Which is better than the alternative!
Considering that I wasn’t entirely sure I’d live past forty, it’s a pleasant surprise to find that I’ve survived to fifty-two. It’s been a hell of a year. The whole world has suffered from a plague this year, but I’ve had my own troubles beyond that. I lost my father in July, just a week after his 91st birthday. Then, three months later, to add a bit of insult to injury, I passed a 7mm kidney stone. Nineteen years ago, I passed a 9mm stone, so I suppose I should be grateful that this one was smaller, but it did hurt quite a bit more passing than I remember the first one hurting. At least, it was a distraction from missing Dad. I still go to call him sometimes, only to suddenly remember that he won’t be there to pick up the phone. So, instead, more often than not, I talk to Mom, who is still here.
Oddly enough, we’ve fared pretty well during the pandemic, at least financially. Not going out to spend money on movies and food and gas made a surprising improvement to our bottom line this year. Though, I have to admit that we took on a little bit more debt to get the twenty-six-year-old furnace and blower replaced. Not only had it gotten dangerous, but that blower runs the air conditioning as well, so replacing it should help our overall power bill.
Of course, being married to Sharon does make my time here easier and a lot more pleasant. That sounds a little tepid and middle-aged, but, honestly, I think we’re both pretty happy about having this quiet, pleasant life together. We’ve both had more than our share of adventure and chaos to think we’re missing out on much at this point. In fact, if anything, all that craziness in our past makes the quiet in our future all the more appealing. Sharon’s business, The Organizing Decorator, is poised to do quite a bit better this coming year, and I’m incredibly proud of her and her work. I’ve known people who constantly complain about never having been given a chance, but Sharon not only took advantage of the quiet year to study up on her industry and better business practices, but she even managed to find a good-sized project to end this year with and that will possibly bring her more work in the coming year. She’s a miracle and I’m truly blessed to be married to her.
It is a bit strange to find myself being so fiscally responsible these days. Again, I suppose age and commitment have their unexpected upsides. I want to make sure that she’s taken care of, at least, even if we don’t expect to leave much after we’re gone.
Otherwise, I wish I’d spent less time complaining this year and more time working for change in all aspects of my life. I still have dreams of writing more and taking more photographs. I’m sure if I really am committed to that this year, I’ll find a way to make the time. Maybe that’s one secret of making it to middle age; I don’t buy as many excuses, not even my own. So, watch this space! Hold me to account, dear readers, if anyone out there is still reading this blog.
I do still harbor dreams of publishing fiction. In fact, I’ve been writing daily since May, outside of the brief gap while I was in Chicago, burying Dad and helping Mom get some of the most pressing things taken care of before heading back down to my regular habitat. I’m still a long way from being published, but there are actually a lot of great authors who didn’t publish until they were over fifty, including Raymond Chandler, Frank McCourt, Bram Stoker, Richard Adams, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and fantasy author Dave Duncan. So, there’s still hope, if I get to work this year!
In the past, I’ve listed the same group of celebrities who share my birthday. But, this year, I’ll only mention three, because they’re the only ones I currently care about. I’m shocked to realize that I’m a mere two years older than Jennifer Connelly, who was born on this day. She’s lovely and I’d watch her read the phone book. The other celebrity who shares my birthday is Frank “Chairman of the Board” Sinatra. And, just like me, he did it his way.
It’s the birthday of the jack-of-all-trades whom Samuel Taylor Coleridge called “the first literary character of Europe, and the most original-minded Man.” That’s the physician, inventor, poet, philosopher, and scientist Erasmus Darwin, (books by this author) born in Elston, England (1731).
His famous grandson, Charles Darwin, wrote about his grandfather: “As a physician, he was eminent in the noble art of alleviating human suffering. He was in advance of his time in urging sanitary arrangements and in inculcating temperance. He was opposed to any restraint of the insane, excepting as far as was absolutely necessary. …With his prophetic spirit, he anticipated many new and now admitted scientific truths, as well as some mechanical inventions. […] He strongly insisted on humanity to the lower animals. He earnestly admired philanthropy and abhorred slavery. But he was unorthodox; and as soon as the grave closed over him he was grossly and often calumniated.”
Darwin was such a fine physician that he was invited to be the personal physician to King George III (an offer he refused), although he treated the poor for free; he wrote the best-seller Zoonomia, or, The Laws of Organic Life (1794–1796), which contained some early speculation about evolution; he discovered that sugar and starches are byproducts of what he called “plant digestion”; he designed a steam-powered car, a horizontal windmill, and a copy machine; and he wrote poems.
Also, I think it’s interesting to note that on this day in 1896 Marconi first demoed radio and, again on this day, in 1901 made his first Trans-Atlantic transmission. (Though, of course, all right-thinking people know that Tesla was really responsible for those first advances in radio.) And, today is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, celebrating her divine inspiration which led to the building of the Basilica of St. Mary in Mexico City.
So, that’s the state of me, as it were, this year. Some things I’m happier about than others, but, all in all, it’s been a pretty good year. I’ve just about given up trying to figure out what the coming year will bring, though I do try to make plans about being more creative and productive, as I do every year. In the end, though, what I choose to do or not do doesn’t matter, so long as Sharon and I do it together. I’m happy that she’s really become the only thing that matters in my life. God knows, I could have worse
All in all, life is going along okay and I’m sure it’ll be a good coming year.