Sunday, April 12, 2015

I Am 60 Today!

I have a hard time believing I am 60 years old today! I do not know where the time has gone and how I reached this age!

Before I talk about my age, I want to tell you about my new pacemaker. I told you I would keep you informed as to when the date will be. I will be getting number four on Friday, April 17th at noon. Chances are I will check in, have them insert my new pacemaker and go home that afternoon. 

I did something I had never done before and that was to put a two-sentence status post up on my Facebook page. I simply wrote, "I just found out I will be getting my new pacemaker April 17th! That makes number four." 

For me, the response was overwhelming! I know other people get much larger numbers for posts on a regular basis, but that was incredible. I received more than 100 Likes and more than 50 Comments! That is the second-highest number I have received for any post on my Facebook page except when I posted a Profile picture from last summer when I gave the keynote speech for the University of Minnesota's Physical Therapy's Commencement Ceremony. I had 163 Likes!

The Comments and Likes came from people I have known my entire life and six of the eight towns I lived in before I was 14! I also received notes from all three colleges I attended. They also came from people I knew from giving a speech or met in an unusual way. As if anything is usual for me!

Now, it is back to the point of this post. I want to show you my first birthday cake and see what you think:

I was already using my left hand at an early age! Scroll ahead thirteen years to my 14th birthday, and notice how I am using my left hand as well to light my birthday candles.

Click on the images to make them larger:

It was only two more birthdays after that I stopped celebrating my birthday. Let me explain why. When I first got hurt September 3, 1971 my goal was to be walking by basketball season. When that goal obviously did not arrive, I set a new goal of walking by my 17th birthday. Obviously, that did not happen either. It was then I decided my birthday was just a reminder that I was still not able to walk. That did not seem like a reason to celebrate.

That is until this year! I have been getting a number of reminders from unlikely sources reminding me that 60 years is a long time and deserves a celebration. First of all, I have had reminders at my acupuncture receptionist, the receptionist at my wound clinic a week ago, a social worker, one of my personal care attendants and two women from my past lives who are both my age.

On April 8th, Karen (Smalley) Bixby who lived in the women's dorm next to my dormitory the second year I was in Berkeley called me and wanted to be the first to wish me a happy 60th birthday. Karen and I have been lifelong friends and she is smiling right now as she keeps track of me through my blog posts and I am writing about her!

She called to remind me my birthday was April 12th and I would be 60 years old! Since Karen's birthday was April 9th, a full three days before mine I asked her to tell me what it was going to be like since she is so much older than me. We have discussions on our cell phones every once in a while, although they are not frequent enough, but we had a great thirty-minute conversation before she had to go. I am sure we will have another talk soon.

About an hour later I was chatting with a new Facebook friend who I played baseball with her brothers when we lived for a brief time in Sibley, Iowa.  Mind you, we were only in the seventh and early part of eighth-grade when Susan (Streit) Wheeler moved to town with her family. I had never talked to her when they lived in town because of my fear of girls at that stage of my life. I am over that fear now. I believe I was afraid girls would bite me if I spoke to one back then. Little did I know if one did, I might actually like it!

Susan and I had a forty-five minute conversation that only had to be cut short because she had to be someplace. I am certain we will have another conversation again soon. It was like we had been lifelong friends and in reality had never spoken before. I find myself in conversations like that all the time.

I have no problem meeting people now and finding things to talk about. Often times I will end up finding something in common from one of our past lives. That also happened to me several times last week while I was either in the hallway or in speaking to a therapist or physician. I love stories like that.

If you did not know it already, you might think I am a bit of an extrovert!

I am not sure what I'm supposed to feel like now that I am 60? I have had people tell me I  do not feel old to them because I do not act old. What is the definition of old? When does a person become old, or is it just a feeling? There are many questions I have about the aging process and the attitude one takes as he or she ages. I know people who are younger than me and feel much older to me. Do you know people like that? 

Is it about being positive, realistic or negative?  Can healthy relationships be built at any stage in life? Can they be built between people with drastic age differences? I could go on but this is already a long post. I will save more of my questions for another post.

Now, I believe it is time to watch the Masters Golf Tournament for a while. Does that make me old?

As always, I look forward to your comments.




thedrumwallet said...

Happ Happy birthday brother!

Laurie Thiboutot said...

Happy Birthday Mike and old is only for the body... whoever or whatever we are never gets old. That's my humble opinion <3

Mary said...

Mike, Re: Getting old. I'm probably old, chronologically, at age (nearly) 84 - in two weeks. But, age can all be a matter of the mind. How do we handle being old - or our age? I'm a positive thinking person; not negative, and have found that this attitude sustains me. Not every day is a #10 but every day is what we make of it. You've encountered so many adversities but I think you've come through all that with your positive attitude. How else do we survive? I firmly believe that God has His plan for us and we have to be patient to find out what it is. Meanwhile, enjoy being 60. In my book of life, it's just good to have another birthday. Continue to be who you are. That's what all your family and friends love about you - including me. I've already wished you a Happy Birthday. Stay positive, pal.

Nancy M said...

I will be praying for you Mike! What a birthday present: a new pacemaker!

Keep us posted on the before and after, we could all learn something new from your experience!

God bless you and your health care team!