2016-08-08 – Tomorrow is EightOh9 and I will be 65. (Yes, the title of my blog is my birthday.)
My father retired at 65. He was done with his life’s career and started a new life. He and my mom picked up everything and moved from the home of my childhood—Dayton, Ohio—to their retirement home in LA—Woodland Hills, to be exact.
There’s no radical change in the cards for me—not at this time, at least. I’ll just keep plugging away.
A couple days ago, a friend of mine turned 50. For 50 days before her birthday, she undertook a daily challenge, each day trying a new thing that she always wished to do. When I congratulated her on the undertaking, she asked if I would take a 65-day challenge. It was already too late, when she asked, to do 65 days of challenges before my birthday (we were less than 50-days out at the time).
But I gave the idea a lot of thought. Here’s what I came up with.
I’ve always been a person who tried new things. Maybe timidly, but I did them. I was 30 before I ever went skiing. In my 30s I tried acting. I was in my 40s before I ever went camping. Also in my 40s, I went from being a lifetime couch potato to a soccer coach (for my kids). I built a deck on my house without any construction experience. I was the president of a local school council. I’ve traveled to 44 states so far. And so on.
My challenge then, is not to do something new. My challenge is to raise my game on things I have always done—like being a writer, like being an artist, like being a musician, like being a bicyclist.
My work is cut out for me. I’ve been working on my novel for nine years. This is the year to finish it. Last year (as part of my effort to really stretch on my 11th draft of the novel), I began to adapt the novel for musical theater. This is the year to complete a draft and find a composer to work with.
This past spring, I began guitar lessons, so I don’t have to keep saying that I can only play five songs. (I always said that, if I wanted to learn a sixth song, I would have to forget one of the five.) And I’ve been getting on the piano more frequently, as well (learning some show tunes). Last year I painted a series of pictures to go into my translation of the Passover Haggadah. (You can actually see that here.)
And I’ve always loved riding my bike. I’ve been working on that as well this summer—as a break between my job and my projects. I ride five days a week and yesterday I got my weekend rides up to 25 miles.
There’s a lot to do. My father retired and moved across the country when he turned 65. I’m staying put.