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I am 70 TODAY … hip-hip-hooray
Dear frayed and tainted diary,
Today is July 9th and this is my nineteen thousand two hundred and seventy-third entry to your hallowed pages. As my covert amigo, I have inscribed on your page's enigmas I have yet to share with anyone. In case you didn’t know today is the oldest birthday I have secured, and you will not believe the crap racing through my mind.
Foremost, seventy is a milestone far unlike previous birthdays where I had a readiness to reach; such as legal drinking age, emotionally prepare for my dreaded 40th, and believe it or not, chasing the date when I qualified for Social Security and early retirement. Those were birthdays that had a purpose, but seventy?
I rechecked past calendars and there is no reference for today. Nor do I recall ever thinking about it. It is as if I was mysteriously transported overnight from my sixties to seventy—obviously bypassing my ‘golden years’ euphoria.
Don’t get me wrong I am glad to be alive and recognize that billions of others have passed this plateau, and billions more will follow me. I also remember and honor the friends and family that sadly never touched attaining half my age.
Nonetheless, this birthday has been eerily unlike any other! I didn't wake up sensing I had changed from who I was yesterday. Nor was it the reflection of the old man staring back at me in the mirror. Today has been a day of reconciliation between who I think I am, and the truth. It is the first time I’ve acknowledged I am old, and the overwhelming fact is I will only get older. The roughest part is knowing there is nothing I can change.
Forget the psychological crap that “You’re as young as you feel” or “relish the Golden Years.” I am far from the active person I once was. Cataracts are preparing to bloom, I’m probably a candidate for a training bra, joints are inflamed and worn; internal circuitry is crumbling, skin and cartilage have succumbed to gravity, and memory loss is no longer a random occurrence.
In truth, for the first time, I feel vulnerable. At seventy, I have to accept that I am the old man in the picture, succeeding my father and grandfather who journeyed this path before me. I grasped how swiftly decades of my life have passed. Once and for all, I comprehended that there are fewer days ahead of me than the number in my past.
Nevertheless, I will strive to be optimistic as my mind and body prepare to follow the aging standard. Even so, I do not intend to mark my calendar for the next milestone birthday; having my one-hundred-year-old face pasted to a Smucker’s jelly jar.
Okay diary, that’s enough rambling for one thought-provoking night.
Goodnight old friend—please remember to keep a blank page open for me.
[ps:] As customary, don’t get hung up on my grammar mishaps, life is too short. What’s more important to me is that you remember the message.