PaperBackSwap Blog


A Word From The Founder – The View From Here

I knew that this fateful day was coming.  I’ve been “almost 50” for several years now.  Truthfully, I have been somewhat dreading it.  I kept looking up at the top of the hill, knowing that one day I would be over it, plodding on into unfamiliar territory.  And now that day is here.

So now I’m supposed to be over this hill?  If I had to sum up my life in a word, “climbing” is as good a description as any for what I’ve been doing for the past half-century.  While I stressed over this milestone for several years, it doesn’t seem so daunting now that I’m here.  In fact, I see now that there’s plenty of climbing left to do and that there are many other peaks ahead of me.  I’m tempted to ask, “So, what’s the big deal here?”  This 50 thing is not as bad as I had always contemplated.  I feel the same as I did yesterday.  I am as active as I was yesterday, and I still have the same responsibilities.  The world hasn’t stopped just because I added another candle to the cake.

Then I pause, spin around, and look back to admire the view.

I’m surprised to see how much ground I’ve covered.  The view up here is actually quite nice.  I can see river rapids, forded years ago, that seemed insurmountable at the time.  Of course this journey had some obstacles, but now I chuckle over the amount of time that I spent worrying about them beforehand. If only things were as clear looking forward as they are looking back.

Over the road I’ve taken, I can see a lot of foolish mistakes, satisfying triumphs, and seemingly insignificant decisions that completely altered my course. Though stretches were certainly bumpy and some not so happy, it hasn’t all been an uphill battle. Along this path I helped bring two wonderful children into this world, and hopefully gave them the right tools to make their journeys easier than mine. I have shared a lot of special moments with people that I love. I’ve made friends that have become like family, and I’m thankful to have met so many who have had a positive impact on my life.

My time has largely been spent learning, every misstep an opportunity for growth. I’ve achieved a number of goals while missing out on others.  In either case, I have learned to be more patient, and I’ve become a little gentler and kinder in my approach to life’s challenges.

It seems like it was only a few steps back that I started a website based on the assumption that I wasn’t the only avid reader with shelves full of books and a love of reading to spare.  I had no idea that so many thousands would share this passion and desire to make a difference in others’ lives by passing along a book, CD, or DVD that was no longer needed. It’s indescribably rewarding to share in the joy of embracing a great book, favorite song, or inspiring film that truly touches your heart.  Needless to say, while difficult at times, it has certainly been worth the effort.

The Richard who began this trek would probably hardly recognize this Richard at 50. He’s a little rougher for wear, sounds a lot like his father, and smiles with a few more wrinkles furrowed beneath a lot less hair.  All in all though, I’m the same starry-eyed kid who embarked on this path long ago.  And I find myself still hiking uphill, only now with a little more experience and wisdom in tow.  My head may still be in the clouds, but my feet are on an incline, and I’m not heading downhill anytime soon.


Published After 50

For some, life is just beginning after their 50th birthday. Each of these books was published after the author had turned the big five-oh, and they’re all available for swapping on the site!

Robinson Crusoe
Author: Daniel Defoe
Published at age 59

Watership Down
Author: Richard Adams
Published at age 52

The Camomile Lawn
Author: Mary Wesley
Published at age 71

Little House in the Big Woods
Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder
Published at age 65

Black Beauty
Author: Anna Sewell
Published at age 57

The Trumpet of the Swan
Author: E. B. White
Published at age 70

Fountain of Age
Author: Betty Friedan
Published at age 72

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31 Responses to “A Word From The Founder – The View From Here”

  1. Jocelyn W. (JPWolfe) , says:

    Richard,
    Very inspiring words for somebody that isn’t too far behind you on that hill. I wish you the very happiest of birthdays and the continued love and support of all those that surround you. Thank you for enriching my life with the wonderful world of PBS.

    As they say here in Italy~~Buon Compleanno!!!

    Jocelyn

  2. orrielynn says:

    Yom Huledet Same’ach
    (happy bday in Hebrew)

    and thank you for the site.

  3. Cozette M. (CozSnShine) says:

    The best is yet to come! I LIKE the idea of going downhill! Downhill is easier than uphill. Downhill takes less effort and energy. You might find things in the valley that aren’t available on top of the mountain. Downhill is where the flowers and peaceful streams flow.

    Thank you for sharing your dream with those of us who love books so much! Uphill or down, you’re tops in my book!

    Happy Birthday and may you have many more.

