As I’ve typed here before, this year I turned 50, an age that has been readily regarded as a golden age of sorts. People who are married for 50 years have reached their golden anniversary, which most would say they’re entitled to for making things work with the same person for more than half their lives. I agree with that, if only because 50 is a lot of years. A lot of life. A lot of living. I embrace it all, especially because I’ve seen and done a lot in these years.
I’ve dated a lot, written a lot, traveled a lot, laughed a lot. I’ve made great memories, and because my life is so balanced I’ve also been heartbroken. I’m still working on being in the moment so that I can do less overthinking and more outright living. I’ve lost friends and family, which made me wonder what life is really all about. Made we wonder why we’re all really here. And I’ve met people that make me feel like there’s so much more to see. So much more to accomplish.
It’s been a great run, and if I’m being honest, I’m proud I made it to my golden age. Proud that I’m still standing. Still strong.
It also made me realize that this year, 2021, is the anniversary of several other solid, tried and true entities and products, including Malibu Barbie, the Quarter Pounder, the infamous Coca-Cola commercial, the CBS sitcom All in the Family, the songs “What’s Going On” and “Imagine,” NASDAQ, Cocoa and Fruity Pebbles, the pocket calculator, Hamburger Helper, the Hard Rock Cafe, soft contact lenses, and… email (!!!). All of these are entrenched in American culture, which makes me feel good that we share a birthdate and proves that I’m in fine company.
Here are 10 other things that turned 50 this year:
When it started as a store based in Seattle’s Pike Place Market on March 30, 1971, it didn’t serve any brewed coffee, only bulk whole bean coffee, tea, spices, coffee makers, grinders and teapots. 50 years later, there are 30,000 stores selling hot and cold drinks around the world.
Walt Disney World
The resort first opened on October 1, 1971 along with Magic Kingdom. A lot of those rides from opening day are still around, including the Haunted Mansion and It’s a Small World. The 50th anniversary kicked off this month and will carry on for 18 months of “The World’s Most Magical Celebration.”
It was born out of family games of Crazy Eights by Merle Robbins, who was a barber by trade. He sold the decks out of his barbershop, and then sold the game at campground clubhouses. Now, 50 years later, the game is in the National Toy Hall of Fame, inducted in 2018.
The educational children’s television series debuted on October 25, 1971 and ran for six seasons on PBS. The show ran sketches to help elementary school children with their grammar and math, with the reruns running until October 1985.
Incorporated in 1970 with nearly 90 original member stations, National Public Radio’s first national news program, All Things Considered, debuted on May 3, 1971.
Did you know that graphic design student Carolyn Davidson created the iconic Nike swoosh logo? Yup. And she only received $35 for her efforts in 1971. What’s good to know is that she got a form of reparations for her efforts, being rewarded with valuable Nike stock and more benefits in later years.
A few protesting activists leased a small fishing boat in 1971, intent on putting themselves in harm’s way to bring attention to their cause, the prevention and exposing environmental abuses. Today, Greenpeace has more than 2.8 million members worldwide.
The company that would become Federal Express (FedEx) was born in August 1971, and today its network covers most of the globe.
The first Amtrak train left New York for Philadelphia on May 1, 1971. Today, Amtrak travels on 21,400 miles of railway to more than 500 destinations across 46 states, Washington, D.C., and three Canadian provinces.
One-way fares were only $20 when Southwest Airlines took flight on June 18, 1971, with 108,554 passengers flying that year. This year, Southwest has more than 4,000 weekday departures to 121 destinations.