On turning 65…….


“There’s just no arguing with 60…,” I used to say.

It seemed and still does seem like a line of demarcation in ones life from what went before and whatever GPS coordinates I inhabit now on Life’s Back Nine.

Me camera mom DSC_1205I’ve always had many older friends, mentors, coaches, co-workers whom I closely watched to see how they played the last holes… many of whom went beat The Reaper in regulation and went to the “sudden death” round.

And that’s okay, I figure that not knowing how much is left to play frees you to play as you choose. And I choose to play it as I always have… I don’t “feel” a hell of a lot older than I did in my 30s, but I am smarter and much wiser, so I should be living my life “better”.

I figure when you are 80 and beyond you’re playing on someone’s score card anyway, and “sudden death” takes on a new meaning entirely; all deaths are sudden and there’s a cosmic calendar date out there somewhere beyond which we will not see the sunrise.

And living life “better” for me has a lot to do with learning. My only disappointment at 65 is that I should know more than I do… a realization I face every day as I gain a clearer picture of how much I don’t know.

Mom Sugar DSC_1199But strangely that too is a gift for a young boy who had recurring dreams… wonderful dreams… of being locked up alone in the local Carnegie Library for the weekend with….. all…. those…. books.

Technology has now given me that dream and more, in the form of this computer and the “Internet” which have allowed me to download on my iPad:

The Memoirs of U.S, Grant, all volumes of the Life of George Washington, the messages and papers of all US Presidents from 1843-1914, Common Sense, Edison, His Life and Times, The Writings of Samuel Adams, all the works of Rudyard Kipling, Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, 10+ volumes of Custerania and a batch more.

And the best part…. all for free.

I’ll never even get to my modest goals of learning, but I am now old and wise enough to see that as a blessing, not a curse of my intellect being sabotaged by the ultimate failing of my physiology.

My grandmother was one of those “take me now Jesus” folks who I doubt lived a single happy day in her life. She settled on religion as her drug of choice and must have thought God had played a horrible trick on her at birth.

I was no more than 8 or 9 the first time I heard her wish her life away, seeming to insist that crossing over the River Jordan was what “good” Baptists do.

Thus I always looked on our summer visits to “grandma’s” as the real punishment it was.

God proved to me early that he had a great sense of humor…. my Grand mother lived until 96… and I don’t think see learned a damned thing about life in almost 100 years.

“We makes plans, God laughs.”    

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Her youngest daughter, Bettye, my Mother, was much her opposite. I watched and learned a lot from Bettye, much of it having to do with living ones life.

Born in 1927 her opportunities (as a female) were limited to a certain extent, but her parents were worse impediments by far. Hence a marriage to my Dad in ’46 I think, and for the next 50 years she lived life for all it had to offer.

When the stroke came for her at age 76 on Christmas Day a few years ago, she was on a week’s vacation from her part time job as a home health care aide for a “a little old man” (80) incapacitated by an aneurysm.  Previously she had worked with “the little old people” at an assisted living facility.

So my Mom and my grandmother each taught me everything I needed to know about my club selection on the back nine.

I’ve always lived better than I golf… so I go on from here on with confidence that you grip the driver way down at the end of the shaft and rip the damned thing as hard and as far as you can.

Not good advice for a serious golfer perhaps, but in the Game of Life, it suits me and Bettye to a “T”.

“Fore!”_long_fairway

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About Gary Alexander

Volunteer coordinator for veterans support network in North Texas. Now retired from his private psychotherapy practice, I specialized in the diagnosis and treatment posttraumatic stress, working with victim assistance programs, veterans and the Veterans Administration for over 20 years. After being wounded in action in Vietnam, I was medically retired from the Marine Corps and know first hand many of the readjustment difficulties and psychological stresses experienced by today's OIF and OEF veterans. I am available, at minimal cost, to speak at your functions on several subjects including veterans issues, Vietnam, the Medal of Honor, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and critical incident debriefings.
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4 Responses to On turning 65…….

  1. Bob Mack says:

    Happy 65th, GA. I’m only a few months behind ya. Had to put my ol’ dog to sleep yesterday; she’d been with me for 15+ years, but started failing fast the past week. Today, I’m sippin’ the JD & blinking back the tears. Never been much of a golfer, so to me life’s like baseball. You try and time the fast stuff, adjust to the curves & don’t swing at anything out of the zone.

  2. Maureen Testa says:

    Happy belated Birthday! I still enjoy reading your blog and seeing how you are doing.

    Maureen

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