April is my month. How can I not love a month that starts with a fool’s day and also contains my birthday? I know that it was years ago but I was indeed born at a very young age. Dirt had just begun to form on that smoke filled cloudy day. The volcanoes had stopped blowing their stacks just a few days before.
My birthday falls on a weekend this year, so I had to decide whether I will be taking a long weekend to make up for it. As some of you know, I always take my birthday off each year. Regardless of which day of the week it falls. Yes, whether on a Monday or a Wednesday, I’m sleeping late on the day of my birthday. If, as it has this year, it falls on a weekend, I celebrate it on the Saturday or Sunday but I have to decide whether to take Monday off. It is sort of like the post office and other government offices, a three day weekend. Every 6 or 7 years I have to make this decision. In the past, I have taken the Friday or Monday off and enjoyed the three days of relaxation. This year, I’ve kept my nose to the grindstone and decided to work.
I now can say, it was a mistake. No red blooded American should turn down a three day weekend, particularly if it is in celebration of the day of their birth. I really didn’t get anything accomplished today. I was still reeling from the fact that I have gotten another year older. And what a number of years it has been. I used to celebrate because I had reached an age that proved I was old enough to do something. These are landmarks everyone has had. Events like old enough to go to school with your older brothers and sisters. Old enough to get a BB gun without worrying your mother that you’d break windows, kill birds or shoot your sister’s eye out. (Mom never did say ” you might shoot your eye out”. I really think if I did any harm to myself, she thought it would just be, what farmers call, culling the herd.) The magic age of 16, the driver’s license. 18, graduating from high school and registering for the draft, 21 for drinking and voting. I always thought the privilege for drinking and voting should have come before registering for the draft..Am I wrong?
All of those years are ages we look forward to. Well, most of them anyway. But once you reach 21 things start to go a little down hill. Sort of down hill but we can laugh about them. Like turning 30, we are in that “don’t trust anyone over thirty” separation from youth. Then 10 years later the big “4” “0” rolls around. Forty is probably the first age we reach that we begin to think the more sobering realizations of our mortality. At 40 we don’t heal up as fast as we did when we were 20. Then we reach 50.
At 50, we really just feel that we are indeed adults. We should be starting to dress more “grown up like” at 50. You know, wearing less Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd tee-shirts and less tennis shoes. But we don’t, we actually start wearing our rock band tee shirts more and start listening to much more Golden Oldies. We are seen wearing not less but more comfortable tennis shoes and less wingtips. I think most therapist call the age between 50 and 60 the decade we truly are scrambling to hang onto and relive our youth. The 50 to 60 aged crowd probably knows more about their teenage and twenty something rock music and movie stars than they did when they were 19 or 20. And now they have the money to actually go to their favorite band’s second or third farewell concerts. If done right, the 50’s to 60’s can be the greatest time to be working on that bucket list. Death is not exactly staring you in the face but you can see the damn thing just starting to appear on the horizon. I think we sober up and grow up the most in our 50’s decade.
Then the 60’s, I’m a few years into that decade now. A week or so ago I went to what may probably be my one and only Fleetwood Mac concert. Yes, it was on the unwritten bucket list. I still want to go to another one. I figure I can do it as long as they can. I’m actually looking forward to that next landmark age, retirement age in a few years. I wore my Pink Floyd tee shirt this weekend. And I was thinking of buying a low powered BB gun last week when I saw a stray cat chase my backyard rabbit and paired Cardinals out of my yard. I’d rather have Cardinals and Rabbits in my backyard as stray cats. But it felt funny not having anyone telling me I couldn’t buy one. You get that way in your 60’s. But I would never chase the neighbor kids off of my grass at this age. I reserve that for my 70’s and 80’s.
Such is the life of John