“People often ask me what I would most appreciate getting for my eighty-seventh birthday? I tell them — a paternity suit!”

— Comedian George Burns

I have a birthday right around the corner. It’s a big one. I mean at some point in life we all realized every year is important — but the milestone years really kind of get your attention when they get there way faster than you realized they would.

I am no longer an athlete. I am no longer a socially active butterfly. I am no longer a young, eligible man. I have reached the point where I think most of us and society used to consider old age. Mind you it might be the very beginning or the very young old age, but it was kind of the starting point at one time.

Every day in my mailbox I get solicitations. I have unwillingly and by necessity joined a new club of which as of this week I am a very popular, hot member. Everyone seemingly has a strong desire to talk to me about Medicare! The really are concerned for my future.

Just saying the number over and over or writing it in various life’s activities. Answering any questionnaire: Age__?

When I look into my heart and mind I feel like that same virile younger man. When I look into the mirror, I look for critical and unavoidable physical aspects of aging.

It happens sooner than you think.

Still I look back at my life as an extraordinary adventure. While the journey is hopefully far from done, the absolute devil-may-care manner I often spent in my younger days kind of surprises me today. I once wrote an early column essay explaining my belief that we all live life one way to a point and then make very subtle and controlling changes and then change our entire philosophy.

I think we all live for a time not accepting our own mortality. One day we accept that. For me, it was like living two separate lives.

I am not sure exactly the time or moment that it hit me. Might have been at a funeral or a comedy club. I have been made to really think about life at both venues.

Oct. 17th. Mark it down. Please offer up a moment of good karma and silence for me. I suspect it won’t be the easiest of days. I have joked for many years that after a while in life we survive birthdays more than celebrate them.

In fact, after this one, other than all the years that end in zero stand out; 100 would probably be for me the next milestone. The way I feel at this point I am not certain that I have any great wish to live to be 100. We will revisit this idea more when I turn 99!

I recently had a change in relationship status and have been eating on such a restrictive, healthy diet that I cannot imagine having a cake in the house. I am looking better, and eating healthy sure makes one feel a bit fuller of energy.

Sixteen more days, as of this writing, of what I guess is considered the end of middle age. Middle Ages was always made out to be kind of a dark, bad era for history. I must admit I had a sinful amount of fun in life during the middle ages period.

I had always hoped I would be better at accepting change at this time in life. I was also hoping that at my new age I wouldn’t have to accept so much change. Oh, well, I can’t change that.

The one thing that scares me most about getting older is ending up alone. I am sure I can accept most everything else.

So, buck up my peer group. We are all going to live fabulously what with the Medicare and Social Security right around the corner. It’s easy street. Only we can make it hard! I can tell you all I am fighting this age thing tooth and nail each day. Readers should mentally insert the Rocky Theme here!

I don’t really want to come off as complaining because I am not. We all know people in our lives who never lived to get a Medicare envelope personally addressed to them.

I am really enjoying the very last weeks of my living as a middle-aged man. It’s been a helluva ride.

I think of my old principal and fellow columnist Terry Cummins. He wrote so much about the aging process in both serious and comedic tone. Terry always knew the joke was on us. Nobody ever shoots a perfect 18 in golf. And nobody gets out of this thing alive.

Lindon Dodd is a freelance writer who can be reached at lindon.dodd@hotmail.com.

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