This birthday is a big one and I’ll enjoy it just like all the others

birthday, birthday cake
A previous birthday with the grandkids.

By Bruce Stambaugh

When I was a youngster, I never liked having a birthday in December. From my perspective, my day always seemed to get caught up in the hubbub of the holidays. I suspect that was just my juvenile selfishness surfacing.

Fortunately, I eventually got over that attitude. Unlike others I know I thoroughly enjoy birthdays. If they get hidden in the holiday hoopla, so be it. I’m still determined to embrace each and every one. That wasn’t always my attitude even far beyond youthful facetiousness.

I remember when I turned 30. It wasn’t pretty. I got depressed. I couldn’t believe I was that old. I look back at that experience and chuckle. I’ve learned a lot since then. I’d trade that day for this one in a heartbeat if I could.

Christmas tree
The tree went up right in time for my birthday.
After that, birthdays became more or less routine celebrations unless someone pulled a surprise on me like some teachers did once. They thought it would be cute to post a larger than life sign in the front yard of the school announcing the principal’s 39th birthday. I played along and tried to be as good-natured about Jack Benny’s perpetual birthdate as I could.

Based on the comments of others older than me, it was turning 50 that I really dreaded. As it turned out, the watershed date proved a dud. I had already lost most of my hair by then anyhow.

It was turning 60 that really got me. It was as if a switch had been flipped and my body suddenly screamed at me to slow down, take a rest. My knees ached. What muscles I still had disappeared just like my hair had long before that. It was my body’s way of saying I really wasn’t 39.

There was one ironic quality about hitting the big 6 0. It bothered my son more than me. He had turned 30 seven months earlier. Nathan rightly recognized that he was exactly half my age and that would never happen again. That thought alone agonized him and energized me.

Now that I’m about to turn 70, I recognize and accept that I’m heading down the homestretch. I look back on my life with smiles aplenty. I’ve enjoyed this long ride and have many wonderful folks to thank for getting me to this point.

My wife leads that pack. Behind her are my son and daughter, their significant others, our three grandkids, my siblings, and a host of other family, friends, and coworkers. I’d be remiss to forget my late parents and in-laws. Regardless of our achievements, none of us passes through life alone.

birthday celebrations
Celebrating birthdays on a recent visit to Ohio.

As I look back, of course, I also recognize a few of my imperfections and mistakes. Others are better suited to identify those faults. Thank goodness that heartfelt apologies can create lasting lifetime friendships.

I’ve tried to learn from my errors. Now that I’m 70, I want to keep that learning process moving so that my old brain remains sharp and curious for as long as possible.

I recall much that has happened in my seven decades of walking this marvelous planet of ours. Both personal and universal, joyous and calamitous events have filled those years.

Birthdays are hallmarks of individual lives no matter the age or when they occur. I’m just grateful to be 70. That said I’ll aim to redouble my daily efforts to serve as wisely and productively as I can. At my age, that’s all that can be expected.

70th birthday, rosy sunset
Hoping for a rosy road ahead.

© Bruce Stambaugh 2017

Author: Bruce Stambaugh

Writer, marketer, columnist, author, photographer, birder, walker, hiker, husband, father, grandfather, brother, son, township trustee, converted Anabaptist, community activist, my life is crammed with all things people and nature and wonder. My late father gave me this penchant for giving and getting the most out of life, my late mother the courtesy, kindness, and creativity to see the joy in life. They both taught me to cherish the people I am with. I try and fail and try again.

12 thoughts on “This birthday is a big one and I’ll enjoy it just like all the others”

  1. I’m a December baby too! I used to hate when my mom would say this is for your birthday and Christmas . Money was tight so I understood, but like you when I was a youngster I felt cheated . Now I really what a blessing it is to be born in December . I share my birthday month with Jesus or better yet he shares his with me. It doesn’t get any better than that! As we get older we realize how blessed we are to be born in the month of December. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy slightly belated birthday, Bruce! I’m a December 17 birthday, so got school clothes for my birthday and the fun stuff a week later. It was hard having those two special days so close and then having to wait almost a whole year, while brother had the July picnic amid summer fun. The best part of being on this side of 70 is the freedom to say what you think … the rule is under 7 and over 70 can shoot from the hip!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Linda. Not belated at all. Today is THE day! I like that 7/70 rule. Most people would probably say that I’ve been following all of my life.
      Happy Holidays,


  3. Happy Birthday Bruce! As an end of November baby…I’ve had many birthdays fall on Thanksgiving. While sometimes kind of getting lost in the day – as an adult, it’s nice to have everyone at your birthday celebration, even if the candles are in a pumpkin pie! ENJOY YOUR DAY!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy Birthday Bruce. How you accomplish all that you do boggles my mind. You are an inspiration to us all (with a sneaky sense of humour and a pinch of sarcasm thrown in). Why does the ad for the energizer bunny come to mind? Enjoy your day.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Poignant and thoughtful post as always, let’s not say you’re going down the homestretch just yet….You have a book or two in you that I’m looking forward to reading!


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