I awoke this morning and began the celebration of my 66th birthday. As I approached this date I had mixed feeling about it. But, this morning as I jumped from bed to begin the day’s activities, I definitely felt that I have been blessed. I was born 2 months after the start of WWII. About the only thing I remember about the war, was that Uncle Brady (Dad’s brother) was missing (1945) and everyone feared that he was either dead or captured by the enemy. He was a POW and returned home in 1946, to the relief of all.
I was old enough to serve in Vietnam, but opted to be discharged from the US Air Force in 1963 after serving 4 years. Vietnam was just cranking up back then, but I suspected that it would turn into a major conflict for us. The only regret I have is that our government chose to engage in that needless conflict.
There have been many personal tragedies in my life. The biggest were the loss of Dad (1986) and Mom (1988). I am the same age as Mom when she died. There have been the loss of grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and friends over the years and they all took their toll on my sense of well being. My divorce in 1996 left an indelible scar.
There has also been a lot of happiness: My first marriage, the birth of my two children, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. My marriage to Jerilyn has brought untold happiness into my life. My work life was rewarding and my only regret is that I stopped my college education after 1 ½ years. Of course, retirement led to a major spurt in the happiness cycle.
And so, here I sit, pondering the life that has led me to this point. Would I change anything? Of course, we all would if we could. I think my biggest effort would revolve around being a better person, spending more time with those important to me and being a better listener and friend.
I still try to think of three things that made me happy during the course of my day, just before I drop off to sleep at night. This has worked for me (wards off nightmares and restless sleep) and I expect to continue it. It is always so easy to list three things and difficult to keep from listing more.
“I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.” …John Burroughs
To all of you that read my incessant e-mails, thank you for taking the time to do so.