It seems like just yesterday I was blabbing about turning 48, but so it goes in blog years. I’ve used this space to track time over the last 16 years or so, and it truly does feel like my site of record. I’ve watched a bunch of folks I grew up with celebrating this landmark passage into old age on Facebook and it seems deeply depressing to me, it’s like having your 50th birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese.

Nothing beats the blog, it’s a space where I’m not afraid to admit this was a weird one for me. I’ve spent much of my 40s trying to recover both physically and financially from my 20s and 30s. My 40s ruled, in large part because the scales dropped from my eyes when it came to institutional servitude: I started Reclaim Hosting, left UMW, moved to Italy, spent much more time with my family, and even got into collecting arcade games.

I also came to terms with the fact I don’t have world enough and time and I need to start thinking beyond my EDUPUNK guns. Being sober for almost all of this time helped tremendously, and accepting my manic depression and learning to live with it made me a better husband, father, colleague, and, hopefully, mentor. You’re never cured of your brain, and those of us who regularly struggle to trust it might even become stronger for it. It’s kinda like Venom, you learn to live with, and maybe even control, the alien invader within.

In that sense, the passing of time has been a godsend for accepting my real hard limits as a person and doubling down on what I enjoy (and might even be decent at). But time looms, and while 50 is symbolic and it’s only a number and all that new age shit, I was young once and I know 50 isn’t that. In fact, we live in a delusional moment where we believe enough mountain climbing and dog walking can counter-act our fate, but I know the cold, hard reality is still out there and it tolls for me! I’m honestly not sure what this next set of numbers will bring my way, hence the idea of this being a weird one, but I do hope the personal and professional work I put in over the last decade makes whatever comes my way that much more manageable, or even enjoyable!

50 fucking years old, old man bava and the blog 🙂

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43 Responses to 50

  1. Alex Masters says:

    A very happy birthday to you Jim!

    I’m glad to hear how the last few years have been so rewarding for you and spending more time with family is surely the greatest of achievements! Lots to be thankful for I’m sure.

    I’m thankful to count you as a friend, thankful for your insightful, reflective, and entertaining blog posts, radio shows, and tweets aplenty, but most of all, I’m thankful that you were wearing clothes when you photographed those balloons.

    50? You’re a spring chicken mate. Time to double down on doubling down!

    Love always,
    Alexxx. ?

  2. Anne-Marie Scott says:

    I’m guessing comments on the blog beats any cheesy Hallmark card I could send, so Happy Birthday old man! It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to know you these past few years, and I can’t wait to see what 50s brings. You may not be as strong as you think, but you know many tricks and you have resolution.

    • Reverend says:


      Comments are the best kind of birthday love, thank you kindly! I see Anto rocking her 50s which gives me faith, but I ain’t as strong or as smart.

  3. Paul says:

    Bava was fifty when he did Blood and Black Lace and Planet of the Vampires. This could be a killer year. Happy birthday!

  4. Welcome to the most creative time of your life, Jim. And always glad to hear you’re doing well.

    • Reverend says:

      Didn’t I already tell you I am your footman on Twitter, now you give me hope too? I’ll follow you anywhere, my leige! Thanks Mike.

  5. Matt says:

    Happy birthday, Jim!!! I’ve been thinking about you and I’m so happy to see you reach 50 in good shape!! I miss you!!!

    • Reverend says:

      I’M NOT DEAD YET! 🙂 Thanks Matt, big fan, and should be back in NYC this December for a stay with whole family, so a reunion is in our future.

  6. Alan Levine says:

    Fifty is nifty if you make it so, and you do. Congrats on everything and staying true to the blog. I count on it pumping out new reads. Go for a mountain romp with your dog and scream joy from the top. I’m listening.

  7. Hey Jim, happy birthday to you!! It’s hardly believable that it’s been half a decade since I met your amazing family with you when you were in Edinburgh for OER16. As you say, time is strange. Here’s to your 50s… they have been the best decade of my life, without a doubt — you will rock them. I know I don’t need to say ‘Keep blogging’, but I will say thanks… for showing us all how it’s done 🙂 Cheers from Galway ?

