Happy Birthday?

By Lloyd Graff

My birthday is in a couple days.

Just another day. A number. Just a number.

A day to celebrate. But it haunts me, too. It’s a day closer to my last one.

CELEBRATE, celebrate, celebrate. That’s what “they” say. What do “they” know? Do “they” know how it feels to get to the age that your Mother died? Do “they” know how it feels to suffer from the same health stuff your parents had?

I know I’m supposed to wake up in gratitude, that I survived the night and get to live another day. Often I do, when I can separate from my fear of death and the unknown. The Believers are sure that something good awaits them. They are lucky, I guess. All I am sure of is that some good people will remember me well — for awhile.

I’m sounding rather dark in this birthday essay, I suppose. Oddly, most of the time I’m twinkling brightly, reflecting the light of life, my wife, Risa.

My son, Noah, teaches me something daily, with his questions and his attitude. My two other children, Sarah and Ari, support me from a distance. My grandchildren are a pure energy source.

Still, I struggle to joke about the number that looks the same right side up and upside down — 69. It has special significance because I met Risa in ’69. A very good year.

Yet it seems so old — for a mere boy — waiting to go outside to throw snowballs.

Question: When did you stop looking forward to birthdays?

Birthday Scene from Seinfeld

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11 thoughts on “Happy Birthday?

  1. Steve Ignots

    12 years behind you; still look forward to having the day off and seeing fireworks (you might be able to guess the day)

  2. Bob Lindquist

    My concern is why do people still work at age 69? I’d understand if you’ve not enough to live on comfortably thru your life expectancy. But I really feel that we should work to live, not live to work. My father developed Myelodysplastic anemia, and Parkinsons disease and passed away in 2010 at age 76. He worked until he no longer could. I am nearly 59. I’ve worked in our tool and die/ job shop for 41 years. I vow to not do the same. Why toil your whole life, to never sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. I certainly appreciate that he left my mother well off, but she certainly would have enjoyed time with him in retirement.

  3. Doug

    You stop celebrating when you wake up and through out your elbows and hit something solid. Until then you get up smile and make the coffee. No matter what your ills are, you get to spend another day with your family and friends.

  4. John Wally

    I think from the time my father was in ER on his death bed and my third son was being born in a hospital 50 miles away, I realized life goes on to the next generation and we look forward to day when we can spend eternity in Heaven. For those who have no hope of the life after death I’m guessing it’s pretty discouraging to get older and also scary. But as it still states on our currency “In God We Trust”

  5. Bill

    Birthdays are indeed just a number. Today’s 60 is yesterday’s 40. We are better prepared to live longer than the last generation. Working, doing something you love, will keep the mind active and carry you through the “golden years”. For me, I think retirement is way over rated. I’m in no hurry to sit back and do nothing… Retirement is when you want leave a job that you probably did not enjoy, to chase a hobby that will probably get stale in a fairly short period of time. That is not a good recipe for enjoying the fruits of all your laboring years. I think that in your case Lloyd Graff, (as in mine), your hobby is your work. It gives you a good reason to climb out of bed every day and get the brain box churning. Retire from that and what would you do?? You contribute in your own way to society writing about experiences, mixing in some wit. You stir the pot with your remarks, then you get to read the responses ( I would guess that most responses make you smile). You allow your readers to take a peek inside of who you are and how you spent your life. 69 is not a milestone, nor is it the end of the road. It is a number that you should not spend more than 5 seconds thinking about..

  6. clark kostik

    Love what Paul wrote at the end of his life; I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteouseness , which the LORD, the righteous Judge, will award me on that day ; and not only to me , but also to all who loved His apppearing. Wow trust that you and I will finish close to this. kpsmiling

  7. Donna

    Well Lloyd, we are about the same age. I turn 69 toward the end of this month and I am also still working. However, I look forward to each birthday as a way to celebrate with my family and share another meal and spend another day with them. This is the important part of life, the part that makes it all worthwhile. Our 4 children are spread out all over the state of CA but they seem to find the time to come together for birthdays and holidays and add to the many wonderful memories I have stored in my mind. I have already outlived my mother who died at 66, but I don’t dwell on that. We need to make the most of who we are while we are here. But I do believe in God and hope to be reunited one day. I have cut back on working hours and am now enjoying ‘part time’ status 4 days a week, but I have continued to work because I really enjoy my job and feel I make a difference. I know the time for retiring will be coming sooner than later, but I also look forward to that new aspect of life and the new joys it will bring. Happy Birthday Lloyd. Donna

  8. Stephen Langford

    I too have a birthday in just a few days and I will be 67. I still work full time as well since we have adopted three of our grandchildren. I’d much rather be at the office than at home since they are now all teenagers. I don’t know how many days I have left and it really doesn’t bother me because I know what waits for me. I sincerely hope and pray that you will find that same comfort and assurance that only comes through faith in God and his son Jesus.

  9. Victor

    The other day I realized that I wasn’t sure of my age – either 55 or 56. It’s a great feeling, to be detached a bit from that number.

    I wouldn’t care to celebrate my birthday, except that my wife’s is the day before, so we have fun with our “dual birthdays.”

  10. Don

    Lloyd, why do you worry about something you have no control over. It makes no difference how much you worry you have no control over the end result. Live life to the fullest and enjoy it. If you have to worry, worry about something you can change. Happy Birthday and many more.


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