Today, Saturday November 5, marks my 59th birthday, and I have to gloat on myself! For the first time in a long while, I feel better than I have…in a long while! For one thing I don’t feel a day older than 57! And, even as I rapidly approach the seventh decade of my life, I’m determined never to get “old”.
I’ve had so much going on lately. The COVID-19 pandemic decimated both my burgeoning freelance writing career and what savings I’d amassed over the previous years. I’ve had trouble finding work, which I attribute in part to my age. Other stuff has gone awry. My truck is showing its age; the overhead garage door needs to be repaired; I need a new PC, CD player and DVD player. I’ve had ongoing plumbing problems. A job that was contract-to-hire (and that looked very promising) was pulled unexpectedly from me on Friday.
But my hair is still black; my face and body are in relatively good shape; I still enjoy writing and blogging; and – most importantly – I’m still alive! I woke up this morning…well, more like this afternoon.
I’m also happy to say I’ve achieved that coveted status of “Dirty Old Man”! Now I can emulate my dad and pretty much do and say whatever I want and not give a shit what people say about it! What a glorious state of being!
As someone who has suffered from chronic depression most of my life and alcoholism most of my adult years, I’m glad to know I’ve made it to another year of life. I haven’t given up on myself and neither should any of you! If someone as deranged as me can live this long, just about anything can happen!
As of 1:15 a.m. Central Standard Time U.S. this past Tuesday,
November 5, the Chief turned 56. It’s
not necessarily as big a deal as, say, turning 55. And I remember years ago thinking that, once
somebody reaches the half century mark on life’s odometer, ensuing birthdays don’t
really matter. But I’ve learned every
birthday matters. It’s another year
forward and another chance to improve oneself.
I feel I’m doing that with my writing, as well as more practical moves,
such as joining a new gym.
This year’s birthday was rougher than expected. I got sick – again. Allergies that usually plague me with the
change of seasons (the summer to autumn transition is generally the worst) hit
me harder this time around; thus prompting a visit to my doctor for a trio of
anti-microbial, germ-phobic medications.
My eyes showed the wrath of the usual culprits: ragweed and mountain
cedar. I confirmed my sensitivity to
them some 15 years ago with an appointment to an allergy specialist. Visits to the refrigerator, kitchen cabinets and
local stores had long proven ineffective.
Ragweed and mountain cedar ranked at the top of my allergy reaction
list, along with other suspected villains – oak and cat dander. I’m also allergic to stupid people, but aside
from working outside the home and driving, there’s no definite test for that.
But my eyes looked as if I’d been ambushed by a swarm of killer bees or came out on the wrong end of a boxing match. Still, the drug cocktail – which did include the ubiquitous screwdriver – eased my angst. And then, the little microbial fuckers resurfaced, like dental appointments and property taxes. They assaulted me with their ecological mainstays: watery eyes, congestion, coughing and the tendency not to use Spellcheck. Misery! Misery, I tell you, dear readers! Joining that gym last month was a much-needed lifestyle change. Since the late 1980s, I’ve pretty much been a gym rat. I even wrote about it six years ago. However, when I signed up to this new place, it had been roughly eleven months since I’d been to a gym to lift weights. Note to the wise and health-conscious: do NOT take nearly a year off from lifting weights and expect to be back to normal in a single session. But, at that last gym a year ago around this time, one of the senior staff apparently had an issue with my attire. I wore an old sweat jacket – one I only wear to the gym. Admittedly, I’ve had it since high school. Some 35+ years ago. Okay, it’s a man thing! You wouldn’t understand, unless you bear that rare Y chromosome! The zipper is twisted, and it’s shrunk. I often keep it unzipped during workouts. No one had ever had a problem with that. Until November 2018.
The man – either a lost Viking or an intense Grateful
Dead fan – literally got up in my face and ordered me to “zip it up.” He then walked away. And so did I.
I re-racked a curl bar and left; canceling the membership once I got
This new gym has no such qualms about ratty, decades-old
sweat jackets. It doesn’t cater to GQ
cover models or suburban soccer moms – no offense to suburban soccer moms! It’s an old-school gym – where men can go shirtless,
women can wear sports bras, and dogs run around the front office. Literally, the owners have 2 massive and very
friendly canines practically greeting people when they enter. As a certified Wolfman and canid aficionado, I
love the idea of dogs almost anywhere!
I was determined to visit the gym on my birthday, as I’ve
done with just about every birthday for as long as I can remember. I even did so last year – before the Sweat
Jacket Incident. But I just couldn’t make
it this past Tuesday. Again, those allergies. Or maybe the flu. Or I’m being punished for not completing my
second novel by now, as promised. Perhaps
internalizing all those angry sentiments from work and driving had finally caught
up to me. But then again, I never was
too keen on the idea of being a serial killer.
That doesn’t look good on your Linked In profile.
