Birthday Essay

Today I am supposed to celebrate surviving three years into my seventh decade. I am glad to be alive. But such luck is a banal accomplishment, since each day when I wake up not dead (yet), I know I did nothing to deserve the pleasure of such a long and mostly good life. I may have stopped smoking 20 years ago, but I didn’t for the 30 before that. I spent thousands of hours throwing my body along faster than any bird can fly. I never crashed. Many did. I was lucky.

Today I meet the threshold of my end times. Will I survive one more year like my father? Four more like Mom? Less, like my sister, cousin, grandfathers, or grandmums? Today I will stop counting up and start counting down. Ten more? Twenty? And my health? Status quo would be a wonderful thing – but it will get worse – it’s a reality everyone dislikes (including me).

Ten years ago, I ran 20 miles of 26.2-mile marathons (walked the other six). Five years ago, I walked briskly for 13 miles on Saturday mornings until one day my body said, we need to rest. I sat on a bench and I wondered what it was – it was my now well-stented heart.

Nowadays, because low blood flow reduces needed oxygen and other stuff in blood from my leg muscles, I manage a quarter mile without a bench or a tree trunk or wall to sit on. A two and a half to three-mile walk is a big day, and I find tired and sore invades me as my body recovers.

It’s morning. I’m here and you are too. Now what? Wanna go for a walk?

Look both ways with contemplative wonder for life and its privileges.
Mind the gaps but live in the moment.

15 thoughts on “Birthday Essay

  1. I’d certainly take you up on that walk. We have a windy river-trail hike here that is phenomenal. All downhill too. With the stents you’re likely to outlive your pop by ten. Happy birthday Bill

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  2. Happy birthday, Bill🎉 A walk sounds wonderful. I believe daily exercise has many health benefits. Thanks to modern medicine, I think you have many years ahead of you. Enjoy your day 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy Birthday 🙂 I’m glad you’re a Leo, even if you don’t believe in your own Leo-ness. Also glad your heart is well-stented. You are likely to live longer than your own parents, because modern medicine is amazing. My Papa says the same stuff as he approaches 80. He started at 70 “I never thought I’d live this long” and stuff like that. He’s in excellent health.
    Personally, I like the two-to-three mile walks. It’s good exercise, but I can still do other things after and I wake up tight the next day, not struggling to climb steps 😉 I have a ten-year-old dog who likes the same distance and pace, so it’s nice we have one another.
    I don’t know how it feels to get where you are, but I’ll say I’m glad you’re still writing here.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Leo indeed. And I like lions. It’s hard to believe, but we do not feel at all old. I could slip into a 40 year old bod and be fine. Thanks for the good wishes.


  4. My father has made it to 80 and is entirely bemused by the fact. He smoked for most of his life, only in the last 10 years or so stopping. He was a farmer and breathed in about every horrible insecticide and herbicide. And he also worked as a mechanic. He was sure he’d be dead before his 70s. Of course, his mom lived into her 90s.

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  5. So what did ya get for yore birthday? A Green Lantern? Three Nights and Two Days in The Bat Cave. Wonder Woman?

    Or some spiffy electronic tablet device that stores thousands of books, movies, and the Rock and Roll, and all instantly available, a well as being a text, audio, and video utility that affords a PDQ communication with damn near anyone on the planet.

    We did it Bill, we’re the before and after generation of the Information Age. From Crystal Radio Sets to Quantum Computing. From the last Saturday Morning Picture Show serial to Netflix. From IBM to OMG, where all soon to be free, but we sure as hell saw a lot of stuff.

    Enjoy every minute of it Bill. Happy Birthday.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Doug. Middle lad dropped off one of those robot vacuum cleaners that finds its own way through the house at the press of button then knows the way back to the docking station. Didn’t the Jetsons have one of those things? Good grief. I wrote something this morning with pencil and paper. Good grief! How old-fashioned am I?

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