I love a birthday


WhiteBirthdayCakeAs I woke her up this morning, my wife sang “Happy Birthday,” which was the perfect way to start my 75th celebration.

Next, we took a four-mile walk in Foster Park and visited with friends along the route. That included the mother of our lawn boy who recently left for his first year of college, at the University of Dayton.

Somebody – I forget who – seemed surprised when I confessed to my age. That person replied that I certainly don’t look my age. Maybe not and I take such an observation as a compliment.

The price I pay for not looking my age is push-ups – 75 today and sit-ups, 100. These are my basic early morning warm-ups, plus a long jog or long walk sped along by Nordic walking poles.

But there’s really no way of not growing older. A person can stay physically and mentally active and keep fit as possible. I avoid getting overweight by stepping on the scales every day. If my weight has edged up, I watch what I eat for the next day or so. Of course, today, since it’s my birthday, I’ll wolf down a nice dessert and not worry if tomorrow’s reading on the bathroom scales tells me I gained a pound or two.

Also, I try not to get too compulsive about my weight. Worrying about such things isn’t good for one’s health, either.

This afternoon, my wife and I attended Cinema Center to see a new film, “Unfinished Song.” It was about an older couple dealing with the wife’s terminal illness and the husband’s foul moods. By the end of the story, despite the wife’s death, the husband has recovered his sense of joy and made peace with his son. Most movingly, he sung a heart-rending solo before a large audience. That helped win a contest for the choir of oldsters who backed him up.

At dinner my son asked me what other birthday was my fondest memory. The first thing that came to mind was my sixth birthday. We played pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. And the gift I got from one of the kids – I think a neighbor – was a box of Lincoln Logs. It was my favorite that year.

My granddaughters kept the conversation light by teasing me about my pronunciation of a French phrases. So relaxed, it was hard to resist the temptation to eat even more of the dishes and dessert my wife had prepared.

A birthday is a time for a person to take stock of his life. For me at 75 now, it’s a time to consider ways to enjoy each day more. And I will decide what new adventures I’d like to undertake in the next few years.

I confess though I’m preoccupied with planning for our upcoming trip to France, one country neither my wife nor I has visited. Such trips can open doors to seeing a person’s life and others in a new light. Mark Twain noted that travel is a killer to prejudice. Well, it often is.

I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve enjoyed yet another birthday. For me, it’s not been so much a time to look back. Rather, it’s a time to look ahead, to make the best of each new year, each new day. And I get to write the next chapter.

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