But other distractions arose, particularly with this
aging house. Bathroom and kitchen sinks,
roofs, foundations and various and sundry attributes boast large repair price
tags. I relish the thought of living in
the house where I grew up. I don’t have
to fight for parking space, deal with noisy upstairs neighbors and getting rent
paid on time. I have the joy of dealing
with aging bathroom and kitchen sinks, roofs and foundations. Aaah – suburban life!
So this birthday wasn’t the best. But I made it to another year! I’m always thankful for that. The alternative is not pleasant.
The other day a friend posted a drawing on Facebook of
someone hugging what looked like Jesus Christ with the verbiage: “The best part
of going to Heaven.” I thought, if there
is such a place, the first person I’d want to see is my father, who passed away
3 years ago and who I think of and pray to every day and night. Nearly 5 months later, when my dog died, I fell
into a mortal depression. When I marked
my 53rd birthday that year, I honestly felt I wasn’t going to make
it much longer. I was ready to give
up. I still truly believe my father
returned to get my dog; in part, because he absolutely loved that pint-sized,
four-legged monstrosity, but also because he simply wanted the dog to be with
him. I could understand my 83-year-old
father’s demise; he had been sick off and on for years with gastrointestinal problems. His body could no longer take the
punishment. But then, he came back to take
the dog?! Oh well…such mysteries are not
for this world to understand.
Yet, as morose as I felt at the end of that year, I realized
I had so much I wanted to do. I still hadn’t
published my first novel and I have other stories I want to write. I realized I couldn’t give up. It certainly wouldn’t be fair to the people
who care about me, but it wouldn’t even be fair to me. I’ll die, and the sun will still rise in the
east the next morning. Some people I’ve known
actually think it won’t, if they die!
So, here I am at the ripe slightly-passed-middle-age of
56! I’m still writing and still fighting! Now, I just need to find a new way to assassinate
these allergens and get back into the gym.
Wow! I’m 51 today. That’s more than half a century. So, what? I feel pretty good. I’m certainly glad to make it to this age. The alternative isn’t pleasant. I think of the few people I know who died well before 51 and I certainly can’t be thankful enough that I’ve lived this long. Each day I wake up gives me another chance to make my life better.
I do have a few simple wishes:
That my parents’ health improves long enough for me to get their life stories on video. They’re not celebrities, but they’ve led some interesting lives and have some great tales to share.
That my dog lives a few more years. He’s 12 now, which apparently puts him in the same age bracket as my parents. He’s only the second dog I’ve ever own, but he’s made realize what’s important in life.
To get my novel published within the next few months. I’ve worked on this thing longer than most DVD players have been around, so it’s way past time to get it into print. Being a professional, published writer is all I’ve ever wanted to do with my life anyway. I know it’s a tough business, but I can imagine no better profession for me.
To see my freelance writing career take off. Business or technical writing is the second greatest passion I have – somewhere after lifting weights and sleeping nude.
To find a box with $1 million in cash somewhere on the side of the road.
Okay, maybe getting my novel published now is a bit of a stretch. But who says we can’t dream extravagantly?
I don’t know why I’ve made it to this age, nor do I know why I’ve gone through all the crap I’ve experienced. I’ll find out one day. But it’s brought me here. And my life isn’t done yet. I don’t know how much longer I have, but I want to make up for all the lost years of being terrified of the future. Here’s to more time on Earth with the people I love and care for the most!
Well, I’ve finally reached that critical milestone: the half century mark. I honestly can’t believe it. And, I’ll be damned if I still don’t look a day over 47!
I probably have about as many years ahead of me as behind me. But, despite a lifetime of worrying about the small details, I wouldn’t trade it in for anything. I could easily reflect on what I haven’t achieved by now: I never got married; never had kids; didn’t join the U.S. Navy like I’d wanted 25 or so years ago; still haven’t gotten my novel published; haven’t visited Yosemite; didn’t invest in that turbo penis pump.
But, I’d rather reflect on what I have achieved: I did finish that novel; I earned my college degree; I’ve become closer to my family; I got hold of my alcohol problems; I learned not to let stupid crap bother me all the time; I didn’t waste money on that turbo penis pump.
I consider the alternative to turning 50 – never getting there! In September, I wrote about the 20th anniversary of the death of one of my best friends. He was just a month shy of his 32nd birthday. I look at the casualty lists of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and almost cry at the ages of the young victims. I don’t want to get sentimental on you folks, but it makes me thankful for this birthday and every birthday. Thanks to all of you for your visits and comments!
For real! Not 50, not 51 – 49! Damnit! I can hardly wait until I turn 50, which is a major milestone in anyone’s life. But, getting to 49 is good enough because it means I’ve made it another year. I’ll do what I do most every birthday: reading, writing, a visit to the gym, a few alcoholic beverages and top it off with a hellacious orgasm. I mean, come on! Every birthday is special! You never know when you’ll have another!