I’ll be 70 tomorrow.
Don’t send me birthday wishes. I know you wish me well.
I admit I have a hard time seeing me as 70. Wait a second – 16 was yesterday.
And it seems like – in many ways – I’m just getting started.
But I know the runway is getting very short for me.
I like to play with golf with strangers. The pro’s here hook me up with a threesome who has an opening for a fourth. When they introduce me before the round, I often think “Look at that old bas**rd.” Then – we ride and talk around the course – and it turns out the “old bas**rd” is younger than I am!!
Other than having endless aches that come and go – a different one every day – I don’t feel 70. My mind thinks I’m still in high school. My body tells me I’m not.
While I’m in-and-out of doctors offices and hospitals a lot, I don’t have anything I know of that’s going to kill me imminently.
I’ve outlived many of my friends, I don’t know why I’m still alive. I should’ve been dead long ago. [You don’t want to know.] But, for some reason, whoever is upstairs decided to keep me around.
And I’m very glad to be here.
I haven’t really changed that much since I was a kid growing up in Westport. I still expect the best from people [and am all too frequently disappointed.] I cherish my friends, love to play sports, and take great joy in the success of others. LIttle kids – anyone’s little kids – make me smile. And I still like old people. Their wisdom and strength in the face of old age impresses me no end.
It’s true I have my share of regrets. I’m sorry I wasted precious time along the way. I’m sorry I kept some people in my life far longer than I should have. I’m sorry I was never able to sustain a decent marriage. I’m sorry I let some people disappoint me for a second time when the first was more than enough.
I’m sorry I can’t play the piano. And I’m sorry I can’t draw a portrait. But I’m working on both.
I’m sorry that when my time comes I won’t be leaving any kind of post-mortem greatness. It will be a quiet goodbye. But I do hope I survive in the memories of friends.
I know I spend probably too much time thinking of those who were part of my life, and who are now gone. I miss a lot of friends. I miss my parents. My Aunts and Uncles. I of course miss my Evan, and I even miss my brother Nicholas. They were all important to me and I loved them in my simplistic, self-absorbed way.
The future looms. I’m fading. I know. I can’t remember too well. Each morning I wake up and put my eyes on and my ears in. I once could memorize 100 pages of 18 columns of numbers no problem. I once could read “The New York Times” and – without advance notice – recite back on request pretty much every article on every page on every column. For years, I took the Time Magazine annual quiz of events and scored 100.
At lot of phonies, manipulators, con artists, flying monkeys, hypocrites, and just plain mean, nasty people have come in-and-out of my life.
Too many were closest to me. The tide went out on them and I got to see they were swimming naked.
Fortunately, many more kind, decent, gentle, human beings who continue to amaze me and warm my little heart have also come along and more than compensated for the baddies. They are the people I look back on and smile. They enhanced my life. Without them, the bad guy’s would’ve won.
In ways I’m grateful for the bad guys. They’ve taught me how to spot them early so I can shuffle away before they do too much damage.
I’ve watched and listened to the pontificators, and I lived long enough to see how wrong they often are.
I run out of energy quickly. Have about three good hours every morning. If I would allow myself, I’d fall asleep in my chair every afternoon. That said, there’s never enough time in the day for me. The days fly by, and I’m pissed when they’re over. I never did, and still don’t, want to go to bed. There’s so much more I want to do.
I’m hoping my health holds out for at least another 10 years [but I might need a little help on the mental side.]
I know where I’m headed.
But I’m planning on making my 70’s the best years of my life. Despite all of my decaying, I still feel very alive and engaged. I enjoy watching ‘the younguns’ immensely as they struggle with the same things I once struggled with. If they only knew ...
I don’t see getting old as a depressing decline of mental and physical capacities. [Although I guess it’s part.] I see my age as giving me perspective, as freedom from nonsense of all kinds, and a time to do whatever I want. I’m in no hurry. Not stressed by unnecessary ridiculous drama. I’ll leave the drama outside the gates.
I see my 70’s as the time to savor life. To relish all the great things I’ve seen, experienced, and still have – my health, my daughter, my many great friends, my home, my freedom, and so on.
So tomorrow’s not going to be a bummer day for me. I’m looking forward to being 70.