Another Trip Around the Sun

I was a little young to remember, but I have been told at 5:19 a.m. on a sultry August morning 73 years ago in Paterson, NJ, I entered the world. The family always said after receiving a few swats on the behind, I was peacefully back asleep by the time I was placed on my mom’s chest. Some things never change. I can still fall asleep at the drop of a hat.

I don’t usually make  big deal about my birthday. Except for the early years when there were parties and presents, the day marked just another trip around the sun. But I did come up with some fascinating facts. On this between milestones day, I have lived in eight decades, and survived 26,664 days, roughly 639,944 hours, and 38,396,640 minutes — give or take a few depending on when you read this. And I have enjoyed just about every one of them.

During that span, there are a host of firsts etched into my memory. I remember growing up on the streets of Paterson, moving to nearby Totowa, my First Communion, the day I personally met Jesus at my Confirmation, my first crush, my first job, my first date, my first heartbreak, meeting my future wife for the first time, my first real job, my courtship {most of it}, my wedding, our first apartment, my first born {with four more to follow}, our first home, welcoming my first grandchild {with 17 to follow}, welcoming my first great-granddaughter {with three more  to follow}. I have a special place in my heart for the schools I attended and the special friends who have crossed my path while criss-crossing the country living and working in seven different states. In addition to the obvious technological advances in general during my lifetime, I am proud to have been on the ground floor of emerging newspaper electronic technology of the time — pagination, laptop advances, remote transmission, remote printing. I was blessed with a 50-plus career doing what I love — writing, meeting new and exciting personalities, following careers, sharing my corner of the rock with others. After formal retirement, I was blessed to be able to continue writing — blog, novella, novels, short stories — and open up connections literally around the world. I was empowered to share my stories, especially my faith story or, at the very least, how my faith influenced my story. In addition to my written words, I was also given the opportunity to cross over to the slanty side of the pulpit and preach the words I live.

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 Karen was one who spent 40-plus years tempering my idealism with reality. Sonni was another who helped me heal after Karen’s death.

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 yet 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 in this season I will continue to approach it with the same abandon — some would say reckless abandon — as previous seasons. Despite the creaking bones, less than smooth gait, and general slowing down, I 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: Never, never, never give up.

About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
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8 Responses to Another Trip Around the Sun

  1. Ruthie says:

    Happy Birthday!!!!!


  2. Bruce says:

    Well. Happy Birthday Joe. I was born in Paterson also. At St. Joseph’s Hospital, on October 30 at 10;25 PM. Another hour and thirty five minutes, I would have been a Halloween baby. Trick or Treat.

    Y’all have a Happy Birthday Joe.


  3. TamrahJo says:

    Happy Birthday!! I recently celebrated mine and replied to some well-wishers how old I was using the ‘score’ and years version (i.e. Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address – – – ) It’s amazing to me how many people didn’t know what a ‘score’ was… :).
    In the end, though, I tend to wax and wane, given my own ‘fun’ version of how to count b-days – – i.e. Hit 25 (insurance rates go down if you’ve kept your nose and driving record clean…), move forward to 40 (the prime of wisdom, career, experience, etc. kids maybe raised and off on their own adventures…) and then start counting backwards each year, until you reach 25 (vote, insurance $ benefits) and then start moving forward again – – LOL
    In the end, it’s just a number….for me, the ‘benefits’ are counted more in the amount of Life packed into one year, one score, than in the label, candle on a cake (how big of a cake does one need for 4 score’s worth of candles? :D), etc.


  4. Mary McClenathan says:


    Don’t always get to read my emails every day, but I do read and enjoy yours. Hope you had a wonderful day. Love-Happiness-Peace Mary McClenathan Seneca Falls

    Sent from my iPad



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