Thoughts on Birthdays

Andy Rooney is credited with saying that “life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.”

There is a good deal of truth in that statement whether he said it or not, but there is a big “but” – and I’ll get to that later in this post.

One of the big milestones in most people’s lives is their birthday.

Everyone has heard someone speaking of the big 2-0; the big 3-0, or the last uttered, big 4-0. The “big x-0” is infrequently heard, if at all, after that for later passing decades of life. Maybe that’s because after about the age of 40, there is the implicit understanding that most people’s lives have reached the approximate halfway point and further reminders of passing decades are no longer desired or required.  At that point, it’s up to each individual to decide how the passing of years are to viewed.

I bring all this up because today is my birthday.

I’ll only say I’m one year away from the big “seven o”.  As do most people approaching that, it doesn’t seem possible or practical to conceive. But all the same, it’ll be seven decades if nothing interferes between now and then.

And that brings me back to the big “but”.

Last week I had my scheduled routine visit with my cardiologist. We were talking and he brought up the question of what comes next. And he said, he could look at my tests and lab results, and my medical history, and come to a conclusion about the patient waiting to see him.  But, he said that’s only part of it.

He said he has to see the person to know what comes next for them. He said he comes in and can see someone like me who continues to work out, who has energy and vigor and a positive attitude, or sees someone who has given up, and is downcast and tentative. And that difference really determines the course of things.

Maybe birthdays are a reminder that life is really about a state of mind, and the biggest reminder is never quit living.


Author: Tom

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