Notes On turning 60

Yes 60.

Hard for me to believe, but I did the math and it turns out to be true.

I think my birthday actually marks the closing of my 60th year, since my first birthday happened after I had been around for twelve months, so technically I’m starting my 61st year today….not that it’s any easier.

A colleague passed away recently, it struck me that she was 64. If I had the same genes and lifestyle I’d only have a few years left. An odd thought but accurate if you just count the years.

I went back and read my fathers obituary after that. He lived to 79, built upon his fathers land legacy, had four or five circles of community, (political, local, professional, social, and religious) in addition to a six (five now?) child family and an enduring marriage. He had a cool project car, rebuilt boats, golfed and bowled regularly, and played a lot of rummy.

That gives me 19 years to accomplish similar things. Not really, Dad and I were pretty different. But it makes me aware that I may not have a lifetime left to get things going…

What things? That’s a good question….I think my chances of starting for the cubs has passed, Roger Penske probably won’t look for me to replace Juan Montoya in his Indy car, and Louis Sullivan’s architecture firm isn’t hiring…all of which is ok with me.

I’ve heard it said that the key to happiness is wanting what you have, and I am! I have a great job, with great people mostly, great children, and get to live each day in love with the one who holds my heart. That’s why it’s hard to answer questions like what do you want for your birthday?

Having the people i love around me. Thats a special gift. Having them happy and healthy, thats a special gift. Having a future with the one who holds my heart, thats a very special gift!

The big day came, and the one who holds my heart surprised me with two very special gifts, my daughters! They rang the doorbell late thursday holding a cutout picture frame around their faces like a family portrait. We sat and talked and from time to time i’d sit back and watch and listen as sisters talked, marveling at who they’d become, passionate researchers who both work for health and well-being of the public, committed to the humane treatment of all. They still don’t throw far, at least thats what our dog says. But both are kind of fearless, jumping in to fix cars, move to new cities, and face down their fears. They grew from great children into great women. That’s every parents dream gift.

Friday, birthday day began with five dozen cupcakes delivered to my office! The one who holds my heart arranged it so i could pass them out to friends, co-workers and students. Its a good tradition, symbolically giving others gifts on your birthday, we’ll do it again at 70! Friday night we had a wonderful dinner with friends and family, and i found out a few days later it was four martini fun!

Saturday was a beautiful day, a cold front settled over our part of Texas, dropping humidity, dropping temperatures, and bringing that beautiful blue sky. We went and found my favorite oldest daughter a wedding dress, yep we cried, she is a beautiful daughter, and while i wish i could’ve done more for them, more with them, I’m very happy that she and Justin will be a family soon. I look forward to doing the same with Maggie one day, sitting as her sister pulls dresses from the rack and adjusts them just so…a sister thing i wouldn’t know how to do as a dad.

Soon they’ll be back! We’ll have a quiet dinner and toast to new families, then sip some aged spirits and tell stories about the future and the past. This was a wonderful birthday, it still warms me thinking of the planning (scheming?) the one who holds my heart must have done to make these things happen, given all the things she does, the gift of time with her, my children, and friends was an ultimate birthday gift!

As it turns out I’ve been 60 all this year, (you dont turn 1 till the end of your first year…not that i remember that.) So tomorrow marks the start of my 61’st year. It sounds old, like a lot of years, but i don’t remember a lot of them, maybe thats the hidden good news from taking crestor…i spent a few days lately thinking back over the years and decisions i made, i’m not second guessing…well maybe defending my brother in school and at home but not much else.

It is a good life, Its been a good life, i’m lucky to have the great children i do, lucky to be in American, lucky to have the career i have, the friends i have, the friends i’ve had (missing the ones who’ve gone), and lucky to be able to live my life in love!

Be good to each other, the years are ticking past, what’s important is who’s around you!

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