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Making Sense out of Dollars

My birthday

Joel Lerner
Posted 9/23/22

  As I do each year, I celebrate my birthday by writing about my feelings on aging. Although my 86th birthday was five days ago, today is also my birthday. Are you confused? Don’t be. …

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Making Sense out of Dollars

My birthday


 As I do each year, I celebrate my birthday by writing about my feelings on aging. Although my 86th birthday was five days ago, today is also my birthday. Are you confused? Don’t be. Every day is my birthday because as I awake each morning, another day greets me, and it becomes my “birth day.”

Many occurrences have happened to me during my life but the most outstanding was my sickness in 1997 when I thought I bought the ticket to the big chariot in the sky. 

That near-death experience caused me to get my priorities in order: to see more family and friends, to develop an ongoing loving relationship with my significant other, to contribute to the lives of people and to simply hear the birds sing. Also, I now find that I have become kinder and less critical of myself. 

I have become my own friend. Yes, I have regrets. There are things I wish I had not done... things I should have done, but indeed, there are many things I am happy to have done. It all occurs in a lifetime.

The trouble is that we convince ourselves that life will be better once we are married, have a family, but then only frustrated because our children are just babies, and that all will be well when they are older. 

Then we become frustrated because they reach adolescence, and we must deal with teenage life, and we look forward to their going away to college. Then frustrated as the academic bills come in and we cannot wait for them to graduate and be on their own. We tell ourselves our life will be better when our spouse earns more money, when we have a better home and car, a real vacation, and when we finally retire. The truth is that there is no better time to be happy than right now. 

For the longest time many of us felt that life was really about to start. But there was always some obstacle along the way, an ordeal to get through, some work to be finished, some sickness to overcome, some financial transaction to complete.

 Then life would start. 

I finally came to understand that those obstacles were life and that there isn’t any road to happiness. Happiness is the road. So, enjoy every moment. Stop waiting for school to finish or to restart, to lose or gain weight, for work to begin or to end, for Friday evening or Sunday morning, or for Spring or Summer, for the first or the 15th of the month, stop waiting before deciding to be happy.

So, what am I saying? I realize that you may be facing financial hard times, COVID and other medical situations but you understand that whether it is the best of times or the worst of times, it is the only time we have now. 

Let's stop moaning about the economy, the elections, masking, medications, aches and pains, and the inevitable family problems. There comes a time in life, when you should begin to walk away from all the drama and people who create it. Starting today, surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right and pray for the ones who do not. Life is too short to be anything but being happy. Maybe life is not the party you planned for, but you are here and can still dance.



Being 86, I'm very fortunate to have the same person call me every day. He is from India and is very concerned about my car warranty.


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