Beating the 50th birthday blues

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Blogger Trish Burgess writes for the Free Press

It was my husband’s birthday last week and I hope that, by the time the article goes to print, I managed to buy him something. At the moment I am completely stuck for ideas.

It’s a big birthday. One with a nought on the end...and a five at the front. I really should be pushing the boat out, but he doesn’t want a party or any surprises and would rather let the day go by without any fuss.

I’m inclined to want the same for mine in the summer.

How different from the year we both turned 40. ‘Life begins’ and all that jazz. We were more than happy to celebrate it with gusto. But this year, turning 50 straight after our son has turned 18 and knowing we will soon be ‘Empty Nesters’, we would rather stick our fingers in our ears, sing la la la, and carry on as if nothing has changed.

Some friends of mine have also turned 50 this year and are already noticing the ‘senior’ life insurance offers landing on the doormat. Michael Parkinson speaks to them through the TV offering words of comfort and a free pen. All very sensible, I’m sure, but quite depressing.

Even looking for a card is frustrating. When you’re 30 there are ‘flirty at 30’ cards, then ‘naughty at 40’.

What do they come up with for 50? Nifty. Is that it? No more racy references? No, apparently at our age we should be grateful that we can still get about.

So what should I buy him for his birthday? I don’t know why I’m becoming stressed about it. It’s not as if he’s an expert gift­giver. Far from it. Many years ago, when we had just moved in to our first home in Spalding, I was excited about what I might receive as a gift for our first Christmas together.

On Christmas Eve, my beloved’s car drew up in front of the house. I watched as he opened the boot and carefully lifted out a large box before handing it to me, a big smile spreading across face.

A deep­fat fryer. Not even wrapped. Bought from the supermarket on the way home from work. I was not happy.

Once I had started speaking to him again I asked him what had possessed him to buy such a present. His sheepish reply was, “I really fancied having some chips.” I took my revenge a year later when I bought him a trouser press. Rather annoyingly he found it a very useful gadget.

I blame his parents. Yes, I’m looking at you George and Emily, lovely though you both are. I haven’t forgotten the year your son asked for some weights to help him keep fit. You couldn’t locate any but decided some socks might be a suitable alternative. White football socks with Chelsea embroidered up the calf.

This is for a Hibernian supporter who doesn’t play football. Maybe I shouldn’t worry about the material things and just make the day special. We might go to Norfolk.

There’s a clothes shop in Holt worth a look: ‘Old Guys Rule’. He’ll like that.