50

So, suddenly, I'm 50 years old. Almost a quarter of my life behind me.

50 really doesn't seem that bad. 40 felt much more like an oh-man-I'm-old-and-have-wasted-my-life event. I'm much happier now than I was then. This has been a great decade for me. I met a wonderful woman, and we are celebrating our ninth wedding anniversary this year. I live in a comfortable house with people and dogs who make me feel connected and loved (most of the time). Being 50 and happy is much better than being younger and miserable.

I skipped my last annual birthday update. Something important was going on in January and I wanted to wait until it got resolved before writing the update, but by the time it was resolved it seemed too late to be an annual update. So I have a bit of time to cover since my last update at 48.

(I also need an updated picture. That picture in the corner of this web page is from several years ago. I'm much better looking now.)

In the past year we've moved into a ranch-style house with a big wooded back yard. It's in a nice part of Johns Creek, Georgia, close to everything we need to be close to, about fifteen minutes away from my parents' house. We finally sold our Dahlonega cabin, so we are thinking about buying this house we're currently renting, and will be working on that in the coming months.

My wife Pebble is now a science teacher at Chattahoochee High School. Bailey is finishing his last year of high school. We have another young man, De'John, staying with us while he finishes high school as well. Not sure what either of them will be doing after high school, but I'm sure they will figure something out.

My parents are still in Roswell. Mom has joined Dad in retirement. Dad has been having some health issues, so I worry about him, but I'm hoping it turns out OK.

My brother Eric is engaged to be married. We've enjoyed meeting his fiancée and her kids.

I'm starting my third year working at Mobile Labs as a Senior Software Developer. It's been interesting work. I've learned a lot about the internals of iOS and Android, and am starting to get into the reverse-engineering work that attracted me to the position. I get to write code for iOS, Android, Windows and macOS, in C#, C++, Objective-C, Swift, and other languages. I work at home three days a week, and go into the office in Buckhead twice a week. We will be expanding our product offerings in the coming year, so I look forward to having a lot of new challenges.

I got into long-distance running a few years ago, running my first marathon in March 2014. Unfortunately, a couple of days after that marathon, I was hit with plantar fasciitis, and as a result had to quit running for about a year. After resuming my running, I still haven't been able to get back into the groove of running more than about six miles. So I'm setting a goal for this year of running another half marathon, and depending on how that goes, might try another marathon in 2018. I hope to lose about 50 pounds along the way.

My politics have changed and become more important to me in the past couple of years. I've always favored equality for women and minorities, but my conservative upbringing left me with an underlying assumption that the world is basically a meritocracy, and anybody who works hard enough can achieve the same things I have. And I felt that whatever inequality exists is not my fault, so it wasn't my problem to fix. I no longer believe those things. Women and minorities simply don't get the same opportunities that white men do, and they face obstacles that white men don't understand or recognize. It's not fair, and we should all want to fix it.

So I've decided that, as a white man with unearned privilege, I have a responsibility to do what I can to help correct these imbalances. It makes me unpopular with my friends and family at the dinner table and on Facebook, but I will no longer just sit quietly when I hear that all Muslims should be exterminated, or that unarmed black man shot in the back by police probably did something to deserve it, or that women really should dress more modestly if they want to be taken seriously. We all need to speak up when we hear such things. I've decided I will speak up, and will do what I can to amplify the voices of those who often go unheard.

It might make me unpopular, but I don't care. That's one of the best things about being 50.