Me at 52. Phot by Kristine Scalzi
Photo by Kristine Scalzi

It occured to me last week, as I was coming up on my 52nd birthday, which is today, that I am now old enough that I have a year of my life correspond to every week of a standard-sized year. This is not a particularly deep thought, to be sure, but to someone who is a secret organizational nerd, it’s kind of fun to think about, and it does put an interesting spin on things. For example, the US had a really rough December, but things started to look up again just in time for the new year.

This formulation also means today is New Year’s Day, as it were, on the second year of my life. Whether I get through this whole year remains an open question (I think I’ll be happy to make it to Halloween), but I’m not going to worry about that right now. Instead I’m looking forward to what comes next in this new season. The last (actual not metaphorical) year had some real highs and lows for me, but especially in the last couple of (actual not metaphorical) months things feel like they’ve been on a real upswing. It’s nice to have a sense of optimism. I’m going to ride that wave as long as I can. You’re welcome to join me.

So Happy New Year (on several levels) to me, and to us, and to the world. Let’s get to what’s next, shall we?

— JS

46 Comments on “52”

  1. Happy happy birthday!

    I agree on optimism. While there is always that looming cloud of free (this one in particular is the GOP authoritarianism), in general I really feel strong optimism about the future. My family is healthy, we both have jobs we love. We have been able to significantly give back to our community to help those less fortunate. My kids finally got to see their grandparents again.

    It is starting to feel like we can make plans more than one week out. Actually think about doing something this summer. That feels really good.

  2. Damned Kids. Get a hair cut, turn down that garbage you call music, and stay off my lawn!

  3. I turned 52 a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t make the weeks/year connection – neat thought! Have a very happy birthday and year ahead!

  4. When my dad turned 52, I called him up and said, “Happy birthday! You’re finally playing with a full deck!”

  5. Happy Birthday, John! Your books and blog have been a bright light in the insanity that has been the recent past. Thank you! Please keep up the good work!

  6. The happiest unto you. It doesn’t count unless you blow out all 52 candles with one breath!

  7. Happy Birthday!

    It always surprises me when I find out, or am reminded of, how close in age I am to folks I admire. The first thought is always “Wow! We’re almost the same age! Looks at how successful they are!” and then I step back and take stock, and realize I’m living a pretty damn good life, all things considered. So, in addition to the birthday wishes, thank you for that reminder. May your next trip around the sun be your most successful yet :)

  8. Happy Birthday, you youngster! :)

    Enjoy overthinking the 52 yrs/52 was analogy, but don’t overdo it. I played with the notion way back when I was that age and got a quarter of the way through the year before the notions got all bent out of shape … LOL! Perhaps my lack of imagination, or lack of serious interest…

    52 years young is a good age. Enjoy every minute of it! :D


  9. Not only are you a year of weeks old but you also have one year per card in a standard deck of playing cards. Though I think you’re still missing the 7 of diamonds, since last year was DEFINITELY a Joker. Or maybe THE Joker.

  10. Something about that photo looks super 80s, although I’m unsure what/why.

    Anyways, Happy New Year!

  11. I turn 52 in August- I’ll reread this post on my birthday. I will still not be fully vaccinated (Canada is slow) so cautious optimism is perhaps the mood to come. Happy Birthday!

  12. Gee. I thought Burrito Hobbits has furry feet!

    Sorry but I will always think of you as a Hobbit (not tall, but don’t need to be) asking extra burritos.

    My mind has been ruined by that series…

    Anyways, O.L.D. is a medical condition you want, so enjoy it!

  13. Feliciations & conratualtions John.
    @Mike D lol I said that to my father when I turned 52. His reply :”sure you didn’t misdeal?”

  14. Congratulations on successfully circumnavigating the sun!

    When I turned 48, I had been at the same job and in the same relationship for over half my life. And last year was when we had been living in the same house for over half my life… something that could have been said for much of my childhood, I guess…

    Like you said, not particularly deep thoughts, but interesting.

  15. Happy birthday to you, and to my mom, and to my cousin, and to my coworker’s boyfriend! Lots of you today!

  16. Happy birthday, Scalzi~!!~ and many happy returns.

    Something about that portrait photo reminds me of John Prine, the eyes maybe. Never mind, you look healthy, take care, you owe us lot of great books to keep the sock puppies riled up.

    Also, love the mother’s day photo of Krissy and (I assume) her mom, a great picture of two strong-looking women.

  17. Happy birthday, young’un! Now get off yer lawn!!! Wait, that’s not how it works

  18. Happy Birthday!
    You can also say you’re now playing with a full deck.
    That’s what I said last year for my 52nd. Don’t think anyone believed me though.

  19. Happy Birthday!

    And not surprisingly at least 3 people beat me to the “playing with a full deck” joke. Which I used on myself when I turned 52 last December…

  20. Happy Birthday John. From the vantage point of almost 16 years past 52 I can say that life just gets better. Carpe diem though.

  21. Happy birthday. Sharing a birthday (as do I) so near to Mother’s Day weekend is also interesting. Probably not as odd a feeling as other big holidays though. I’ve joked that I don’t always celebrate Mother’s Day since it sometimes shares my birthday.

  22. Happy Birthday Youngster! Congratulations on another lap around the sun. Wish you many more.

  23. Happy birthday, John. The earth takes another lap around the sun, and you’re still with us!

    Many happy returns, and I hope your 53rd year is a good one.

  24. Your post reminds me very much of a life “philosophy” that I realized a number of years back and occasionally “rediscover” as needs would dictate. It’s not particularly complex, nor, as you say regarding your “yearly” observation, particularly deep. It HAS, however, been quite comforting and genuinely helpful.

    “Nothing lasts forever.”

    I know, right? Seriously not very complex or deep.


    Also very helpful. I keep it in mind (or try to) during all moments of extremes, bad AND good. Because while that is a platitude you commonly hear when you are going through some shite…you don’t hear it very much when you are having the time of your life…but you should. Because nothing lasts forever.

    Saying this in a less overly simplistic manner…”Don’t sweat the bad times as things won’t always be this bad, but enjoy the good ones to the fullest extent when they are happening, because they won’t last forever either.”

    The pendulum always swings both directions eventually and I have found it very useful to remember that at both extremes, but for very different reasons.

    Here’s hoping your upswing will keep going for quite awhile…no need to advise you to enjoy it while it does…you clearly already do.


  25. You look more like the great Robert Benchley than ever (which, to be clear, is high praise).
    Happy birthday, sir.

  26. Sharing a birthday (as do I) so near to Mother’s Day weekend is also interesting. Probably not as odd a feeling as other big holidays though. I’ve joked that I don’t always celebrate Mother’s Day since it sometimes shares my birthday.

    My mother’s birthday also fell on Mother’s Day (as it did this year). She always said it was her weekend and everybody needed to sty home and celebrate. This year was particularly raw because she passed away in early April. We went to visit family and every time the holiday came up, it was a stab to the heart.

    Anyway, for those celebrating, happy lap around the sun day! I hope you enjoy/enjoyed it thoroughly!

  27. I would suggest thinking in terms of a deck of cards rather than 52 weeks. It’s a way to not be a joker.

  28. I always wish people a happy personal new year, so I’m glad to know you make the same association. Best wishes for the coming ones.

  29. I hope you had a lovely birthday. Compliments to Krissy for taking a nice portrait of you: I like being able to see your face. ;)

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