I am 20,794 days old. In 25 days, 20 hours, and 19 minutes (give or take), I’ll be celebrating my 57th birthday and the early polls are saying that life is good, that I’ve been blessed, and maybe even damned lucky.
I think about these past 20,794 days, see all that I’ve done, the mistakes I’ve made, the many times I’ve stumbled, fallen, and/or wound up face down… along with all the times I’ve gotten back on my feet and continued forward… and it’s been a good life and, of course, I’m looking forward to it continuing for some time to come.
In the past, when I’ve shared my pre-birthday thoughts with you, well, they’ve contained some interesting insights into myself. For this year, though, the only thing that really and seriously stands out for me (other than still managing to deal with the effects of my stroke) is dodging an event that could have stopped the clock on me, namely, the AAAs I had repaired. I still shudder to think what might have happened had they not found them…
I’m 29,943,586 minutes old and counting. Man, when you look at it like that, not only does it seem like a lot of time has passed… but it lends credence to the saying that time flies when you’re having fun, doesn’t it? Inside my head, I still think that I’m in my mid-thirties… but all that grey I see in my beard tells a different story. I look in the mirror… and I see me and it’s still the same me I’ve always been used to seeing albeit some hard to overlook differences, like I don’t have my Angela Davis-like Afro anymore and there are a few wrinkles and lines on my face I’m just now noticing and, yeah, fairly soon, I might have to see a man about some dentures.
I am quite thankful for my life; I am proud of the things I’ve accomplished over the years and despite the financial pain in the ass of being retired – I really do miss those big paychecks I used to get – I am enjoying my retirement, I’ve got a damned good woman by my side, and the cat won’t stay off my feet for some reason I haven’t been able to figure out yet.
I am a child of the 60’s, growing up when Flower Power blew up all over the place and people protested the war in Vietnam; I grew up in an era of music that was so damned good to listen to, like Earth, Wind, and Fire, and Kool and the Gang, along with Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, the Ojays…
I still listen to that music, not so much to remind me of my younger days but, um, it was just better music, played with real instruments, few synths, no sampling whatsoever and as a musician born out of those days, it’s a difference I can really appreciate.
I grew up in a time where race riots were still very much a thing to fear, where it wasn’t safe to go from one side of town to the other by yourself and vicious gangs roamed the streets just about everywhere one could go. I saw the rise of “Black Power,” heard first-hand of the assassinations of Malcolm X, JFK and his brother and, of course, MLK.
I even watched the late Neil Armstrong take those first famous steps on the moon. It amazes me that there are a lot of things that people today learn as history… and I was there when they happened – they were current events for me.
Hell, I guess I’m now wise in my old age. I’ve seen and done so many things… yet there are so many more things remaining to see and do…