Everyone knows the common saying, "time flies when you're having fun" but the truth is, it flies when your not having fun too. When you get older it just plain flies... perhaps that is why I have noticed that people just say "time flies" these days and leave off the latter part... most people aren't having fun most of the time.
In fact, during the time of life in which we have the most fun - when we are little children - time doesn't fly at all! Years took forever to pass by when I was small.
Anyway, now I am almost 38. The 7th will mark 38 years since my mother gave birth to her second child, who was supposed to be a boy (because my parents already had a girl) and for whom they already had a boy's name picked out. Luckily for my parents, three boys followed right on my heels, and I think that was more than enough for them so that when little girls 3 and 4 came along they were a relief from the constant mischief making.
The 7th will also mark 20 years to the day since that same girl, who was supposed to be a boy, was climbing Mt. Kenya and met the boy who would, 7 years later, become her husband and 10 years later break her heart and 16 years later disappear.
It will als mark 1 year, since what I thought was the first of many happier birthdays to come, when I received a gift that meant the world to me, and still does, only now it makes me sad to look at it because it embodies all of the hopes and dreams I had at that time, which have come to naught and reminds me of how alone and uncertain I feel again.
So, I'm not looking forward to my birthday. It is a yearly reminder of my failure - my failure to find love in particular, but all of my failures in general as well, since my poor track record in personal relationships has shaped the rest of my life.
Perhaps if I was home, it would be a different thing, I would have my family with me, and I could celebrate with my Grandfather, whose 93rd birthday was on the 3rd of October. Last year, he celebrated his 92nd with a big shin dig. This year they are throwing another big bash for him on the 9th - it will celebrate his birthday and mark the opening of the visitor's center at the urban wildlife refuge named after him. The park was named after him - and a statue of him erected in his honor - for an important environmental law he passed, 38 years ago. For him, his birthday is a yearly reminder of his accomplishments. He can look back with pride on what he has achieved over the years.
I called him for his birthday this year, and even though he is 93, he still is as sharp as ever. I am happy that with age, his mind has not gone, I think for someone like him that would be a great loss and tragedy. I hope I will see him again before his time comes. It makes me sad to realize that, having lived well beyond life expectancy for the average American man or woman, any day could be his last. I wonder how he feels when (if) he thinks of that. I wonder if he thinks about how time has flown and wonders where all the years have gone, since he was a handsome star pupil in his highschool in Portage Wisconsin.
He doesn't believe in God. I always wonder where he thinks he will go after he draws his last breath, and if he is scared. I wonder what God thinks of such a man, who in spite of not believing in Him, has lived a more moral and upright life than most, respecting His creation and fighting to preserve it, refusing to backdown on issues he knew were important and sometimes forgoing the power and wealth that would have accompanied doing what was expected in order to do what he knew was right. I hope God is understanding. I love my Grandfather.