Thursday, April 26, 2007

Today Is My Birthday...

...and I am younger than springtime.

Someone said to me a couple of years ago, "Oh, you mustn't like having birthdays, anymore," as if I were some sort of fossil. I'm not, by the way, anything close to a fossil. But I've had friends who started complaining about feeling old at the age of 25.

One such friend is B, who is two months and two weeks older than me. He is forever saying, "Well, I'm old now." His wife, who is even younger than me, says things like, "It's over for me, so I'm living through the kids now."

This is just not my attitude.

Anybody who has ever met my father knows that he is not the most positive human in the universe ("Why must you always be so negative?" my mother used to ask him), but one good thing he taught me was to not talk yourself, or let yourself be talked into, old age. This man, who scoffed at positive thinking and described himself as not a pessimist but a realist, went around the house telling us, "I'm younger than springtime."

"Getting a little gray there, Dad," we'd say.

"My hair isn't gray," he'd answer. "It's sandy."

Today, this guy is 75 and swims every morning. He lives in Manhattan so he can walk everywhere, and he does. He does not take cabs under any circumstances. He walks down and across town to visit my brother. He will take the subway to visit one of my sisters in Queens, or to visit some old priest at Fordham University in the Bronx.

Age really doesn't mean much. Peter's brother, an athlete, died of an aneurysm at the age of 20. His great aunt still lives on her own, shops, cooks, and throws dinner parties at the age of 102.

For many years, we didn't know what her age was because she kept it a secret. She wasn't ashamed of it, but she knew that if it were common knowledge, people would treat her differently. They would limit her.

I choose not to be limited. Every day is a gift, whether you're 20 or a 102. Today is my birthday, and I am younger than springtime.


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday!!! a friend:)

Leila said...

Late Happy Birthday

You're fantastic Terry, you're a fantastic writer but above that you're a magnificent person. Hope you'll have lots of happiness through your life because you deserve it!


Terry said...

Thank you both! I appreciate it!