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Posted at 04:11 PM ET, 08/04/2011

On Obama’s 50th, Washingtonians recall their monumental birthdays


President Obama is welcomed by singer Jennifer Hudson and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel at a fundraiser on the eve of his 50th birthday. (M. Spencer Green - AP)
Happy Birthday, Mr. President. Yesterday, five prominent Washingtonians — pundit Paul Begala, lobbyist Scott Reed, former White House press secretary Joe Lockhart, Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) and Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis — advised the president on what his “tween years” in Washington would mean.

Today, we turn to readers for advice for health and happiness for any milestone birthday.

Peter Tracey of Washington reflected on achieving a lifelong goal:

“I turned 50 on June 4, 2010. On that same day, I completed a project that I started in 1984, which was to run at least 20 minutes in all 50 States of the Union. My last run was in Juneau, Alaska, at the Mendenhall Glacier. I live about a mile north of the Capitol building, and can see it from my front yard. Now that I’ve visited (and run in) all 50 States, I feel like I’ve got some sense of the diversity and vastness of this nation, and I have more appreciation of DC as the capital of a truly remarkable country.”

Joelle Presson of College Park, Md., has some advice for 50-year-olds looking to tone up:

“It’s now or never to be fit and strong. This is relevant to the Washington area because we cannot do our jobs energetically as we age unless we are physically fit. Find an activity that is mentally as well as physically challenging.  For me, that is Kung Fu.  Try it... even at 60 you can do it, it will challenge not only your body but your mind.  There are other good activities -- adult gymnastics (Gymkana at UM), tai chi, any other sport that is complex and new for you.”

Pamella Taylor of Greenbelt, Md., is happy to hear that “over the hill” means something different to Washingtonians:

“I am pleased that the attitude of the 40+ milestones have been given a more youthful facelift, it seems that in the DC area 50 is the new 40. I turned 50 over 7 years ago, so I am now closer to 60 my next milestone and I’m looking forward to it since 60 is the new 50 I am now again ahead of the game. My advice would be to enjoy the fact that you can now relax because the things you use to feel were so important all of a sudden are nothing compared to just being happy.”

LaVonne Switzer of Upper Marlboro, Md., tells Obama that he’s only as young as he feels:

“50 is very significant, it’s one half of 100! It’s not considered old anymore because people are living a lot longer now.  The DC area provides a lot of opportunities for the 50 club to mix and mingle with lots of other age groups and that helps to keep you young! I don’t feel any different than when I was 40.  If you continue with a healthy, active lifestyle (which most of us need to do more of), there’s no reason to fret about whatever age you are. This area has a lot of things to do and see.  Get out and take a look around.”

Photos: Congressional birthday cards; Obama’s political career

Obama’s faces: From baby to president

Complete coverage of Obama’s 50th birthday

By  |  04:11 PM ET, 08/04/2011

 
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