The older I get, something, something…

I turned a year older this week – 56! The number doesn’t really bother me but the statistics do. So as with most unpleasantness, I choose to ignore the statisticians. I’ve been told that men my age are prone to heart disease, prostate cancer, midlife crisis, beer bellies, bald heads, erectile dysfunction, and host of other maladies that Zymbalta or some other wonder drug can cure but with frequent, painful and serious side effects. Oh joy!

The truth is that I feel pretty good most days. And (because I prefer to look at myself in the mirror without my bifocals on) I still look pretty good, too. So life goes on! Yes, the years tick by but I don’t care. I’ve decided to live life to the fullest (or as full as a 56 year-old can!) And currently I have no complaints.

I’m blessed; I know that I am. And upon reflection God (or my guardian angel) has had my back many times in this life of mine. I’m in love with my wife. I have three great kids and three beautiful grandkids. And we all have fun together. Especially the grandkids and me – which is what makes 56 tolerable and even fun most days. When I asked Anna, “Why am I such a lucky Pawpaw?” She exclaimed, “Because you’re MY Pawpaw!” How true; how true!

And of course turning a year older ALWAYS beats the alternative.

Birthday dinner with some of my favorite people

This week I’ve been able to celebrate my birthday on the beach in Florida and I’ve cherished every moment. Playing  in the sand or splashing in the pool with a 3-year old and an 8-month old makes a 56-year old forget (for a little while) about work, bills, the national debt, the likelihood that there won’t be social security when (or if) I retire, etc.,etc. The afternoon (obligatory) Margaritas help, too!

So bring on the birthday candles! I plan on running away to the beach again next year.  Fifty-seven be damned!



I grow old, I grow old; I will wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled ~ T. S. Elliott

‘Old’ Was Not One Of The Things I Wanted To Be When I Grew Up

Like looking into a mirror

How does the saying go? Something like: “the only certainty in life is death and taxes”. Now I would add “and getting old”.

But I don’t really think of myself as old – I’m middle-aged. Which means at 55 years-old I am in my middle years, right? Only if I live to be 110! So maybe it’s time to face my mortality; something us baby boomers seem to be in great denial about. Oh, we have our “bucket lists” and our life insurance policies but do we ever really think that someday we’re going to run out of time? I know I don’t. I keep planning my next vacation, my next adventure, my next birthday party, etc. I don’t have an end-game. Not only do I not think about my life ending – I really haven’t given much thought to getting old(er). Because old was not one of the things I wanted to be when I grew up!

This week Elizabeth Taylor died. At work a group of YOUNG PEOPLE were talking about it and I commented, “Do you suppose that Debbie Reynolds is dancing on her grave?”. There was complete silence. Finally one of them asked, “Who’s Debbie Reynolds?”. Not only did they not get my HILARIOUS reference to the tawdry break-up of Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds by the man-stealing Liz Taylor in the 1950’s, they didn’t even know who Debbie was! Really? “Tammy”? “Singing in The Rain”? Anyone? When I mentioned Carrie Fisher and “Star Wars”, I got a few nods of recogition – apparently one these brats had parents that were “Star Wars” fans. At that moment I felt like I should be driving a Studebaker, wearing “trousers” and hanging out at the Barbershop.

So I guess I am beginning to face my own mortality; I just don’t like it. I realize that, I am in fact, getting older each day (and maybe becoming a bit obsolete). I watch my parents now dealing with ‘old people stuff’: illness and aches and pains and hearing loss. And I realize when I see Dad struggling sometimes to be steady on his feet that I’m only 29 years younger than him. Twenty-nine years ago Tyson was 3 and Bess was about to turn 2 and that seems like only yesterday. So tomorrow it will be me (if God allows) who is 84 years old and wobbly on my feet.

Today I have decided that even though I may not have wanted to be old when I grew up, I will try to embrace aging with dignity. I want to be around to see my grandkids as adults. I’ll gladly be the ‘old man’ dancing with my granddaughters at their weddings. I will someday help “pack-up” Noah off to college. And if God truly blesses me with a long life I will continue to share my HILARIOUS stories and my PROFOUND WISDOM with another generation of Wilhelm/Kleckners and they will show their appreciation with their kindness and patience for this old man.

Until then, I think I need to go hug my Dad.