It's official. Today I turn 54 years old and am quite happy about it.
Compared to a year ago, I'm feeling like Lance on EPO, Barry on the Clear and Cream and Roger on HGH. I could throw myself a 90-mph slider and hit it in McCovey's Cove while riding a bicycle backward.
How much you wanna make a bet I could throw a football over them mountains?
It's a good feeling to wake up in the morning.
The evil Mr. Mike occasionally pitches a tent in the back yard of my psyche, providing a reminder of my mortality. But I'm guessing he does that to everyone once they reach age 50 or so.
Work sucks. The roof supports are collapsing on the coal mine called The Plain Dealer and I can't escape fast enough. I become more irrelevant with each passing day. But that's okay. They can't hurt me anymore.
I have spent some time mourning the loss of the only real profession I've known, but have reached the final stages of grief. I gave up Hatorade for Lent and will say no more.
“Lent?” you ask. Clearly Mark is going all metaphorical on us, right?
Nope. I'm fasting, not eating meat on Fridays, giving alms to the poor and attending Mass. Compromise is a constant in this life. Let's just say that me and Catholicism have reached a level of rapprochement.
I've returned on my own terms. There are things I believe and things I don't. It's not about the men in the pointy hats who are gathering in Rome as I type this to pick a new boss (same as the old boss). I will willfully ignore them when I find it convenient.
It's about me and my relationship to God and to this world. It's about what I need and what I owe. It's about what I reap and what I sow. God is merciful. He/she/it forgives me and I don't have a choice in the matter.
Finally, because it's my birthday, please allow me to quote from “Great Expectations.” When I came to this passage last night, I found myself reading it over and over again.
“Joe made the fire and swept the hearth, and then we went to the door to listen for the chaise-cart. It was a dry cold night, and the wind blew keenly, and the frost was white and hard. A man would die tonight of lying out on the marshes, I thought.
And then I looked at the stars, and considered how awful it would be for a man to turn his face up to them as he froze to death, and see no help or pity in all of the glittering multitude.”
I'm not Pip. I see help in the glittering multitude. If it's not there, it's still a nice view.
My 54 years on this oddest of orbs have been pretty damn good. Happy birthday to me.