Today is my 70th birthday and, although I wonder how I got to here, I am more than grateful that I am here.
Birthdays are a good time to take stock and. all things considered, I'm doing well.
Physically, things look good. My heart and lungs work fine. I can still eat whatever I want to without my digestive system giving off alarm bells. My bones and joints are stiff and my back is a bit wonky, but I can still move around pretty well. My back (which has been the bane of existence for so long) is cooperating with me more than it had for decades. I had a small bout with skin cancer a few years ago and a TIA a few years before that, but here's nothing threatening on the horizon. My blood pressure and cholesterol counts are very good. I am overweight and need to loss at least some of the excess poundage but I haven't been able to psych myself into doing so...perhaps this year, perhaps not.
I am blessed by being married to the most wonderful woman in the world. They say the initial chemical responses in a relationship wear out after a few years, but I still look at Kitty with the same eyes and feelings I did over fifty years ago. Being with her has made me a much better person. I don't like the younger me very much; he was stubborn, immature, and a bit sexist. I am far more comfortable with the person I am now and I owe the person I am now to Kitty. I've also been bless by two wonderful daughters and five fantastic grandchildren -- each one as different from the others as night and day and each gifting the world simply by being here.
I do have to get out more and meet new people. We haven't had much of a chance to socialize since we moved here a year ago. I have made good friends and met many people through this blog and I keep up with old friends on Facebook but physical interactions are always welcome.
Money has never mattered much to us because we've never had much of it. Our tastes are simple and we're careful how we spend what little we have. The move to Florida hit us hard financially and I really don't think we've been this broke in thirty years but, again, we manage and there will be better times ahead.
I am still in awe with this world and the beauty that surrounds us. (Well, except for spiders. Spiders are ugly, evil creatures who should be dispatched on sight with a flamethrower. Nasty spiders. Hate 'em. Kitty feels the same, except with moray eels.) The immensity of the universe amazes me and the very possibility of other universes and other dimensions bowls me over -- the mere fact that humanity continues to unlock those vast secrets humbles me.
I am thankful that I am still very childlike in that my brain is like a sponge, constantly seeking out new things. I read a lot. I listen a lot. I absorb a lot. All of which allows the me of today to be just a little bit smarter than the me of yesterday.
I still like to laugh.
I still cry. I'm an optimistic guy and despite some of the horrors happening in the world today I have hope for us. I believe mankind is basically good, no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary. I weep for the lost and the abused and the unloved and the thrown away and the increasingly larger group of have-nots and all of the pawns in the games of the powerful. I weep for our planet with its rising temperatures, its depleted oceans, its unclean air, its polluted water, and its endangered species. I strongly believe that we are supposed to be the stewards of the earth and that we are falling down on our job. But I also believe that we can be better -- can do better -- than this.
I love watching people, watching their faces and the way they walk. Each person is so different and so magnificent in his or her own way. This is a habit I picked up from my father and I am grateful to him.
My wife's late cousin Mark was a fantastic guy. Everybody loved him and he loved everybody with just one notable exception, Richard Nixon. Oh, he hated Nixon. Although I feel Nixon did have some redeeming qualities, I did understand where Mark was coming from. I, myself, can find a source of redemption in just about everyone with just two exceptions, Dick Chaney and Donald Trump. And I'm not happy with myself because I feel this way, but there you are.
Looking back, I see I've built up 70 years of snark. Not a bad thing really, just a way of acknowledging human foibles.
I am grateful to be living today. A century ago I probably would not have survived birth. Now I live in an age of marvels with the knowledge of the world at my fingertips, just a few clicks way. I expect another ten, fifteen years, or more before my warranty expires.
As I enter my 71st year, I am content.