A recent plaint from Aric Olnes (who is now 51) on Facebook:

Ugh. That moment when a retailer automatically spits out post-transaction coupons for Centrum Silver and laxatives! WTH, fifty is fifty! Sigh. Damn you, Walgreens.

Fifty is a cut-off point (at least in the U.S.) for the seque from middle age (beginning at 40 or 45, depending on who you read) to senior status (entered at 60-65, depending on who you read). There are “50+” organizations of many types, and the AARP takes members beginning at 50 — so it’s clearly not literally an association for retired persons (instead, it provides a kind of anteroom to retirement and true senior status).

Three types of anniversaries that are significant in Western culture: birth anniversaries, just called birthdays; wedding anniversaries, often just called anniversaries; and rulership, or reign, anniversaries, frequently called jubilees. Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Diamond Jubilee (60 years since accession to the throne) in 2012, Queen Victoria in 1897. And Aric celebrated his Gold Birthday (his 50th) last year; like several other friends of mine, he’s now in his Golden Decade.

Only some anniversary years are associated with precious metals or gems:

25 silver
40 ruby
45 sapphire
50 gold
60 diamond
70 platinum
75 diamond

Yes, there’s an ambiguity. I am now in my Diamond Years for a second time. Well, there are only so many precious metals and gems. (Though I note that emeralds got short-changed here; emerald should get slotted in for 55 or 65.)

It’s not just people that have anniversaries, birthdays, or jubilees. There’s also food and drink that improves with age. For instance, brandies, like the excellent French Armagnac. I bring you Janneau Grand Armagnac, in its Golden Age edition:

The GOLDEN AGE is our limited edition Grand Armagnac at exactly 50 years of age. Distilled in 1964 and bottled in 2014 in limited quantity of only 500 half liter bottles, each bottle carrying the individual number.

The GOLDEN AGE is not just a great anniversary celebration, but also a superlative, unique expression of Janneau savoir faire, it is a certain … JANNEAU-SAIT-QUOI !

(Insert pun groan here.)

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