I am 52 years old. When I turned 50 two years ago, it felt like I had been turning FIFTY for years. The BIG 50 loomed large in front of me like the monolith (TMA-1 and 2) from the movie 2001, A Space Odyssey. While it was huge, and cast a long shadow, it was unavoidable, approaching that birthday. Like the black slab, hitting the half century day was as much a mystery and adventure, as it was an obstacle.
The TMAs were alien objects that were imposing, seemingly important, things that were meant to be explored and understood. At the same time, one felt one needed to push it back, especially when it made that sound. The first did something to the apes, propelled them forward in understanding and knowledge, sparking something in the people that approached, creating some leap in evolution. The second propelled man to look further into space, and the future.
Same thing with turning 50. We are beyond the “beginning phase”. We have all this experience, “book learning” life lessons. Like the Monolith, our quinquagenary year can be evolutionary for us. Something happens to most women at about the age of 47 or 48. We see 50 coming at us fast. Its not a scary number, its just the WOW, turning 50!! It like the apes and astronauts poking and staring at, posing with, and then shooting into the future to learn what it really means.
For me turning 50 was like that, a bench mark of sorts, either I could ignore what was right there, I could try and avoid it, or fight it, or I could say, YES,
my TMA is here, and it’s a good thing.
I could not just keep doing what I had been doing for the last several years, instead I could strap on my space walking gear and get out and explore!! Explore myself and the universe of possibilities. I could let the screeching sound the monolith emits create fear in me, a primal yell about this new phase, or take that primal yell for myself, singing happy birthday to me!
One interpretation of the use of the black slab in the movie was that it represents the movie screen, that it is there throughout the movie. That the evolution that the slab brings, while we see it in plainly in front of us three times in the movie, is always really there, the movie ON the slab. As it is with birthdays, sure, there are the biggies, the 30th, 50th 75th, the ones we mark as if we need to have done something by then, or wow you look good for 60. Instead, we should always see the screen in front of us, see what it can mean, and everyday, write our own script, and not wait for the big ones to come. Our life IS the slab, we are riding it through space. Take that black clean slate and write your own script, your own evolution every day.
Yours in LITHE-ness