My 65th birthday is coming up on the 9th and it has set me to pondering.

Even just writing the title to this blog set me to pondering. On turning 65 could have been on reaching 65, on becoming, on being, on accomplishing. Granted 65 isn’t the old-age landmark it once was. I remember both my grandfather and my father having their 65th birthdays – my grand-dad’s was when I was 11 years old and he seemed ancient to me. He was tired, I’m sure. His worklife had been a lot more difficult than mine, much more physical. It aged him. My dad’s 65th was when I was in my 30’s and I can remember he was so happy to finally be headed into retirement. It was a state of glee! Sadly he died two years later from arterial sclerosis.

My 65th doesn’t have the same importance at all, compared to his. I have been retired for 10 years. I am mostly pretty healthy, although we have to keep a watch on cholesterol and blood pressure and cancer. One of the reasons I took an early retirement was that my dad’s demise had occurred so soon into his. And my 65th means I get to start using Medicare, with it’s related startup headaches.

What my 65th birthday most means to me is that I know I am lucky – lucky to have the family I have, especially my loving wife, Donna; lucky to have the friends I have, many of those being old friends; lucky to be able to continue working in theatre, to continue being picked to play interesting roles (and with that, lucky to still be able to memorize parts); lucky to be able to take naps whenever the need strikes – which is at least once a day!; and lucky to be loved and to love.

People say it is only a number, you are only as old as you feel, that growing older is better than the alternative – all true. But facing each birthday really is a little different. I know I have a lot more years behind than before me, and that is a striking thought. I also realize that I will never be as able to do many things as well as I once could, I will never weigh less than 200 lbs again (unless from extreme illness), and I am actually getting shorter – having shrunk down to a “still-considered-tall” 6 feet 3 and 1/2 inches.

True, the changes are gradual. And many of the changes are blessings – changes like more grandchildren, more leisure, more time to just read or think or nap. I am very happy to be turning 65. It suits my plan – my plan to keep going. I have been telling friends that I no longer strive as much as I did a few years ago. It means less to me now to seek out opportunities, although some still come my way.

But not striving doesn’t mean not trying. I will try to keep going forward – if only so I do not fall backward.