It might be an odd thing for the Grumbler to say, but I haven't got a lot to grumble about.
Don't worry, though, because that's never hampered me before and it isn't going to stop me now!
Hitting this age milestone feels a little different to previous ones. I don't feel another day older (and I'm no deeper in debt) but its more than likely that I'm over halfway through my time on Earth, and that's fine, I fully intend to be dust and memories long before the time said planet has all been carelessly used/fucked up. Anyway, if the Daily Mail is to be believed the entire population will be (a) vegetarian, (b) Moslem and (c) Chinese long before that happens, and while I've genuinely got nothing against any of them, I love bacon, can't believe in God and don't speak Mandarin (except for an appalling attempt at pronouncing something I'm assured translates to "Farting Dog"). I'd be no less conspicuous and no more welcome than half a Rocky Mountain Oyster floating in a bowl of carrot consommé.
Having lost a mum and two dads between Mrs Grumbler and myself in a scant twelve months certainly awakens a new perspective on mortality; but its a positive one, and it's to live each day and enjoy it. Fully. We only have one life (yes, I know that others will disagree, and that's OK. If they're right, Ill wave at them from the flames downstairs...) and it's too short to bugger abut doing things you don't like, or being unpleasant to people.
I'm not sure I've always been good at not wasting my time on things I don't enjoy, but as my brother Ralf says, "I can't change the past, so I'm not going to worry about it". I'm certainly gonna make an effort to concentrate on doing what makes me happy from now onwards (excepting, of course, things which are a means to an end; like work for example), and from that perspective I'm far from halfway done with living yet. What I AM sure about is that I must be reasonably good at not being unpleasant to people. Evidence, should it be necessary, is available in the number of most excellent friends I have.
I hope you're not bored by this introspection but, frankly, if you are I don't really mind. Its taken me many years and a lot of alcohol, but I like me. I'm still going to laugh at things; especially myself, and at you too, incidentally, but it will be a laugh of delight, not of derision. For example:
So I've made some 'new-life' resolutions. A bit like new-year resolutions, but lacking the contumelious intent to ignore them after five minutes.
- More time with the many people I love.
- More creative expression - think, draw, paint, turn, carve, grow, brew, cook, write, imagine, make, build, walk, run, ride, play...
- Its OK to be covered in shit, as long as you're having fun
- No fear of failing. Be me, and to hell with whether anyone else doesn't like it. Empirical evidence tells me enough people do, so I don't need to worry.
- No despair in the face of unpleasant tasks, get 'em done and forget 'em
- Above all, waste no time or energy on "Flouty pelm-vessels" .
These just missed the cut...
- Dance like no-one's looking, sing like-no one's listening.
- Work ceaselessly to standardise the bowler hat as a measure of breast-size
And there you have it - The Grumbler on being fifty.
 Its absolutely NOT, under any circumstances. If a Daily Mail reporter tells you your arse is on fire, I recommend that you call for a mirror to check rather than a bucket of water to put the flames out.
 I was watching the news last week just before turning out the light and going to sleep, and a guy was asked by a journalist what he thought of the defection of Mark Reckless to UKIP. His response "Well, he's a flouty pelm-vessel isn't he?" actually left me chuckling as I fell asleep. I recommend that heartily, and intend to do my best to use this utterly meaningless and yet beautifully descriptive term as often as I can in future.