Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A milestone or a millstone birthday?

On Turning 65.....some reflections.

It has been along time coming, but I am now officially a Medicare recipient. That happens on the first day of the month when you turn 65.
I actually attained that milestone yesterday. It has been quite a ride so far, and I'm.struggling to remain in the saddle, even if the ride is getting a little bumpier.
Along the way, I have been extremely fortunate, and extremelyunfortunate as well. There have been good times and bad, and lots of in between.
I have survived cancer (melanoma). I had an emergency appendectomy at 63, and I am still going strong, able to not only sit up and take nourishment, but healthy enough to walk fast, if not run, still dance ( a little slower)., exercise, travel, read, write, smile at life, sip a little wine, and laugh loudly at the ridiculousness of much of it.
I have also been unfortunate. I lost my wife, my best friend and love of my life in her early fifties. That leaves a huge hole in your heart that you can never really close . You just cover it, and try to move on. But it's always there. We were fortunate to have had four wonderful daughters who continue her quest and embody her spirit. For that. I am most grateful.
Balancing between happiness and heartache is always a challenge. But the most important thing I have learned along the way , as my late wife used to say, is to " Keep a happy heart". I think that is the key...maintaining a sense of the ridiculous, and trying to see the humor in the human predicament.
I find myself waxing on about the past, and eagerly sharing the stories of my life ( of which there are many).
I am grateful that ( for the most part) I can remember them, and for having a new group of recruits each semester to share them with. That's one of the great things about teaching...your kids have already heard all your stories, but your new students have not! I love teaching as a retirement avocation. Let's face it... I love to entertain, enlighten, and even intrigue, and I love an audience.
That's what keeps me vital, and hopefully undull.
I particularly like to muse about the
Life's lessons I have learned, and to share the little aphorisms that I have
absorbed along the way. My favorite one is "Hope springs eternal! ...( in the human breast).
My second favorite is "Be sure you're right, and then go ahead" ... Davy Crockett. ( My Davy Crocket pocket knife is a little rusty, but still one of my most prized possessions. )
And... My third favorite is "Don't sweat the small stuff!". Worrying only produces more woe, so embrace the philosophy of "Que sera, sera..". What will be , will be!
Thank you Fess Parker and thank you Doris Day! You have greatly.molded my life. But as much as I love to look backward, to the Howdy Doody and leave it to Beaver Days...to the Happy Days of early rock 'n roll, to the hippy happy sixties, the squirrely 70's , the productive 80's , the responsible 90's... I really enjoyed the reflective
00's, and am eagerly sailing through the 2010's., I love to look forward as well. Each new day is a blessing.
Time may no longer be on my side., but as the old Ann Murray song goes... "Time...don't run out on me!"
I want to keep my
plane flying, even as life's runways grow shorter. I always did like takeoffs better than landings.
The wheatfields of Kansas are starting to green up. The Hills of the Finger Lakes are covered in snowy white. The hair on my head is finally getting a little bit white, and the celebration of all things green is almost in sight. It's been a great, a happy, and a powerful journey so far, and I am enriched by all those whose paths I have crossed, and who have crossed my path along the way. I am especially grateful for those who have walked along that path with me, and sometimes guided me back when I got detoured. Thank you all so much for being part of my life. I am many times blessed!
And lastly, If life is like a big ice skating pond, and you never know when the ice is going to give way underneath you, the only thing to do is "Keep on skatin' " !