On Your 70th Birthday

To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old.  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Dear New/Old Friend,

Let’s not buy each other presents in celebration of these decades lived.  Our history is behind us.  Our gift is our presence in each others’ lives today.

When I look back at our school photos, I am questioning…what happened that was so important that we lost touch? And why didn’t we know at the time that we each had worries and problems and secrets that were hidden behind the facade of joyful youth?

Although we have photos that show our joy and enjoyment at that time in our lives., I see in our senior pictures that we weren’t carefree even then.   Each one of our faces reflect a hint of reserve, a touch of sadness, or trepidation.  From the time some of us met in grade school until we left each along the way, we shared bits of life and love that are great stories now. Yet we can’t share memories for long without also revealing the stories that we kept to ourselves in those long ago days.

Those stories have value now.  It is important to us that we are known for who we really are.  In order  to have that deep knowledge we must begin by baring our souls about a time that shaped us and shaped our capacity to be friends now.

And we’ll be even better friends now.  A relationship with any one of us will be by informed consent rather than because of the myriad reasons that we reached out for each other in our teens.  Without benefit of cosmetic surgeries, (I think) we greet each other with faces that show the lives we have led and the people we have become.

And so I can’t regret the time we haven’t shared.  I’m just grateful that through life and death we have been brought together again.

In a way this is our carefree time.  Because we still have the capacity for rollicking laughter as well as silly giggles.  We can cry openly instead of hiding in the bathroom stalls.  We can offer support to each other in our physical or emotional struggles.  And we will each follow the others’ joys and successes with love and appreciation .

Our history creates the gift of rewarding years ahead.  That’s enough.


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