(To my friend, "Your Name Here")
My birthday isn't until tomorrow, but I'm choosing to celebrate it tonight.
When I was a kid, I considered the year 2000 and thought, wow, I'll be forty-five! Essentially on my death bed! The good news is, it's 2018 and I'm still kickin'. And I know now that forty-five is nothing. When I was forty-five, gravity was still averted. You know that picture you run across from 1945 in the ragged family photo album and you think, really? That's my mom? Turns out that, yes, we all were young and dewy-skinned once. I don't look like myself anymore, but I'm so used to my countenance in the morning mirror that I don't give it a second thought. It's only when I (accidentally) see a photograph of myself that I realize some grievous calamity has apparently occurred.
I've given up on regaining my lost figure. It just doesn't work anymore. I'm not going to become one of those delusional fitness fanatics. I've never exercised more than ten days in my life and I'm not about to start now. Plus, I deserve to eat.
The thing about turning 63 is that I spend more time looking back than forward. I mostly choose to remember the good things. It's not that I've forgotten the bad. I can conjure up those memories in a snap if I choose to, but when I do, I tend to view them philosophically, like a neutral bystander. Humans do the best they can do with what they have. I don't hold it against my parents for what they did. They didn't damage me on purpose.
Today I received some birthday wishes from my co-workers. My best work friend Barb brought me a single-serve DQ cake. It was awesome. The cake had a cobalt-blue plastic butterfly ring atop it and I slipped it on my finger and wore it throughout the day. Everyone I encountered chose to ignore the humongous butterfly encircling my finger; sure (no doubt) that I'd made an unfortunate fashion choice. That made me giggle. A boy (really) that I trained four years ago asked me about my birthday plans and we got to talking about retirement. I told him that 2020 is the year. He said, "It won't be any fun here without you." I didn't realize I was still "fun". I used to be fun back in 1997, when I commanded a department at Aetna (US Healthcare), but I essentially just feel tired now and don't have the energy to be engaging. How lame must everyone else be, that I am regarded as the "fun" one?
I blame (or credit) Sirius Radio with my current state of look-back. Every single song I click on evokes memories. I hover between classic country and sixties and seventies rock; and sometimes fifties rockabilly. Some of the songs make me cry, for reasons only known to me. My best friend died in 2000 (when she was only forty-five). The songs we shared together are bittersweet. I almost feel embarrassed to still love those songs, because Alice is gone and she and I can't share them.
When I hear John Lennon's voice, my heart breaks a little. John was my education in "real" music, beginning when I was nine years old or so.
I don't "sum up" when it comes to music. Songs are quicksilver. Songs are not dissectable, like some scientific experiment. Anyone who slices and dices music is not a music lover. I love a song by the Honeycombs and one by Tommy James, and one by Steve Wariner and "God Bless The USA" by Lee Greenwood just because. I like Boston and Gene Pitney and Bobby Bare and Dobie Gray. Nobody needs to know why.
Happy Birthday to me.
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