Yesterday was my birthday. That’s good news and bad news; good, because birthdays are generally fun. You get stuff. You hang out with people you like. (Yesterday I got a new ukulele, which is good because you can never have enough ukuleles). It’s also good because people sing to you, tell you how great you are, and write Facebook posts with a lot of emojis. And although I don’t get the appeal of the emoji, there’s no denying that the appeal exists.
The downside to birthdays, however, is the numbers just keep getting higher. I’m turning into an old man, whether I like it or not. I got out of bed on the morning of my birthday and my back was sore. If I play the piano too long, my fingers hurt (and the listeners’ ears hurt). My hair is mostly gray, and I need reading glasses – not that they help all that much, because I’m always losing them. I wake up early even when I don’t need to, and I want to go to bed by 9pm. I enjoy having conversations with people about which freeways to take to certain places, and why those freeways are better than other freeways and although I know those conversations are painfully boring, I can’t make myself stop once I’ve started. I peek through my blinds to see who’s walking past my yard. And I think most music written past 1980 is stupid. Not that I can hear all that well – although, I guess I can just keep getting bigger speakers and turning them up. If I can just find a way to carry those bigger speakers around without hurting my back.
Sometimes children at school ask me if I have grandchildren. Those children, of course, receive F’s.
There’s always a temptation to fight getting older, and I certainly fall into that. I walk a few miles most days (on purpose). I eat fairly well. I have a lot of young friends; but there’s the rub – I’m finding that more and more people are younger than me, so that means my “young friends” list is always growing. I’ve played in bands for many years, and I’ve gone from usually being the youngest member of the band to usually being the oldest member. That’s where being the band leader helps – no one’s going to say anything about me being the oldest member.
All things considered, you really can’t fight it – the numbers keep getting higher. The only alternative is dying, and I’m too young for that. So you just keep finding ways to make the most of your life (which should be true at any age). Trust God. Learn new music (but nothing written before 1980, because it all sucks). Make new friends, and deal with the fact that they’re all kids and don’t know anything. Go to Uganda – or someplace where they need you – and make a difference. Play the ukulele, and keep piling up more of them. Take advantage of the fact that old guys are supposed to be grumpy, and have fun with it. Tell people to get off your lawn, and if you don’t have a lawn, tell people to get off someone else’s lawn and act like it’s your lawn so people will think you’re crazy, and they’ll be fine with it.
And have fun with the “big one’s” – those age numbers that end in 0. But – don’t ever let anyone make you claim one of those numbers until you absolutely have to. I have another year before I have to deal with one of those. And now, I’m going to grab my new ukulele, go play it on the lawn, and yell at people walking by.