  4. Robin K. (jubead) says:

    Happy Birthday to a fellow Aquarian. Just remember that 50 is the new 40. You have done more than most in your first 50 years. Thank you for PBS, which is not only for a place to discover new author’s and genre, but a place where I have found new friends.

    So now you have turned the corner, what are your plans for the next 50?

    -Robin

  5. Barbara (femmefan) says:

    Congratulations on the milestone! The view gets better as you proceed, too, and seems to become clearer as the unimportant stuff fades away.

    Thanks so much for PBS, its opportunities to meet good people and good books. And best wishes on your 50th, with many more happy birthdays to come.

  6. Pat L. (PitterPat) says:

    Happpy Birthday!

  7. Sharon says:

    Don’t forget Harry Bernstein…he published his first book (The Invisible Wall) at the age of 97!

  8. Rachel P. (Retrogram) , says:

    Happy Birthday, Richard.
    Hope you have a wonderful day and a big cake!!
    Looking forward to meeting you on the cruise and thank you for the site and all the special people I have met thru PBS.

  9. Elizabeth R. (esjro) Stockton, NJ says:

    Happy Birthday, Richard!

  10. Joy L. (vintagejoy) says:

    Happy Birthday, Richard!! As someone who passed that mark a little bit ago- welcome!! I sure didn’t feel any different the year I turned 50 – or the year after, or the year after………..

  11. Shellie F. (aylamonster) , says:

    Happy Birthday and many blessings in the coming year! I’m not far behind you and definately appreciate PBS because I share your love of books and have overflowing shelves. :O) If you ever make it to the DFW area, please let us know so the N TX chapter can meet you!

  12. Rhonda (pinkcypress) says:

    Happy Birthday, Richard! I’m glad to hear that 50 isn’t so scary, since I’m knocking on its door myself! I obviously love it here, and am so grateful to you for giving us this place to hang, share books, etc. 🙂

  13. Valerie R. (VLR) says:

    Happy Birthday Richard!
    Thank you for starting paperbackswap.com and for all you do to maintain it. It is a wonderful site. I enjoyed seeing some of the titles of books published after the authors turned 50.
    I hope you’ve had a fun birthday with a lot more fun to come.

  14. Kathy W. (Nellie) says:

    Happy Birthday Richard…50 turned out to be the best year of my life. I met Mr. Wonderful, future hubby, that year…Its a year full of surprises!

  15. Anna B. (classicana) says:

    Many happy returns on your 50th birthday, Richard. Remember that you get to celebrate a day for each decade!
    50 years – it was a long-anticipated landmark for me – I retired that year and went from an interesting job to a marvelous career! Nothing beats retirement!

    I’m another February birthday celebrant, but I have 2 decades on you! I hope the next 20 years are as wonderful for you as the past 20 have been for me.

    Wishing you an abundance of good health and joyful living!

  16. katzpawz says:

    Happy Upcoming Decade Richard!!!! Don’t forget – Helen Hooven Santmyer published AND THE LADIES OF THE CLUB when she was 87!!!!!!! The best is yet to come.

  17. Maria H. (SassenachD) says:

    Happy Birthday Richard! You Rock!

  18. Richard (Founder-PBS) Suwanee, GA says:

    Thank you all for your kind words and nice comments. It means a lot to me and I really appreciate all of you taking the time to leave your words of encouragement. I hope that all of you find your birthdays to be filled with hope, love and thankfulness for the lives that we live.

  19. Amanda S. (ABCatHome) says:

    Happy Birthday Richard! Birthdays are a time to celebrate, regardless of which birthday it is! 50 is NOT old at all and only gives you a reason to celebrate even more than the average 30-year-old. LOL You’ve earned the additional celebration. And since you’re “over that hill” just think at how it is all DOWNhill from here and should be smooth sailing.

  20. C. K. says:

    Happy Birthdays and welcome to the 50’s. Personally, I am loving my 50’s.

  21. Denise L. (bunly) says:

    Happy 50th Richard…..and here’s to many, many more. CHEERS!

  22. Denise H. (Lazeeladee) says:

    Hope you had a wonderful birthday, Richard! (This is the first blog post I’ve ever made, can you believe that??)

    Thank you for using many of those precious days God gave you to bring so much joy into the lives of all of us here on PBS. I think of it as an extended family and I know for a fact that so very many others feel the same way. It’s a place we can make new friends, share our joys, our tears and above all connect with each other though our mutual love of books.

    Like many others, I’ve tried out other sites, mostly when I first joined PBS. It didn’t take long for the others to all drop by the wayside, because they can’t begin to come close to what PBS has to offer. Our site has the absolute BEST of everything, and the people here have the biggest, kindest hearts you could ever hope to find.

