Turning 58: Another Trip Around the Sun

What do you say about turning 58 other than - “how the hell did I get here so fast…”  I realize that’s a silly question, but I’m still trying to wrap my head around this backside of the 50’s as I stare into the future 60’s - 730 days from now.

It seems only yesterday I was playing with my children - now I’m playing with grandchildren and realizing my knees don’t hold up so well on the hardwood floor. The reality of life - and all the inevitable changes that occur - are happening.

So I’m getting older. The truth is, I like getting older. This wasn’t always the case. In my 20’s I felt immortal. In my 30’s I couldn’t imagine 40. In my 40’s - 60 felt ancient. Now, I simply don’t worry about it.

In honor of this big day, I sat down and wrote out 58 things I now know to be true - sort of life lessons. If I’m lucky and I get to 59 next year, I’ll add another observation to the list. I’ll keep going for as long as I keep going. And if I’m lucky, I’ll create a really long list.

Here they are, Burcham’s life lessons...

  • If I want to feel pretty, a quick trip to Wal-Mart does the trick.

  • The little things in life turn out to be the big things.

  • Your kids aren’t you - they need to make their own path.

  • Religion that requires belonging and believing what you are told isn’t transforming. It’s a cult.

  • God has a great sense of humor - just look around.

  • Gratitude multiplies happiness.

  • Why try to fit in when you were born to stand out.

  • Speak even if your voice shakes.

  • Vulnerability is not weakness.

  • There is no common ground in fiction.

  • We are more defined by what comes out of our mouth than what goes in it.

  • Before you climb the ladder of success, make sure it’s leaning against the right building.

  • Infatuation is not love.

  • You are in control of your own heaven or hell.

  • It’s better to master one thing than to be just average at many.

  • Narcissists make bad friends.

  • Art makes me happier than new clothes.

  • You are stronger and more resilient than you think.

  • Most of the people who condemn you in the name of God wouldn’t recognize him if they met him...

  • You’ll never know what opportunities lie behind the next door till you walk through the one in front of you.

  • Live life looking forward, learn it’s lessons by looking backward.

  • A meal is nicer with red wine.

  • I’ve outgrown some friends. That’s totally ok.

  • Grey hair beats no hair.

  • I prefer real books to e-books.

  • Music playing in the house makes me smile.

  • Lying is not okay. Ever.

  • We all need a few guilty pleasures.

  • Being a grandparent is way better than being the parent.

  • I hope to never again set foot in a mall. Ever.

  • A “food court” is not food.

  • Optimism is healthier than pessimism.

  • Drunks at parties are not fun. (Never be that person.)

  • Going to bed by 9:00 PM is awesome.

  • “Move on” is great advice.

  • A genuine smile can also be seen in the eyes.

  • Buying stuff doesn’t make the emptiness go away.

  • Saying thank you matters.

  • What works for me might not be right for you. That’s OK.

  • “What’s your story?” is more interesting than “What do you do?”

  • Fulfillment is the measure of success.

  • Box wine is a sacrilege.

  • There’s no dress rehearsal in life - you get one shot. Make it count.

  • After 30 - few people change their behavior.

  • You will fail if you are brave enough.

  • Trying to out run criticism is a full time job.

  • People are rarely who we want them to be. That’s not their fault.

  • Confidence is inspiring. Arrogance is offensive.

  • Grief is love with nowhere to go.

  • The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.

  • An argumentative person is simply showing their lack of self confidence.

  • Love heals - time doesn’t.

  • Control is an illusion.

  • What looks like luck is usually a lot of hard work.

  • Make memories of moments.

  • The secret to success: Wake up, Clean up, Dress up and Show up.

  • When one door closes, another door opens. Unfortunately we often spend so much time staring at the door that has closed with regret that we cannot even see the door that has opened.

  • You only get a birthday if you’re alive on this beautiful planet. So celebrate.

I am living in the decade of reality: the very real sense that I’ve lived a full lifetime - and the knowledge that there’s less time, not more, has come crashing in on me. Today I’m reflecting on what I have I done and what am I going to do with what’s left of me.

I am looking at my life through a prism that blurs certain things, but makes others — like the end of things — more acute. Carpe diem takes on new meaning.

But what the hell - it sure beats the alternative. Time to buckle up and make another trip around the sun.