Pair of Sevens

wpid-happy_birthday_to_you.jpgToday is my 77th birthday.   A pair of sevens, not even good enough to open in a poker game.  This has been one hell of a year and I’ve groused about it plenty on these pages.   I have posted on my birthday almost every year since I started my blog in 2009.  The fellow at the left has, by the way, been part of almost every birthday post.  I thought it would be fun to revisit 22 years of birthdays to see if we can find any trends.

On May 2009 I posted Turning Sixty-Five.  I had spent a number of years managing my Dad’s Medicare, and now I had my own.  I did not handle that well but you’d never know it from my post, which talked about my Best Day, the day my wife Muri and I got pinned in college.   The next year, I posted Sixty-Freakin’-Six in which I observed that In the last year, a lot has happened, some of it magic and some of it tragic … and some of it just life on life’s terms.   And now, I’m Sixty-Freakin’-Six.   But I’m loved.   Alive.   In 2011, I posted some history, things that happened the day I was born, May 20, 1944.  In 2012, we went to see the Righteous Brothers and one of them quipped that he was fifty-eighteen.   I liked it so much I used it as the title of my 2012 birthday post.  In 2013, when I posted Monday Smiles 5/20/1944, I concluded with this: In the circles I travel, I have met people who have spent substantial parts of their life feeling unloved. Searching for love. Searching for more love. I suppose that all of us can occasionally feel that way on our down days. But for sixty-nine years, I have always known in my heart that people love me. The friends and family that have given me that gift are what I celebrate today.  It must have been a good year.

I dreaded my 70th birthday.  When Muri asked me what I wanted to do for my seventieth birthday.  I told her, Nothing.  I don’t want to celebrate it.  I meant it.   But my daughter Amy convinced me to go to Disneyland and 13 hours there with the grandkids was a perfect antidote to the grumpies … until a day later, when my feet and legs are screaming their displeasure.  In my seventy-first birthday post, I had some fun (engineer fun) with the number 71: It turns out that 71 is the 20th prime number and is also a permutable prime, which means that any permutation of its digits (in this case only 17) is also prime.  71 is also a Chen prime because 71+2=73 is also prime and one of the largest known pair of Brown’s Numbers, (7, 71) because 71²=7!+1.  Fun, right?   I reached 73 apparently feeling inspired.  In my post Seven Tee Three I posted that, I’ve learned that while material success and things make aging easier, it is the appreciation of the beauty in life that makes it fulfilling. The smile of my wife across the table. A grandchild nestled beside me. A small bird on the feeder in the yard or a Maui sunset for my birthday.   My Inner Curmudgeon must have been asleep.   I did not post on my birthday in 2018.   Hmm.  In Seventy-Five, I complained a lot about physical problems, from aches and pains to injuries and losing my sense of smell.   I closed the post with this: Today I turn 75. Still Feeling Old. But still kicking. Happy birthday to me.  And when I posted Seventy-6, last year I was basking in our new life in Utah, with grandkids close and a lovely new home.  My daughter had brought us breakfast and the grandkids had placed happy birthday balloons and signs in our yard.   Very nice.

So what can I say about 77?   It sounds incredibly old.   I try not to dwell on it but it is harder and harder not to notice how few years are left, and the gradual decline of this old body … and of my contemporaries … make me wonder what the rest of my life will be like.   I still have my passions and my interests but fatigue sometimes make them harder to pursue.   As I nostalgically look through pictures of our life, more and more often, people in the pictures are no longer with us.  Accepting life as it is is harder and gratitude takes more conscious effort.   But I am up to it.  I have an amazing wife, family and friends to buoy me up and help me feel loved.  We are financially secure and when I’ve got the energy, I’ve got enough interests for three old codgers.  The pandemic appears to be behind us, as does four years of Mr. Trump.  Let’s get on with it.   Happy birthday, Oldereyes.

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