Thursday, June 16, 2016

An ideal time: 69 ... and counting

One of the joys of life these days: Spending time with the
youngest of our four grandchildren: Eli Smith, 1 1/2.
     So it's the annual birthday blog -- the fifth annual since the blog began in 2012 -- and let's start with my age today.
    I will begin with how my mother used to answer when someone asked how old she was. "Well, it starts with a 6 ..."
    Today will be the last time I am able to answer that way because this is birthday No. 69.
     The number 69 has, well, an unconventional definition you might know, but never mind that. I found a web site -- -- with this:
    "... 69 is a number of idealism, family, and harmony. It's also a number of health and compassion.

    "The number 69 is a philosopher and an idealist. It tends to determine an ideal way of being or method of doing and sticks to it, yet is open to alternate points of view and may change its own ideal as a result."
    Now that is how I'd like to be this year ... and every year.
    That is what I wish for everyone -- it's the idealist in me -- but the reality, it seems to me, is that we're more divided, more contentious, in this country than we've been in a long while.
    I can't fix it, but I can try to fix my part in my world.
    I'd like to think I do fit some of that definition. But there's always room for improvement.
    My wife several times in the past week has quoted this verse to me:
    "Talk less. Smile more. Don't let them know what you're against or what you're for."
    This is from the musical/play Hamilton. You might have heard of it recently.
    Bea, as some people who follow my posts on Facebook and my e-mails might know, was Hamilton-obsessed a few months earlier than most of the world. So here she is borrowing from Aaron Burr's advice to Alexander Hamilton in their first meeting.
    Put it in hip-hop form, and you have the right rhythm.
    But the advice is pretty solid, don't you think? Talk less, smile more.
    Most people who know me know that I love to smile -- well, laugh -- a lot. But talk less? Ha. I probably should, but that'll be the day.
    Still, as for letting you know what I'm against or what I'm for, you won't find a lot of that from me on Facebook or in my e-mail posts -- at least not on politics or social issues.
    Again, people who know me well know I'm pretty darned opinionated. But, thinking of that harmony/compassion aspect of the number 69 -- and open to those alternative points of view -- I will leave the public opinions to others.
     You can guess what I'm against and what I'm for.
     I don't even post that many thoughts about the sports world -- and I know a helluva lot more about sports than I do politics and social issues. But arguing online, or in person, is not how I want to waste my time, or yours.
     Just don't feel like bashing anyone, or being bashed. No sense in it. There is too much negativity all around us.
     A year from being 70, I do think more and more about our mortality. Not planning to leave soon, but we're talking about living wills and emergency situations and, well, funeral plans.
     I figure, if I keep eating right and stay in relatively good physical condition and remaining fortunate, I will stay around. My parents -- who went through a lot of hardships -- lasted into their late 80s.
     So maybe I have a couple of decades left. That's a lot more birthday blogs. I welcome the thought.     
     I will keep smiling and living a day at a time, maybe talk less (and maybe not).
     I embrace family first, compassion and harmony, an open mind and others' point of view, and I'll try to be philosophical and even idealistic.
     I want to be optimistic and realistic and -- if possible -- idealistic. So here's hoping for the best ... for everyone, for our country, for the world.
     See you next June 16, birthday No. 70.


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