My 47th year was a pretty productive one: Three books of mine were published (The Dispatcher, in both audio and print; Miniatures; and of course The Collapsing Empire), one video game I worked on was released (Midnight Star: Renegade), I toured all around the country and saw lots of people, I had some work optioned and even won an award in Israel. Not bad. More importantly, I got to spend another year with my wife and child and with friends, all of whom I cherish beyond measure, and who have made my personal life full and wonderful.

There was that election. But, look. You can’t pin that one on me.

I have plans and ambitions for my 48th year, which outside that which you probably already know (i.e., write a whole bunch of books) I’m going to keep to myself for now. But in the spirit of commemorating the day, if you feel inclined to mark my birthday, in lieu of gifts, please consider doing the following:

1. Be decent to each other, as much as you can.

2. Be mindful of the people you care about. They’re going to need your help, and you might need theirs.

3. Donate locally, and donate critically. There are people in your own neighborhoods who could use a hand up, especially now. Also, our nation is going to need people to defend rights and principles other people seem in a rush to strip and junk. To the extent you can, give.

4. Look up from the news every once in a while and give yourself a break. This is one I especially need to remember, so I figure the rest of you could use that reminder as well. I think people can and should be engaged in the world, now more than ever. But it’s also important to know when you need to rest, so you can be more effective when you come back to it.

5. Take care of yourself. You’re not getting any younger, you know. Do things that give you joy, with people you like and love. It’s more important than you might think.

And that’s what I have for you today, on my 48th birthday. I’m looking forward to the next year.

88 Comments on “48”

  1. Thanks for the wise words! Happy Birthday! Wishing you continued happiness!

  2. Happy birthday John Scalzi. Live long and prosper!

    Nice photo, by the way.

  3. Happy Birthday! And thank you for the reminders. After reading this, I sent an overdue letter to a friend. No matter how old one gets (and I got a few years on you, babe), your advice is timely.

  4. May your day be joyful, sir! And I fervently hope that the year to come is filled with all manner of good surprises on many levels.

    Health and happiness, now and always!

  5. I think the first, fourth, and fifth on your list are being sadly neglected by many people, but hopefully you have enough pull to swing a few people away from the edge and back to sanity. Congrats on your birthday.

  6. Plan For A Year by Robert Bly
    (Happy Birthday John)
    Suppose that for a year we wrote poems only
    About men and women whose lives had failed. We wouldn’t have to stop writing about
    Ourselves—that’s one good thing. But

    We’d have to give up bringing Cezanne
    Into the poems, and cut way back on Dickinson.
    There’d be fewer mentions of Eckhart and none
    About those saints banished by the Church.

    But we could go on writing about butterflies
    Setting out over the Pacific, and those immigrant
    Women in log cabins playing Haydn,
    And we could talk about what happened to God.

  7. You probably don’t recall that my wife, who calls you He Who Shall Not Be Named because I talk about you (adoringly) too much, shares your birthday. I think she’s making progress though as she actually said your name today.

    I wish you a happy birthday and hope that your goals and dreams for this year come true.

  8. First: Happy Birthday!
    Second: Not to be nitpicking, but the past year was your 48th year that you lived (the first was from your birth to the 1st birthday, right?)

    Also, only programmers are allowed to start counting anything at 0 :-)

  9. Kudos to the first day of your forty-ninth year! You are only one year from being a half-century young.

  10. Happy birthday John! I just finished the Collapsing Empire, it was squee-worthy, and my favorite space one of yours so far.

  11. Happy birthday! Grattis! Nice list. I’m almost a decade older and that list is one I learned in my own life as one that brings happiness and contentment in the wonders of this world. Many happy returns!

  12. 1. Doing that every day. I always think twice before I post anything and consider how I would feel if I were receiving that post. Where I see myself reacting negatively (“You shouldn’t do/say X…”) I’m replacing it with (“Have you considered doing/saying Y…”)

    2. Doing my best. I fail sometimes, especially like now when I’m sick and my attention is more focused on myself than usual, but yes, I will continue to do that.

