Blogs were invented for self-aggrandizement, the art of promoting oneself. And while I will never bore you with pictures of my avocado toast breakfast or my yummy kale salad with heirloom tomatoes lunch (I would rather eat the cardboard box in which the local farmer delivered both the avocados and the kale), I will take time out today to acknowledge the fact that this is my birthday.
Happy birthday to me.
I am at that point where teenage me would be amazed to find out I’m still alive. In those long-ago high school days, I recall thinking 40 years old was too old; I definitely wouldn’t make it that far. And here I am more than a quarter of a century past that mini-milestone—or as Lincoln would put it, fourscore and seven years ago—heading towards my eighth decade of revolutions around the sun. It’s not a major feat; many people have lived far longer, but it still kind of amazes me that I’ve made it this far.
That picture up top is of me around the age of three or four, I reckon, enjoying life in much simpler times. I’m not sure if I’m a cowboy or a farmer in that photo; I sure do look like a farmer, but I kind of fancied myself the cowboy type, at least at the ripe old age of four. I definitely recall having a red stick horse, the kind that was just the head with a mane and a stick attached to it (like this one to the left). I’m sure at some point when this photo was taken, I was “riding” around the house, probably making a lot of noise (the stick horses required you come up with your own whinnies), and more than likely being yelled at to keep it down, “Dammit, I’m watching my soaps.” Still I look happy, don’t I?
I was a reasonably happy kid (here’s the self-aggrandizement part, folks … feel free to leave), at least until I hit junior high and since then blissful happiness has kind of eluded me. I have my moments, and I’m proud to say I’m mainly content these days—as content as one can be in retirement when you consider a pandemic, a war in Europe caused by a dick-swinging Russian despot who is probably nuts, almost double-digit inflation, a couple of dwindling IRAs thanks to an unstable stock market, and a looming 9% rent increase. I actually toyed with the idea of moving to Seattle last month, even went so far as to go up and look at a couple of places on Bainbridge Island, which is lovely, but—as I discovered—not for me. It would have meant a substantial savings in rent, but also a total reboot of my life, voiding all the infrastructure I have here, including starting over with my medical coverage, my drivers license, insurance and banking, and leaving behind some friends who are near and dear to me. In the long run, I decided to forego this giant change—which would have included a major downsize—and bite the bullet, rent-wise, and stay where I am. After all, I live in paradise, right? And quite frankly, I’m too old for this “starting over” shit.
I would miss Coronado. I’ve grown quite accustomed to living here. One of the reasons I was interested in Bainbridge Island was I’ve figured out that island living is special. It’s like its own little ecosystem, and while things tend to be a tad more expensive (isolation has its perks and its price, I suppose), I love the feeling of living somewhere small and special. It’s like living in a whole other world, something self-contained and exclusive.
So anyway … for the foreseeable future, I’m stuck in this velvet-lined rut, which is not a bad place to be, not at all. Pardon me for overdoing the navel-gazing on this, my birthday. Perhaps it’s a fitting day for such thoughts.
Now, where did I put that stick horse? I need to go check the back 40.