    • Reverend says:

      Us Americans in Europe need to stick together 🙂 I do think part of rocking the 40s was being in a new land with new vistas, that kept me happy. So I guess it’s off to Ireland for the 50s given your experience 🙂

      As for 5 years since Scotland, it’s hard to believe it is 5 years in Italy, and it really sunk in this year that my chances of ever going back to live in the US are closer to nil. Now if I could only learn the language 🙂

  8. Geoff Cain says:

    Happy Birthday brother!

    I had a Kurdish friend ask me when I was in my late 20s about what I was planning to do with my life. I told him that I was going to Berkeley and maybe study literature or philosophy. He laughed and said that I was not qualified to study philosophy. He said in his community (sufis) you couldn’t start studying philosophy until you were 60 because you didn’t have enough experience with life yet. I know that 50 sounds like a lot, but hang in there – in ten more years you will be qualified to study philosophy.

  9. Todd Conaway says:

    Look at all these comments! The very glue that holds this frickin’ web together holds you tightly with love and hugs from the many you have touched!

    Of course, now that you are 50 there ain’t much left 🙂 Well, wait…. I take that back. I think I am 57 and honestly, everything is better. Everything.

    Happy Birthday Jim Groom. Keep on doing this, “spent much more time with my family…”

    • Reverend says:

      I might just send you a random act of email kindness for this comment. I agree, seeing comments on the bava are the ultimate source of joy.

  10. Happy Freakin’ Birthday Jim!! Thanks for sharing yet more of your life and inner most thoughts through the blog. I’m so very glad to know you these past years. Can’t wait to see what’s ahead for you in your 50s. Big love! And best wishes and happiness for the year ahead 🙂

    • Reverend says:


      Chatting with you and witnessing your bravery has been some of the best moments over the last few years, so thanks for ruling, and we will get our streaming movie night/karaoke working here soon 🙂

  11. Happy birthday, Jim! I hope you have a great one. And how in the hell did I never realize we share a birthday? That’s crazy! (52 today. yikes)

  12. dkernohan says:

    That’s quite the landmark, Jim. Please keep the awesome coming in the years to come.

  13. Bava (Marathi): A term of respectful compellation or mention for a g?s?v?, gur?, father, or elderly person.

    You wear it well, bava. Beside, you may be 50, but punks are forever! Welcome to the other side.

    • Reverend says:

      Thanks for the warm welcome, and bava in Italian means slobber or spit, which is closer to my blog style. Just spitting out craziness as the light dies 🙂

  14. Trip Kirkpatrick says:

    Semicentenarian! Buon compleanno, Signor Bava, and welcome to the club.

  15. Jim! Happy Birthday – wishing you the best on this one, and even better on many more to come.

    While I don’t think youth is wasted on the young, it’s also pretty awesome having the ability and inclination to move more slowly, more deliberately, more gradually. Glad to hear that the 40’s were good to you, and that slipping the bonds of institutional servitude has been good for you.

    • Reverend says:

      You and D’Arcy commenting on the bava again? I think we should chat Drupal, reminds me how much fun I have had with so many good folks like you over the years on this site. Thanks for sticking around and the well wishes. Appreciate it Bill, I remain a big fan!

  16. Andy Rush says:

    Happy Birthday, my friend.

    Your last line reminded me of a line from (I know I keep harping on it) Breaking Away.

    “40 year old Bava. 50 year old Bava. Old mean old man Bava”


    • Reverend says:

      Is it “old mean old man” or “oh me, oh man” or “old me, old man” bava? Regardless, you really brought the existential levity to this party 🙂 Everyone else here is pretending I am gonna live beyond my 50s, and you knowing the true horror lies in the fact that we have forgotten all the movies we have see! Where is the Rush?!

  17. Jeff says:

    Happy birthday Jim.

    Only 56 more to 106 and the big celebration.

  18. Pumpkin Yang says:

    Nifty fifty! Happy Birthday & here’s to 50 more years of Bava & the Blog!

  19. Pete Smith says:

    Happy Birthday, ??????! I reconnected with your blog to read about your advanced…wisdom….

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