I recently celebrated a birthday – not news most of us do that once a year, but for some reason it made me think of what of I have seen and been part of and what I have to look forward to.
I was complaining that I have fewer days in front of me than I do behind me (unquestionably true at age 71) and got taken to task for saying it. “After what you have been through”, said a close friend, “you have everything in the world to look forward to and many years still to enjoy.” How true!
In what Sinatra called the “twilight” of his years, I am doing all the things I wanted to and yes doing them “My Way” too. With a passion for the American Cancer Society and ASC Cancer Action Network and the work they are doing (I am a 15 year cancer survivor) and for JARC I am fulfilling a desire to give back to the community that has been so good to me since I moved here thirty-three years ago. More importantly I am enjoying what I doing and in the case of JARC can see the effect of that in the faces and smiles of the men I am working with.
A political "junkie" since 1960 when I met a young Senator from Massachusetts who thought he could be President, I am still involved and hopefully in a good way. A fraternity brother of mine, talking about the close knit community in Metro Detroit at an Alumni Club meeting, commented to me “you were born and raised in New York and only came here in 1979, yet you know more people of note than most of us who lived our whole lives here”, because of being active in the community virtually from the time I got off the plane – or actually “out of the car”
At the Democratic State Convention in Lansing in September, I was reminiscing with Sander Levin about his 1982 run for Congress. A week later, I was sitting in a Senate office conference room in Washington and after completing the ACS/CAN business we had come to discuss, could not resist telling “the younger Levin brother” of that conversation. It doesn’t seem possible that so many years have gone by.
So looking back I have had the opportunity to do much and hopefully accomplish something that was worthwhile. Going forward I will continue to do what I love most. Enjoy the myriad of good friends who have been there for me when I needed them, a wife and family, including five grandchildren who I love dearly. And to continue to follow the passions I have, from community activity to writing, to genealogy and to politics.
True, I don’t know how much time I have but I look forward to it with joy and anticipation, putting aside what is inevitable, in favor of what I can do now and in the future.That then is the message - if you can look back and feel you have accomplished some good, then look forward to continuing doing good and improving on it; if you cannot, today is the first day of the rest of your life - start, it’s never too late.