I will turn 53 in just a few days. But I don't expect any kind of grand celebration. My opinion is that we should not expect anyone to make a big fuss about our birthdays after turning 18-except maybe those milestone birthdays that mark eras in our lives.
Only a scant few will mark the ominous event, made so by the fact that it was the first in a series of birthdays that have stretched out over the decades. But beyond that, it is significant to me only because it's surprising I ever made it this far, considering all of the stupid stuff I have done in those 50+ years. Living should have finished me off long ago!
Unlike Old Blue Eyes (that's Frank Sinatra to all of you young pups out there), I am also haunted by literally tons of regret for "doing it my way".....which, more often than not, was the wrong way! But now with the perspective of over 5 decades behind me, I can track how I got to where I am.
And it is not always pretty! But I again take frank as my inspiration for bringing meaning to those years. Feel free to sing along here!
"When I was 10 years old, it was a very bad year
I was a fat kid then, with flat-top hair and a goofy grin
Couldn't climb the rope
Finally gave up hope
When I turned 10"
"When I turned 17, it was a much better year
I drank 3.2 beer and grew my hair, annoyed my folks
Drove around in Jeeps
Hung out with the geeks
When I was 17."
"When I was 24, it was a pretty good year
I finished college and found a real girlfriend
Didn't have to pretend!
Took to the road, Jack
And never looked back
When I was 24."
"When I was 35, it was an alright year
I was slogging along in low-wage jobs, no money in the bank
I barely succeeded
A new career was needed
When I was 35."
Enough frivolity. I missed a big chunk there. No huge loss. I have forgotten most of it anyway. (not really, but I tell myself that anyway). However, I do seem to recall a wife and kids in there somewwhere!
Now, By Franks estimation, I am apparently in the "autumn" of my life, which he equates to a vintage wine from fine old kegs. Mine?
Not so much. Maybe more like wine from a box! I always though my dad was old, when I was in my teens and totally absorbed with my life. But he surprised us all by continuing to live well into his late 70's now, despite his many ailments.
It would be easy enough to be woeful and regard my life as waning. But I try to remember that I too could frustrate my antagonists and make it to 70, 80, 90, or even beyond! So I still have many years to spend well or squander. I can dream and plan, but now that I have reached this age, the one thing I know for sure is to always expect the unexpected. I also know that, while I do not know everything, what I do know, I know well and deeply. I have no need or desire to inflate my resume or my skills. I have also learned (hopefully!) to roll with the punches and get up every day with optimism for the adventures that day will bring.
I will continue to do things my way, probably. After all, who else can say that they can make the gods fall down and roll with laughter whenever they watch this crazy world?