©2014 by LeeZard
How to write about turning 67 without sounding sappy and/or maudlin? I’ll take a stab at it because, for one thing, I can’t believe it! People tell me I don’t look 67. I sure as hell don’t feel it, think it or even act it – although I do let my inner adult out when I need it.
I was 33 when my Dad was 67 and he seemed really old. I look at pictures of Dad around that age and he still looks older than I do today. That alone is amazing; many of you know the hard life I led for many years. I like to tell people a lot of bets were out that I’d never make it to 65. But, here I am.
A dear departed friend of mine – the venerable Jim Moss, who died at 90 – used to say in his later years, “At my age, it’s good to be anywhere,” when people asked how he was doing. Even at a relatively young 67 I now get that.
I call my life a miracle for many reasons. First and foremost is my 16-years of sobriety. As I’ve said so many times, if I could do it after 33-years of drinking and drugging, anyone can if they want it badly enough. Secondly, many of you know I’ve escaped death at least once – when an inept doc accidentally and unknowingly snipped a bit too much during a supposedly simple day surgery. I almost bled to death internally without anyone knowing it and a three-day recovery turned into an eight-week ordeal.
Many of you don’t know how much I used to love getting drunk and weed high simultaneously and hitting the road in any weather to drive as far and as fast as I could. This included “commuting” to work for five years 210 miles between Bellevue and Tri-Cities, WA. Thank god I didn’t kill myself and/or others!
Most of you don’t know I certainly could’ve died a few years ago when my lower intestine inadvertently twisted closed and 36-hours later miraculously untwisted without surgery. My dearest doc and favorite Deadhead visited me in intensive care shaking his head. “You must have nine-lives,” he mused.
I really haven’t made a big deal about recent birthdays and I’m not sure why I feel the need to write about 67. But, here I sit at my keyboard on May 2, just three days before 67, chewing my ruminating cud.
I can’t (or won’t) sit here and tell you it’s been a good life – so far – or a bad life. That is for others to decide, I suppose. I can tell you it’s been an adventurous life, some of it my own doing and a lot of it simply the roll of the dice.
In my 20-years as a broadcast journalist I had a front row seat for historical events: the original Woodstock; half-a-million people converging on Washington, D.C. to protest the Vietnam War; marching with anti-war protesters outside of Richard Nixon’s 1972 GOP convention; Judy Garland’s funeral and the WTO riots in Seattle to name a few. I’ve tasted tear gas and partied with Peter Tosh. My journalistic career also gave me the opportunity to make my community better, something for which I am eternally grateful.
Frankly, I know I’ve made many more bad choices in my life than good ones, many of them fueled by alcohol and/or drugs. I have to live with that and, where I’ve injured others, I’ve taken responsibility and tried, where possible, to make things right. That, too, is part of living sober. So is being of service to others and I like to think I do that fairly well, especially with those nearest and dearest to me.
I guess the real reason for this meandering monologue is to take a look at where/who I am at 67. As is often the case, it’s nowhere I ever imagined. Thankfully, I can honestly say I feel that I am a good man at heart. I hate clichés but I can also say I am comfortable within my own skin, aware of my faults as well as my strengths. I care less what people think and merely try to do better each and every day.
I never thought I’d be living in virtual poverty – at any age but, again, here I am. Despite that, I can honestly say I am not unhappy. I’ve learned to live and manage within my modest means and can still cherish the many blessings I do have; dear friends and family, a true and loyal canine companion, relatively good health, my ability to write and communicate well and, above all, the ability to appreciate the beauty in the world around me without letting its ugliness overwhelm me.
Finally, I must write about the saddest thing in my life and, it’s something about which I’ve never written. I grieve every day for my two estranged children and, as a result, at least one grandchild. I’ll spare you the details. I will only say I’ve done everything I can to try to close the chasms between us and so far have failed. They do know if/when they want to reopen communication I will always be ready to listen.
No matter where my life goes from here, I do know this:
“I've lived a life that's full
I traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way”
 Yes, I know, that’s a lower case ‘g’ in god. I use the term god for lack of any other way to describe my spiritual, not religious, higher power. That is for another discussion.
 I believe I’ve survived all of that because I’ve yet to fulfill my ultimate purpose in life. That, too, is for another discussion.
 As usual, many thanks to the Mexican government for the national holiday.