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Non-Profound Thoughts on Turning 59

Dr. Ray Pritchard
Dr. Ray Pritchard
2011 27 Sep

It’s hard to know what to say about your 59th birthday. What exactly does it represent? Does it have a deep meaning?

After pondering the matter I have drawn a few tentative conclusions:

1. I can’t stay up as late I could 20 years ago.

2. You’re definitely not young when you are 59.

3. I was going to say I run slower now but that’s not true. I’ve never run fast.

4. I think I’m smarter but sometimes I can’t remember what I’m supposed to know.

5. I hardly ever wear cologne.

6. Does #5 really mean anything?

7. I have a year to go before I turn 60 so I guess I have a year left in the “Fabulous Fifties.”

8. I’ve been waiting 9 years for the Fifties to be Fabulous. If decades could listen, I would say, “You’ve got one last chance.”

9, My faith is more settled now. What I believe, I really believe.

10. My blood pressure has dropped this year (Thank you, Dr. Parker.) And thanks to Bert Duncan for telling me to take my readings after my bike rides.

11. I’ve now ridden my bike over 27,000 miles. I’ve gone through at least six bikes in the process.

12. To answer a question I’m occasionally asked, travel does not get easier. 

13. Marlene and I enjoy many of the same TV shows, including “Chopped,” “Pawn Stars,” and “American Pickers."

14. We spend most our time together and that works out well most of the time.

15. My dream of being in the rodeo has been put on indefinite hold.

16. But I would still like to parachute out of a plane someday.

17. I like Diet Pepsi better than Diet Coke, a fact I would never have admitted 10 years ago.

18. Now all it takes to make me smile is seeing my two fine grandsons, Knox and Eli.

19. My boys seem both older and wiser than I was when I was their age.

20. Marlene and I often talk about the decade ahead of us and wonder what we will be doing five or six years from now.

21. When I asked Marlene just a moment ago how it fees to be married to an older man, she said, “I’ve been living with one for a few years now.” Then she smiled, which made me laugh. 

22. I feel strongly that people shouldn’t run over turtles in the road. That bothers me when I see it happen.

23. Somewhere along in this part of the journey, you realize that you aren’t going to accomplish all that you dreamed of doing. That turns out to be okay, but getting to that okay can be hard. I’m pretty much there, I think.

24. True friends hang in there with you and at least give you the benefit of the doubt. I’ve had lots of friends like that.

25. I still make stupid mistakes, sometimes over and over again. I was hoping to lower the number and maybe I have a little bit. But I often think, “I should be better by now.”

26. When I typed in “What 59th birthday represents” on Google, the first thing that came up was the news that after a long retirement, Godzilla is returning in 2013, his 59th birthday. He hasn’t made a new movie since 2004. Well, sure, I could make a big splash this year if I had been on a 9-year vacation. Meanwhile, i wish Godzilla all the best in the Scary Monster Movie Department.

27. I’m happy now to pass along any wisdom I might have and to encourage the younger generation any way that I can. That plus get out of the way so the young un’s can do their thing.

28. I sing out loud more often than I used to. That seems like a positive sign.

29. As I think about my marriage, I’m grateful to God for a wife who loves me and who knows more than I do about so many things. She doesn’t rub in it when I make a mistake.

30. The doctor told me that we all have fewer “energy units” as we grow older, and I need to use mine wisely.

31. Life is all about gratitude. I think I’m more grateful now and laugh very quickly when Knox tries to say, “Hi, Grandpa” and it comes out “Hi Pa!” Makes me feel like I’m the father on “The Waltons."

32. Things I don’t like: tuna, broccoli, canned beets. Things I do like: dry-rub BBQ ribs, Coke, mac and cheese. 

33. I just found this suggestion for how to celebrate the 59th birthday of a friend: “Your favorite 59-year old is still so very young. Get out the champagne and break out the rock and roll or hip hop music. That ’old geezer’ wants to hit all the late night dance floors! Don’t miss out on our great birthday party favors for the 59th birthday banquet!” Reading that makes me want to lie down and take a nap.

34. Then I found this from a fellow named Lin-Chi: “When hungry, eat your rice; when tired, close your eyes. Fools may laugh at me, but wise men will know what I mean.” I guess it means don’t eat your rice with your eyes closed.

35. Time to end my musings. I’m happy (very happy, in fact) to be 59 years old. I’m glad to arrive at this point on my journey with my faith and my marriage intact, in good health, with a wonderful family around me, and more friends than I can count. I feel very blessed. Whether I’ll be able to blow out all the candles on my cake is another question.

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