    I thank you from the bottom of my heart for making this place possible and for all the hard work you put into this. May your next 50 years be even better than the first 50!!!

  23. Lori B. says:

    Belated Birthday Wishes, Richard!
    A brand new fresh decade of fun awaits you; it’ll be great!
    To all of us just this side of fifty, your words sure ring true.
    Having been obsessed by the book swap part of the site, this is just the first time I’ve clicked on “blog”. Perhaps I haven’t even scratched the surface of the potential for enjoyment in your world. I am trying to be a good citizen! It’s hard to believe that it’s just one guy and some dedicated book lovers that have made this all possible. Thank you very, very much. All the best for 2011!
    Sincerely, Lori

  24. Diane W. says:

    Happy belated birthday, Richard! I have been away from the site for awhile now and if I had only known that we share a birthday, I would have hurried right on over to send good wishes your way on “our day”!
    Like other posters, this is my first time reading the blog and like another poster, I have two decades on you…but what does it matter what our age is….we are all the same in that we love books (yes, I have waaaay too many, however I love each and every one of them)!
    I do not remember how I found PBS but I have to tell you that it has brought me much joy when I head to the mailbox to find a wonderful package filled with a story that will transport me to another place or time!
    I began another love affair with the SwapaDVD site a couple of months ago , as well. Oh…how wonderful that site is!…..and how wonderful you are for bringing these sites to us!!
    Again, I hope you had a wonderful birthday and I will always think of you when “our” birthdays arrive!
    P.S….you have a tremendous way with words…perhaps YOU need to write a book! Diane

  25. Eileen says:

    Richard, you are extraordinary. We all want to make a difference in our lives and you have done so magnificently. Look at all the lives you touch every single day with PBS. I’m so glad you’re here. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!
    P.S. I am nearly 64 and still feel vibrant and fabulous!!

  26. Casey says:

    Ah, Richard, your birthday is the same day as my husband’s! But he’s a decade ahead of you. His
    Mom used to say, “getting old is better than the alternative”. Feb 12 you were 49, Feb 13 you are 50….
    and only if you’re a banana does 1 day make a difference! Belated Happy Birthday from Jasper, GA.

  27. Cathy Yorio says:

    Richard,

    First, Happy Belated Birthday. Second, it’s wonderful that you’re healthy and have accomplished so much in your life. Third, 50 is just a number as is 60, 70 or 80. I am approaching 60 and I couldn’t be happier about it because 30 plus years ago I wasn’t sure I would be around to celebrate 60. Celebrate your wonderful life and look forward to all that is still to come.

  28. Anne J. (penwoman) says:

    Am so excited- I have a milestone too. My new thriller, Tides of Fear is available through http://www.tigerironpress.com
    (St. Simons Island becomes a scene of panic as bodies wash up on shore. A serial killer lures tourists as easily as he eludes discovery.) Thanks for the opportunity to post this.

  29. Happy Birthday Richard! I enjoyed your personal musing immensely! You do have a way with words. As one who has reached the top and is sometimes slipping downhill, I wish I had expressed my introspective view of my life so poetically. Thank you for the fine gift of your writing.

  30. Kelly W. (kww) says:

    Happy belated Birthday, Richard! As a 16 year cancer survivor, I say every day above ground is a good day 🙂 Age is just a number. I’ll be 60 this year and when I think back to how all of our parents were at that age, I think we are much “younger” and cooler.

    The only thing I’ve quit doing is referring to myself as “middle-aged”. I doubt I’ll live to be 120 !

    You definitely need to write a book. “How I Founded PaperbackSwap and Made Millions of Readers Happy”. We won’t post it here, we’ll all BUY it from Amazon.

  31. Richard, happy birthday. I wrote my book “Hazardous To My Health – The Marlboro Man I Knew” At the ripe old age of 63. It took many decades to finally come to terms with what I and my two small children were exposed to. God’s grace has seen all of us through some very trying times. I know that it all happened to us for God’s will. I don’t really understand why it happened, but that is where my faith comes into play. We have a facebook page, Hazardous to my health and also a web-site one can go to. It’s http://www.hazardoustomyhealth.com and also if one would google Marcia N Hill, the 4 and 5 star reviews comes up. again, age does not play a part in expressing ones self. God says: DO WHAT I SAY, THEN SEE WHAT I DO!!!
    Aloha and many Mahalo’s
    Marcia N Hill

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