The best birthday ever!

Tomorrow December 11th I turn 75 years of age. I feel it is to be a momentous event.  Not because I or anyone else will be celebrating the day in any remarable fashion. Currently I have only to get my car serviced. I just like the alignment of the count with three-quarters a century. To me it sounds highly profitable. Indeed it is. Which is why I want to write about it.  I would like to record my reasons for thinking so. I’ll start with the easiest details first.

Allow me therefore to begin by considering my things. Why things should be important is naturally a matter of debate among right-thinking people.  But on balance I must confess that the things in my life are not entirely ignorable.  Indeed if I were to ignore them I would only be foisting a deceit of false morality upon you, dear Reader.  Now having said that, upon reflection, I will say that things haven’t always preoccupied me as they now do or as they have lately done (that is, for the past 60 years roughly).

I recall for example when I was under the age of fourteen (that is, before I went to boarding school) the most peculiar things (my mother’s costume jewellery) evoked a strong interest.  It must have been the bling element; that is, the glitter and sparkle. Curiously though I only wanted to give the jewellery to girl friends for their enjoyment. I would initially toy with the jewels, examining the colour of the stones and the mechanism of clasps for instance, perhaps wondering how I would wear them, on what occasion, with what clothes. But I never hung onto them.

I cannot recollect how I came to see a collection of jewellery in the first place but it was by whatever circumstance readily available, not secreted anywhere.  It may only have been a box of left-over brooches and rings and other such things which my mother no longer cared about.  My mother’s jewellery was not negligible.  She liked the good stuff.  I remember vividly that her collection of Georg Jensen jewellery was stolen.  She had relied upon the movers in Stockholm to pack her belongings in large wooden crates for transport on a ship back to Canada.  I believe it was when the goods reached a port in either England or Montréal that the theives struck.  They had been tipped off by some unscrupulous element of the original packers.  My mother knew this to be so because the thieves cut open the exact crate in the exact corner of the crate where the jewellery had been stored. I have no memory of what if any insurance was available.  Apart from what I related she never talked about the theft.

Jewellery like cars have ornamented my life. Apart from some sterling silver bracelets and a chain, and several wrist watches and a pocket watch which I still retain, I haven’t kept any of my old jewellery or cars. The gold jewellery I now wear is so native to my being that I hardly think of it as jewellery but rather as necessary appendages. My devotion to historic furnishings is of the same character; namely, I have sold it or otherwise departed from it. The conclusion is that except for the little we have retained in our small apartment, all the ancient belongings (including a sizeable wardrobe) have gone by the way. This isn’t to suggest I no longer like things. I still do.  But I am now passionate only about my current belongings.  I derive immense satisfaction from them. I like to think of them as the best of what I had; viz., the rugs, paintings, furnishings, accessories, dishes and glassware, etc. Recently I have bought several items to wear.  All of them are designed to accommodate my apparel necessities.  It is all very basic, just enough to meet present needs and usage.

Herewith another reason why I am so intoxicated by my 75th birthday.  Though it resembles a “thing”, I speak in this instance of our present dwelling.  It is a small rental apartment in what I consider to be an eminently ideal location; namely, high land at the end of a riparian street, nearby a lovely municipal park along the identical river; and our own 2nd floor apartment looking across a meadow towards boudless fields while positioned with an unobstructed view upriver to the Village of Appleton (itself a model environment and home to the clubhouse of the Mississippi Golf Club, one of the oldest clubs in the Province of Ontario, going back to 1915 when established on the former Patterson Farm).

A further reason I welcome my 75th birthday is our combined state of well-being.  Neither of us has anything other than the usual complaints of old age. I realize health should have been at the top of the list but suffice for the moment that it figures as an uncompetitive advantage.

Another matter upon which I daily reflect is my gratitude to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for my parents and sister and my partner.  Of course I care too about my many other relations, including especially the woman to whom I was once engaged to be married. This roundup includes my current friends (which covers all the friends I’ve ever had except those no longer whinnying among us).  I qualify the friendships by excluding those who are dead only to illustrate that I have maintained an active interest in every friend I ever had.There are some with whom I have lost touch; but otherwise I have not jettisoned anyone for any reason. Friendship is extremely important to me.  And I am very proud to say I have maintained those relationships, sometimes momentarily contrary to choice but otherwise never long enough to be contrary to desire.

My next ground for enthrallment upon my 75th birthday is strangely my lack of religious belief.  Here I must explain that I am not entirely negative about the mystery of life; but I haven’t any conviction whatsoever that the Christian or any other religion is either true or paramount or uncompromising.  Religion – as mighty as the topic is – is not the sanctuary of any one belief in what Masonry correctly describes (in my opinion) as the Great Architect of the Universe. Nobody in their right mind would have the pretense to deny the mystery of life and the unfathomable vastness of the universe.  To ascribe that mystery to the Great Architect of the Universe is merely to acknowledge life’s mystery, from which there are no other imperatives than those we prefer to ascribe to our individual morality. But there most certainly isn’t any belief sufficient to condone the burning of women as witches or the beheading of others as infidels.  The absurdity, greed and vulgarity of organized religion is not something to which I attach.

Finally I am grateful to be turning 75 years of age because I am now enjoying every moment of my waking life.  No longer having to work for a living; having now only to occupy myself day and night with what I wish to do; having exciting moments to anticipate; and the indisputable pleasure of driving my new car; this is what makes it all work.  There could be nothing worse than having no appetite for life.  My appetite includes amateur photography and writing this stuff in addition to what I have already mentioned. Otherwise, no regrets. There is nothing I have left undone which I perceive ought to have been done.

It’s after midnight.  The grandfather clock just chimed midnight. So it’s official; I made it!