And, so, the day of reckoning approaches.
The day when I become eligible for some senior discounts.
The day when I reflect on what I have done…and contemplate…what, new, can I do?
Tuesday, I turn 60.
I have heard said that age is just a number. Also, that you are only as old as you feel. And, even, that 60 is the new 40.
If 60 is the new 40 does that mean the 70 is the new 50…and 80, if you make it, is the new 60?
We live in a country that seems obsessed by youth and how to retain it through life.
Mary Jane and I have often commented that the stores in our mall, and in most malls, cater to the under 30 crowd. We have often wondered what the marketing reasoning for this is..as the purchasing power of adults usually increases with age.
I am thrilled to have made it this far and deeply appreciative of what has happened to this point.
Life is a bit like a roller coaster…with euphoric moments…and sick to your stomach moments…and the consistency of the click-clack of the tracks as you ride from birth to death.
Moments…are what have stuck with me.
Christmas with Mom and Dad…in Chicago…with Laughing Santa…and a scent of a Christmas candy…that I have searched for…until now.
Mary Jane grabbing my hand…after we were pronounced man and wife…and I suddenly realized…that my life had changed.
Holding Aaron…not long after he was born…with his little blue cap…and feeding him with a bottle.
The sound of Jonathon…jumping out of his crib…and running through the house…laughing.
Getting hired at SIU…and thinking…now I can build a life.
Going to the movies with our dear friends, Steve and Faye, and one in particular…Godfather III.
Visiting Peter and Jo Ann during the Christmas Season…and their beautiful Christmas Tree…and Irish Coffee.
Standing at my retirement party…and thinking….where did 32 years go?
Meeting my brother, Brock and my sister in law Marcy and my niece Jaime and my nephew Brock and spending time with them in Gatlinburg.
Re-connecting with our life long friends, Jeff and Margo, in Europe.
Traveling with my buddies, Ron and Ira Kaye.
Meeting my sister Billie.
Yesterday…in the courtyard of the Canyon Cafe at Plaza Frontenac…drinking a glass of Merlot with Mary Jane and Aaron and Jonathon…and the afternoon was beautiful…with a light breeze…and realizing what a blessing life is.
The future is as bright and warm as we have the imagination and courage to believe.
Age…should be celebrated!
Why hide from who you have become…by what your life experiences have created?
When I was 39 I was pleased that then Chancellor Beggs noted that I had more gray hair, in recent months, than he had noticed in the past. At that time I had been a member of the University Community for 20 years. I felt like that I had earned every white hair.
Now my hair is almost all gray…and my beard…that I like very much…although I have been told that it makes me look older.
I think that we humans identify with ‘Place.’ We become part of our geography…in a sense.
I know that I feel a fundamental need to visit the Campus of Southern Illinois University…often. Every step that I take…is home to me.
Life is a full experience and age is a vital part of the journey.
Age has taught me to be tolerant and accepting of all people. If I have learned anything…I have learned that the magnificent diversity of our planet and the kaleidoscope of colors and faiths and traditions…is what God created…and it is majestic in its’ inherent beauty.
I saw a video the other day…on Facebook. The video showed an old and dieing chimpanzee being greeted by an old, human friend, who at first the chimpanzee did not recognized. She had refused both water and food prior to her friend Jan van Hoof…who had known Mama for 44 years came to visit.
When Mama recognized Jan…she smiled the most captivating smile and she took some food and water.
We are all connected on this Earth.
‘From dust thou came…and to dust…thous shalt return.’