Sunday, January 27, 2013

My Birthday

Today is my birthday so I am taking a day off from blogging about history, politics and all those important, yet unimportant, things I normally go on about. 

This particular birthday is a rather significant one because of the number that keeps coming up when I subtract the year of my birth from this year. Somehow I feel certain I must be doing it wrong because the number is ridiculously high. I mean, it just can not be that I have survived that many years.

Of course, this is an annual moment of celebration which increasingly has the shading of a moment of despair. In an effort to avoid admitting the truth to myself I stopped having “birthdays” quite some time ago. Instead I used to say it was the “X” anniversary of my 27th birthday. I stopped doing that when even those numbers became a little depressing. -For those of you dying to know, this is the 35th anniversary of my 27th birthday –you do the math if you must.

Birthdays are usually a kind of fun time. Everyone slaps you on the back and smiles and says “Happy Birthday”. You get cards and congratulations in the mail and via email, all generally meant to convey best wishes and confirm friendships –and they mostly do just that. But birthdays are also a time when we often take stock of our age, which makes us face our aging. In my case I truthfully do not think of myself as a “senior citizen”, or even as particularly old for that matter. I stopped aging mentally sometime in my 30’s and still think and feel as I did then. Some of my friends would be quick to say that I stopped maturing long before that –and they may be right.

Although I now spend more time with various doctors in a month then I did the entire first 40 years of my life, and I take more pills a day then my mother could get into me while I was growing up, somehow I just don’t feel the way I expect older people to feel. I think what it boils down to is that I refuse to surrender to the pre-conceived concepts our society puts on aging. I just refuse to think that there is anything I can’t do now that I could have done 30 years ago (of course it may take longer, not get done as well, and I may pay for it more afterwards).
For example, I love the ocean and I love swimming. I also go to Hawaii as often as I can (another of my loves) and I spend a lot of time on the beach there (I have a couple of secret ones on Oahu that are beautiful and not crowed with tourists). While sitting on those beaches I spent years wishing I had learned to surf and wind surf. One day I was watching a guy wind surfing and I thought, what the hell? Why not? The next day I got an instructor and many long hours later I found myself out in the Pacific Ocean looking back at the beach with the wind driving me along. It was great fun. It was also my 52nd birthday.

Now, the rest of the story is not pretty. The next day of my “vacation” I was sun burned and every muscle in my body was screaming for some Ben Gay….. And I have never even considered doing it again. Now I just sit on the beach and watch them flying by having fun and  I say to myself “I could if I wanted too.”

Well, all that be as it may, I guess the important thing is to celebrate beating the odds for a while and to know I feel good enough to keep it up for a while longer. After all, I always tell people there is absolutely nothing average or normal about me…. (no cracks here either, please).
By-the-way, have you ever noticed how crazy we humans are about our age? When you are very young, you like people thinking you are a little older. We go so far as to say we are 5 and a half or 8 and three quarters or nearly 13... Then you get into your mid to late 20's and suddenly you want people to think you are younger. And finally, if you are lucky enough to make it that far, at some point you start bragging about your age (As in: "Is she 90? wow she looks great for that age...."). Hey, I guess if I manage to get there, I'll brag a little too.

Today I am going to cook my favorite dinner (Porterhouse Steak, Peas and a Baked Potatoe) and watch a movie and spend a nice quiet evening with my dog (and some good Whalers Rum).

Live Long and Prosper……….

1 comment:

Ted Leddy said...

Happy birthday Gary.

Hope you enjoyed the day and it was full of self indulgence