As I pondered old age as a young man, the prospect of reaching fifty to me, was a Herculean accomplishment. Such is the foolishness of youth. At sixty-two, I find myself amazed and grateful. I am amazed that I have accomplished so much in my life, and I am grateful that I am still in good health.
What a man can endure and survive is to a large extent based on personal choice. The rest of it all is left up to genetics and luck. I have survived alcoholism, a forty-year cigarette habit, automobile accidents, bar room brawls, cancer, emphysema, double bypass surgery, my first marriage and American politics.
It's all quite amazing! I have a keener wit since I put "the plug in the jug", in May of 2003, and I don't hack and cough anymore 'cause I quit my "beloved" Marlboro Reds almost seven years ago.
I reminisce more often now. I think of my lost family...my dad, my mom, my brother and sister are now all dead. They are gone from me forever, but my loving memories of them linger on. A great number of friends and relatives have also joined them in the great beyond. I thank my higher power that I have a loving wife and daughter who continually amaze me with their charm and accomplishments. Above all, I am grateful for their love...a love I often did not deserve.
I have no unrealistic expectations of myself now, and for the most part I am happy to wake up "not dead" in the morning. Every day is more frosting on my lifetime cake. One thing that always makes me smile is when my wife claims, "We're middle-aged!" My retort is always, "For Chrissakes Debbie, do yah thing we're gonna' live to be a-hundred-and-twenty-four?" She just frowns at me as she rolls her eyes...then she laughs.
She is one, tough, lovable cookie, my gal. So, for this day, July 13th, in the year 2011, I am happy. I'm a little bit older, a little bit wiser, and lot more deaf and forgetful...but by no means am I "out of the game". You betcha!