Yes, today is my birthday. Normally I approach the day with a ho hum attitude. It’s no big deal. It’s just another day.
And it is. I’m not sharing the “news” for affirmation, but because this year’s celebration is a little more special than most, and since I have been in a retrospective mood as the days counted down, I thought it would be appropriate to reflect on my life.
There haven’t been many milestone birthdays. My 17th was important because it was I got my driver’s license, freedom and love for the open road. My 18th was important because it meant I could be the designated beer buyer in neighboring New York while attending school. My 21st was a watershed year because I became eligible to vote and officially became an adult, a status I enjoyed until my 60s when I became a senior. This year, I graduated to old … seven decades under my belt on this piece of rock.
That’s old like in a long time, not in decrepit or feeble. Just old.
I remember as I rewrote obituaries for the paper noting too many people were dying too young. When I reached my 60s, those people were my peers — including my wife. If I noticed someone in their 70s or 80s or beyond I looked at them as survivors and celebrated their long life. As of 5:19 this morning I became one of them.
No period held more significance to me than any other … although adulting isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. As I look back, I can honestly say I savored every breath I’ve been given … the good times, the bad times, the mountaintops and the valleys. I know it sounds hokey, but I knew I had a Sidekick with me all the way and He used people in my life to keep me grounded and focused. Of course, my wife was one who spent 40-plus years tempering my idealism with reality. Sonni was another who helped me heal after Karen’s death.
Maybe that’s why #70 is so significant. There is no one prodding me, pushing me, forcing me to move forward. Family and friends try but I spent a lifetime prodding, pushing, forcing them to be independent and flourish.
It’s ironic, if I had to chose an anthem for my life it would be My Way ... I’ve lived a life that’s full … I’ve traveled each and every highway … But more, much more than this … I did it my way … Regrets, I’ve had a few … But then again, too few to mention … I did what I had to do … And saw it through without exemption …
Of course it helps when my way typically is in line with His way. And I have been blessed. I was privileged enough to get a good foundation that led to education and a fulfilling career and repressed enough to value hard work and struggle.
Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew … When I bit off more than I could chew … But through it all, when there was doubt … I ate it up and spit it out … I faced it all and I stood tall … And did it my way … I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried … I’ve had my fill my share of losing … To think I did all that … I did it my way …
I don’t know how many ticks are left in the ticker — no one does. But I know as I move forward into this next season I will approach it with the same abandon — some would say reckless abandon — as the previous seasons. Despite the creaking bones and generally slowing down, I’m still looking forward to road trips, football games, visits with family and friends, new adventures. And when the time comes, I’ll meet my Sidekick. We’ll look at each other and say, We did it Our way.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: God might not always get us out of a situation but He will get us through.