Grateful for another birthday. They are all special, but the ones that end in zero are more meaningful, I suppose.
|June 2017: The greatest joys of life today for Bea and me:|
Josie (9 1/2), Jacob (8), Kaden (6) and Eli (2 1/2).
It is a long way from Amsterdam, The Netherlands, to Fort Worth, Texas, USA. It has been quite a ride.
I was thinking about the "zero" birthdays. Here is a review:
• At 10 (1957), we had been in the U.S. for 17 months, I was headed for fifth grade, and we were 18 days from moving to the first home my parents ever owned -- in the Sunset Acres neighborhood in Shreveport.
|At 20, student assistant in sports|
information at Louisiana Tech.
• At 30 (1977), Bea and I had been married four months and 10 days; I was "Daddy Nito" to 3-year-old Jason, and I was the sports information director at Centenary College, publicity contact for the Shreveport Captains' baseball team, and a parttimer for the Shreveport Journal sports department.
• At 40 (1987), I was near the end of 5 1/2 really good years as executive sports editor for the Shreveport Journal, a fun, productive time professionally, a struggle personally (that's all you need to know). Bea and my old friend Casey -- we went through school together from Sunset Acres through Tech; he will be 70 late next month -- arranged to have a sign put up in front of the Chateau Hotel announcing that I was 40.
• At 50 (1997), I was in my second year on the Knoxville News-Sentinel sports staff after six-plus years in Jacksonville and Orange Park, Fla. We loved the Knoxville years, and Rachel found a university (Tennessee), a home, and a husband and his family there.
• At 60 (2007), I was halfway through an 11-year stint in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram sports department -- the most fulfilling, rewarding job I had (and it was my last job). We were four months from becoming grandparents for the first time.
• At 70 (2017), retired for 4 1/2 years and happy to be so. Still a writer (when I feel like it) -- a book writer, even -- and, as always, a deeply devoted sports fan. But I'm not as avid a sports fan as I was for most of my life and certainly much more cynical.
Back to gratitude. It is the fifth year of my daily gratitude journal, which is -- believe me -- a daily exercise in positivity. (It's true, no matter what is going on in our country and the world.)
Gratitude, too, for relatively good health. There are a few extra pounds, but only a few, and I do know now what a high triglycerides count means (but I had to look up how to spell triglycerides).
The doctor and I agreed that I need to eat more wisely -- stop snacking after the early evening meal -- and keep exercising.
There is enough energy for daily walks and regular yoga/stretching classes at the downtown Y, and there is still motivation for writing and researching (working on a couple of sports-related projects now).
Don't much like driving any more, so the out-of-town trips are fewer and more taxing. But we find plenty to do in town. Just this week: grocery shopping (four stores), a bookstore stop, a jazz concert, a museum visit, a financial consultation, and birthday meal celebrations.
|Our grown-up kids: Jason and Rachel|
For me -- and I know Bea agrees -- the greatest joy these days is those grandchildren. We don't see enough of them, although FaceTime helps. They are such a delight, and I know many of our old friends have the same feeling about their families.
We are proud of the lives our kids have built, and we have such hopes for those grandchildren.
One of those hopes is that we are around to see what becomes of them. Reality is that we will be fortunate to have one more birthday ending in a zero. Having two more, reaching 90, is not a likely possibility (my parents went to 89 and 88).
For now, it is one lovely day at a time. We'll see where we are at 71.