Monday, August 08, 2011

Birthday thoughts

The signals arise, and they are not pretty:

As I am entering a state park in California two weeks ago, the gate attendant asks, “The senior discount?” Riding the MBTA to and from Boston, I am offered a seat by someone in their twenties -- in both directions!  Seeing a person in the grocery store, I recognize their face, but draw a blank on whether I know them from work (the most recent job, the previous one?) or soccer (a parent of a girl I have coached?) or some other setting.  (I hope that the first few words in the conversation give the pertinent clue.)  Having my dentist, orthopaedist, ophthalmologist, dermatologist, or gastroenterologist say, “You just have to expect that at your age.”

I have long said, “What you lose in memory, you gain in wisdom,” but who can remember that when the pressure is on?

Here’s what I have really learned:

You don’t get to pick your family, but you do get to decide whether to have them be your family.

Your true friends are a gift, and it is never too late to find more true friends.  That being said, some true friendships come to an end, and it is not necessarily anyone’s fault.

It IS better to give than receive.

A conversation with a person who is dying is humbling and awe-inspiring.

Holding and smelling new babies is the humbling and awe-inspiring bookend.

Watching them become warm, talented, kind, accomplished adults is over the top.


Almond Dhukka said...

Well said, Paul- and happy birthday again!

Steve said...

Happy Birthday Paul

EricM said...

Reading this was a really nice way to start the week. I couldn't agree more with these "learnings". Happy Birthday.

Floridagirl said...

Amen. Happy Birthday!

Amy Schectman said...

Relish these experiences--they ARE pretty! Successful aging allows you to bring so much wisdom and joy to those around you--just think of how great your insights are due to experiences.
AND it's encouraging that people are giving anyone seats on the T--I went through my ninth month of pregnancy three times with no one offering one to my aching feet's dismay!
And remember that today we are all celebrating the blessing of your life and how it makes ours richer.

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday, Paul.


Anonymous said...

To your list of signals might be added this, although it may not be
quite as extreme for you yet: When answering identifying information
online where one must click on "year of birth" you have to scroll
waaay down to find your birth year, and yours is much closer to the bottom than to the top. Just as bad is when clicking on "age" yours is the last category "65 and older" (although for you that's a ways off!).

76 Degrees in San Diego said...

Felix cumpleanos! Surf's up out here!

Anonymous said...

True friendships do not end. They morph. But they do not end. Untrue friendships end.

cyndi said...

write it on your heart (and your blog) that the one"s you love are life's most precious of my favorite quotes and words you live by!!!!!NICE!