You’d think six decades of trampling this earth would teach a soul a thing or two, wouldn’t you?
Life has a way of leading you on, with its tractor beam pulling you forward as you stumble over the peaks and valleys, leaving some impressions along the way. Like running through a briar patch, it’s impossible to come out the other side unscathed. And as I sit in the living room of our stunning bed and breakfast in Lima, Peru, with the sounds of mourning doves, hens and peacocks filling the early morning air, I can’t help but be reflective.
Today I turn 60, or, as some of my kind-hearted friends have suggested, 20, with 40 years of experience.
My buddy Chuck once called me “the world’s oldest adolescent.” There’s an insult in that assessment, as I am certain he intended, but it also suggests a measure of wide-eyed enthusiasm about the wonders of the world and what’s coming next. I am guilty as charged, and I accept the challenge. I may be older, but I am also wiser, made all the more so by the gifts bestowed upon me by those I care about: my daughters, family and friends, colleagues present and former, and by my indefatigably positive, beautiful (in every imaginable way) and generous wife, Gabi.
Being an odd combination of incurable romantic and chafing curmudgeon, I’m struck by some of my evolving realities brought on by all these years:
The first sip of coffee in the morning is much more gratifying than the first sip of beer on a hot day. I travel with a jar of instant coffee to ensure that each day starts properly, and I have developed considerable skills to find hot water at 6 a.m. in some of the world’s trickiest places.
Mornings, once my time to rehearse my command of the day, to plot, plan, organize and strategize the business of life and, well, business, is now my time of peace, calm and reflection. Often, I write, as I am now, an outpouring of thoughts, ideas and emotions in a linear exchange from brain to fingers. Thank God I took typing classes in high school. Thanks, mom, for pushing me into it.