On Monday, February 21, 2011, President’s Day, I had my seventy sixth birthday. I have always disliked birthdays, especially those with a zero, and even though there was no zero with this birthday, I still disliked it as much as the previous ones. All it did was remind me I was one year older then the year previous. But, I don’t need birthday’s to remind me of that fact. Instead, I have two total knee replacements plus a hip replacement which make me avoid activities that would encourage further wear and another surgery. In addition, there is the reminder of my aging in my right foot which has developed arthritics that makes it painful to walk without insoles or the right shoes. Getting up in the morning involves aches and pains most days. I am not prepared to run the Iron Man Marathon I’ll tell you and birthdays don’t make me feel any better. I always liked John Mortimer’s observation. He was the creator of Rumple who died at 85 years. He said:
"Dying is a matter of slap-stick and pratfalls. The aging process is not gradual or gentle. It rushes up, pushes you over and runs off laughing. No one should grow old who isn't ready to appear ridiculous."
Not that I’m ready, willing or anxious in anyway to leave this planet. I have too many unfinished projects and unfulfilled goals. Law is still my mistress of enjoyment. My hair left some time ago, but along with age came the realization that I no longer have to feel that I must act the way other people want or expect me to act. I’m old enough that what other people think or expect is of interest to me, but of very little concern in how I live my life. Their problem with me is exactly that: their problem. As cartoon character Popeye used to say: "I em what I em." Or as Dr. Seuss advises
"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind"
After all of my many stumbles, errors and mistakes I’ve finally learned the wrong of judging others. We are all frail humans struggling along with our personal crosses. No one of us can ever know what devils the other person is battling as they go through life. Our job is not to bang our cross against someone else on the path of life.
I’ve been richly blessed by God in so many ways. Having outstanding parents and mentors along the way. Good health for so many years. Loving relationships. Professional satisfaction in my legal work and especially a lack of major crosses so far in my life My theory is that knowing what a coward and weakling I am, God has had the wisdom not to send me any real crosses to bear. I have had the joy of representing people who needed my help and the pleasure of success with financial benefits as well. My other theory is that God has allowed me to live this long because it has taken forever for me to learn what I should have learned in my youth. It’s sort of like being kept in the 3rd grade for years.
You know the question they ask people: are there things you would change in your life if you could? The usual answer is how content they are with their lives. Well, there are all kinds of stupid and dumb things I have done over my life that I would change in a heart beat, but marrying Lita isn’t one of those. As Churchill said when he was asked what he would do if could live his live over "If I could not be who I am, I would most like to be Mrs. Churchill’s second husband."