A few months before my 50th birthday, I was sitting just inside the door of a packed meeting room waiting for what was expected to be a heated tribunal hearing about a contentious liquor license in my neighbourhood. A woman laden down with several bags appeared beside me in the doorway. She stood there uncertainly as she scanned the room, looking for a chair to head towards. I explained that we needed to bring in a chair from the hallway and popped up to get one for her. Because the room was so packed, I hoisted the chair over my head and led her to the other side of the room. There was one place, against the far wall, where there was some space on either side of two men sitting there. If they shifted their chairs a few inches in either direction, we could squeeze in one more chair. But they just stared blankly at me as I stood in front of them, chair over my head, the other woman with her bags behind me. I sensed that they felt we were on ‘the other side’ of the case that was about to be heard and they weren’t going to budge.
Surprising us all, the voice that came out of me was clear and to the point. “One of you needs to move so that this person can have a seat.” And just like that, they shifted their chairs, I put down the one I was holding, the woman thanked me and I walked away thinking “Oh wow. I LIKE FIFTY.”