Another Birthday Goes Creeping By

UntitledOne year ago tomorrow six celebrated the day of my birth. Celebrated with me. Celebrated me. In a world increasingly foreign, there remains a day given each of us wherein we can celebrate. The day our entrance into this world was pause from the terrorist attacks, the status of the world economy, (or our bank accounts) the preparations for the next commercialized holiday. Despite circumstances, any one individual birth pushes the stop button of life around them for we cannot come into this world without notice.  What happens after that is anyone’s gamble but the entrance, by its very requirements, grab the attention of at least one other person, more often than not – two, three or even more.  Getting to be born is no small task, but neither is growing old.

 

Aging is most frequently viewed through a lens of loss; eyes once sharply focused, now require dime store magnification for the simplest of tasks.  The two middle fingers on my left hand ache each morning, perhaps in protest of another day’s expectations. I could wax eloquently of the myriad of ways the cardboard box that has transported my ephemeral self through these years, has deteriorated and morphed to be this older version of that chubby kid, but I would rather celebrate.  I have the absolute privilege of being on this planet long enough to have a memory bank stuffed with constantly amazing, often perturbing bits and bobs of life.

 

Take music for example.  While I no longer pursue the careers of the latest musicians and to many that is a sad state of affairs, I have the unique ability to pick from the air Lionel Ritchie wow wowing through the stereo speakers, midst the strains of “Just to be Close to You”. The room can be filled with people, the conversation can be deep or superficial, the context calm or chaotic.  I will immediately be transported back in time.  A time when the Commodores coexisted with James Taylor and Neil Diamond.  I can visualize where and who I was while I pick up lyrics I haven’t sung for thirty years.  I can’t remember what I did Monday, but I can sing through the hits of Toto, “Tonight I’m gonna break away, just you wait and see.” Barry Manilow, “Looks like we made it.” and yes – something called “Wild Cherry” and “Play that funky music white boy.”  Go ahead, laugh – I know I do.  That’s because I have all those years that gather round and whisper to me. Sometimes they beg me to come back and join them playing for awhile on their shores asking only that I stay awhile to reminisce. I sit and visit with my mother who set the bar high in loving music, or my father who sang the old hymns and I mull over my own capricious vocal trials. I kick the stones of romantic breakups underscored by heartbreak lyrics and I smile. They would have me stay but this old self knows that it’s hard to climb out of that rabbit hole.  I politely excuse myself and insist I must get back to life. Life here and now.  Life celebrated on this birthday.

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