My very dear friend Ralph turned 70 today. I called to wish him a Happy Birthday. He responded, “Thank you Tiffany, but I have to tell you this is unbelievable. He continued, “Of course, I know it’s better than the alternative, but this is surreal.” I answered, “Yes it sucks –No it really sucks!” We both kind of chuckled. “Kind of” is the operative phrase. Because 70 sucks!
For those of you reading this, please don’t start writing nasty comments. Also please don’t start giving me those inept responses of “It’s only a number.” Or worse, “70 is the new 60.” Or, “You really don’t look or act 70.” None of that helps. The number is 70! And that’s OLD!
By profession, Ralph is a Doctor. He also loves to collect and/or restore vintage cars. He has quite the impressive collection. That makes this blog even more important. Think about this. You buy a car in 1950. You try your best to take really good care of it. OK, on occasion, you drive too fast, or you hit a curb, or you run out of gas. But all in all, you wash it, polish it and continue to drive safely and cautiously. I’ll bet that as time progresses, no matter how much care and love you put into that car, you’re going to have to replace parts…lots of parts. Why? It’s OLD and worn out.
Now let’s talk about our bodies. For those of you that are in your 60’s and 70’s, how often have you heard, “Well that just happens as you grow older?” A little pain here…. a little ache there. How about “Everyone gets cataracts.” Or “It’s probably a touch of arthritis!” CRAP!
I don’t want to hear, “These are the best years of your life.” Again, I say CRAP! Let’s see. WJJ has Parkinson’s Disease, I have Lyme Disease. We both have “polyp problems.” And for those of you that have visited my shoe closet…..most of those stilettos are now worn….privately (if you know what I mean). I don’t know how to break this to you, we are not like “fine wine,” we don’t physically get better with age. DAMN!
Ralph is amazing. He is young in spirit and energy. He surfs, restores cars, and jogs. Despite the fact that he is “retired,” he was recently a ship’s doctor and has volunteered at Tripler Hospital. He not only is our friend, but he has helped us immensely with some health issues. 70 looks good on Ralph—really good! But he is still 70!
What is my “optimistic message” here? Ready? Have an extra serving of mashed potatoes tonight. Watch a stupid movie. Focus on a sunrise as much as you watch a sunset. Put no energy into what may or may not happen. Be grateful for what you have. Give of yourself to those you love and sometimes to those who will never know you.
You have probably heard the adage, “I wish I knew then what I know now.” Well that is one area that we “old folks” can embrace. We know a hell of lot more than we did when we were 20 or 30! Not just Jeopardy knowledge, but much more about people, life and most importantly ourselves and our relationships. Life may not be as exciting, but sometimes simplicity is much appreciated.
Let me be clear. Walter and I have not become two people just sitting in our rocking chairs eating applesauce and jelly sandwiches. Like you, we really enjoy life. We laugh, we eat, drink, dance –even in our disco. We chat with our family, hug our granddaughter and thoroughly enjoy our friends. Oh, it just occurred to me, our Lazy Boy recliners do rock –DAMN! I may have to get rid of them. LOL
I recently posted one of my quotes, “Life is not a spectator sport, play to win.” My friend Kevin asked, “How do you know you’ve won?” My answer, “When you’ve created the life you want and deserve, and you have more good days than bad.” Remember, a win –even by one point—is still a win!
So Happy Birthday Ralph –You’re amazing but…. 70 SUCKS!