mean it.
You have younger siblings who still look up to you even if you'll always be the shortest in the family.
You have a bad cough and a limp.
You have 15 pounds to lose.
You have gray hair that no one will see now for another five weeks.
You have crow’s feet and well-earned laugh lines.
You have given up on a good night’s sleep.
You have a stack of cards and fresh flowers and presents in your living room and lots of emails and e-cards in your Inbox.
All this and it's only 5:30 in the morning.