    3. Yep. Volunteering (got myself elected to a local unpaid position on the board of my neighborhood council) and fixing the things that I can, and donating nationally to key charities that are doing the important work of defending rights and principles other people seem in a rush to strip and junk, as well as providing material comfort to those who most need it.

    4. This one is really hard, especially with so much happening so fast, but yes, I will.

    5. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But seriously, yes, I’m doing that, and will do more of that once this cold/flu/whatever bug finally goes away.

  13. Well, I was going to be a dick today, but in your honor I’ll not. Happy? Birthday.

  14. Happy Birthday! You share the date with either my paternal grandmother or grandfather – I can never remember which because the other one was born on December 10th – so on both dates I remember to say happy birthday to both their (long-gone) souls, just to make sure I cover the possibilities. Anyway – I’m sure you are enjoying your day but I’ll say it again anyway: Happy Birthday! You whippersnapper you.

  15. Have a happy! And I must say, that combination of beard and dimples is really adorable.

  16. Happy birthday and best wishes to you.

    Now we should all get together and do the “Sunscreen Song” fro Baz Luhhrman. I don’t know why but it sounded appropriate.

  17. Happy birthday, John! Hope its a great day. You signed my copy of your book in San Fran even though I came late and interrupted your cookie time. Totally made my birthday month, I tell ya! Thanks again!

  18. Happy birthday! Thanks for putting up with all us crazy fans. Or maybe it’s just me.

  19. Happy birthday, John. Hope Krissy is going to spoil you today. And what do you mean, the election wasnt your fault- I think you jinxed it by saying in an earlier post on here ” Donald Trump will never, ever, ever be President of the USA”.

  20. Happy birthday! Mine’s in exactly one week, and you’re right, every year it does feel like I’m not getting any younger.. ;)

  21. La mulți ani, John! That’s “Happy birthday” in Romanian, although technically the meaning is closer to “Many happy returns”.

    I wish you health and happiness and love. Cheers.

  22. Happy birthday!

    Not to depress you with math, but if you turned 48 today, that means you just *completed* your 48th year, and are now embarking upon your 49th. Unless you’re referring to your first year of life as your “zeroth”, in which case, carry on. :)

  23. Firstly, happy birthday! Hope you have a wonderful day?

    Secondly, I was surprised it took over an hour for the first person to mention the year gone past counts as your 48th year of breathing Earth atmosphere, not the year to come. As I read my email of this post I thought it would take less than 10 comments. Did you have an over/under on it yourself?

  24. I have no idea how that question mark ended up on the end of my second sentence in previous comment. I may need another mug of tea.

  25. Happy birthday. Thank your mother.
    As a man of 50, taking care of my body is important.

    How do you prevent the middle age gut?
    I eat healthy, practice ta kwon do, which involves lots of stretching.
    Does your family exercise together? What are you doing to keep in shape? I do not think Daisy and you go for runs.

  26. Happy Birthday,John! I sincerely enjoy both your fiction and your non-fiction insights as expressed in your blog. All the best for a fabulous birthday and additional year (or, preferably, many more) among us.

  27. Happy Birthday!! Congrats on the anniversary of another successful revolution around the big glowy ball of gas in space!!

  28. Just wanted to wish you a happy belated Birthday and let you know that I love your stuff. Your books are my go-to gift for friends on their birthdays. I think I’ve bought about 20 copies of OMW. Keep writing and I’ll keep supporting!

  29. Happy Birthday Birthday Buddy (well, 2 days away is close enough). 48 is nothing. I wish you many more and if we’re lucky we’ll get some more great books out of you. Enjoy the day now. Put your feet up and binge some TV with a glass of your favorite drink.

  30. Happy Belated Birthday, John! I’m someone who is very glad you continue to keep clocking in on this messed up planet of ours. Your books give me some pleasure in dark times. I hope your next year is filled with lots of wonderful things. Yay!

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