Monday, April 18, 2022

On Turning 70

 I just had the perfect surprise party. 

So maybe it wouldn't technically qualify as a party. Or a surprise. I mean there was no one present. And actually no one was invited.

But this is 2022 and so the definition of what constitutes a party has to change with the times.

You see, all I was ever really angling for in a birthday celebration was for people to shower me with praise, to tell me what a wonderful person I am, to remind me of all the terrific qualities I possess. Or if I was unable to beg and plead for that level of lying, at least a reasonable facsimile would suffice.

This morning I received two documents. The first was a beautiful lengthy poem from my daughter which brought me to tears (to be honest, the Donna Reed show used to have the same effect on me). The other was a series of responses from my closest friends (each of you being at the absolute top of my list) all providing some real insight into what makes me so remarkable. Ok, maybe remarkable is too strong a term. You can fill in that blank with your own term (but I can read your mind, so don't be too snippy).

Anyway, it was an unexpected way to begin my 8th decade wandering aimlessly around the planet. Everyone far too generous in their assessment of me, all the blemishes hidden beneath the kind words. Yes, I know you are all well aware of my deficiencies and some did surface like weeds in the cracks in the sidewalk, but generally I was handled with the utmost care. 

I love all of you who have wished me well today, and even the one of two who may have somehow forgotten to join in the celebration. It has been, in the words of Jimmy Stewart, a wonderful life for these first 70 years, and I am honored and humbled by the fact that so many have tolerated my eccentricities.

I hope to be writing to you at 80 with as much gratitude as I feel now. Of course, at 80 I hope to still retain most of my teeth, much of my hearing, a great portion of my vision and at least a hint of a sense of smell. You see, what constitutes a passing grade definitely changes through the decades.


Bruce said...

70 is the new 40

LPB said...

Happy happy birthday Robert. Glad you felt showered with love today.

Anonymous said...

Happy day of your birth.
It would be presumptuous of me to think that I am among a small or even large group of your friends.
But I can say that I like reading your posts-- that you write a hell of a letter to the NY Times -- that I share many of your political sensibilities which must make you a very insightful, thoughtful and purposeful person (here, I am mocking me, not you). and that what touched me most was that you cried after reading a poem sent to you by your daughter. My three daughters are without question the greatest source of joy and everything else in my life and that they care for, love and support one another, and share strong relationships with me and my wife is what i count as my most significant life achievement (yes in know, that prayer and luck, and good fortune figure at least as much as the love and work that my wife and I pour into them).
So happy birthday.
May the next decade bring you much.
If you need help deconstructing and reconstructing your golf swing your tennis strokes, or anything that you think you do relatively well, I am open to a consult, having never played golf, play tennis less well than poorly and no doubt actually know by lived experience very little about the things that you do.
I can still ride my bike.
So-- happy birthday.
Enjoy your day and the life you are blessed to live.

Anonymous said...

All the best health for you and your family!

And maybe the Yankees could scratch out a few runs here and there…


Marica Allar said...

A well deserved "party"

Anonymous said...

I assume it's never too late to shower you with praise.
After all, you are the most wonderful, brilliant, insightful, articulate letter writer!


Anonymous said...

So sorry I missed the special day. Sending love your way as you move into the next decade.


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday 🎂🎉
I hope this special Bday demarcates the beginning of a better world to come.
Enjoy this day and bask in all the love that surrounds you!!

S & E

Anonymous said...

I am marking my 70th this coming Saturday! I hope I am nearly as gracious in accepting the realities of the moment as you clearly have been—and nearly as thankful for our good luck in life.


Anonymous said...

I turned 70 the week before you and I felt the same way.
one of my daughters wrote me a three page letter that made me cry, reminding me of all the small things that I did that put her on the right track and kept her there. That was worth more than gold.
Happy birthday! I also look forward to sharing some thoughts at 80. :)


Eileen said...

These milestone birthdays help to put much in perspective. As the years ahead dwarf the years behind, what becomes the most important is health and family and the prayer for the future we leave this planet in livable shape for our darling grandchildren and those to come. Enjoy your years around the planet and how lovely to have so much love-you must have done something right!

Anonymous said...

Robbie- MAZEL TOV on your mile- stone birthday! After I got over the shock of realizing how old I’ve become (since I still think of myself as being somewhere between the ages of 37 and 42), I realized what a privilege it is to be 70. So many of the people I loved have not made it to this age, or if they have, are doing so with an advanced degree of decline. I am determined, therefore to do everything I can to keep my mind and body conditioned and to keep my outlook open and full of wonder. I also cherish the wisdom that comes with age. All that really matters in life is to be loved and valued by friends and family… iit is the truest mark of a life well-lived. I know you have accomplished those attributes in abundance!!

Sending you lots of love, good wishes, and the assurance that, to me, you will always be that boy with an eternally happy disposition and smiling face whom I met as a teenager all those years ago! We have been so blessed in our lives throughout the MANY decades…
xo, Janie