Thoughts on Turning Seventy

Now that I have completed seventy earth orbits I feel it is time for some reflections.

Seventy years is the start date of the planned obsolescence of the human body, as is stated in Psalm 90:10 “The span of our life is seventy years, or, given the strength, eighty years.”

I can tell you that my body started failing well before its warranty ran out. I’ve had a hip replacement and a double hernia operation, my prostate is enlarged, I have hearing aids, an essential tremor (I’d prefer non-essential, thank you), and I have arthritic thumbs, bad shoulders and a bum knee. In short, at seventy, I’m usually stiff in all the wrong places…

By my calculation, I have urinated approximately 180,000 times (based on 7 pisses/day x 365 days/year x seventy years), defecated at least 40,000 times (1.5 shits/day x 365 days/year x seventy years) and put food down my gullet more times than is possible to count. These pipes are getting old but, danken got, so far everything in this regard remains in working order!

So: I’m relatively healthy and still have more than half my wits about me. I’ve helped to grow a wonderful family that now includes two living daughters, three sons-in-law, five grandkids and a cat. I love them all – even the %#$& cat – and I’m most fortunate to have found love again in the person of my sweet wife. Although my family and I have weathered some very challenging years, nonetheless I feel blessed by what I have in my relationships with family and friends.

As a Jew, I have endeavored to live my life according to God’s own purported words concerning Avraham’s descendants: “to keep the way of YHVH by doing what is just and right.” To that end, I have observed the mitzvot in ways that are personally meaningful and helpful in keeping me spiritually focused on staying connected with the One, YHVH.

My career has been diverse and mostly meaningful but I realize that the books and articles I’ve written are my primary legacy. Through my interpersonal relationships and interactions, my various jobs and my volunteer work, and my writings, I feel that in my own small way I will leave this world a little better – at least temporarily.

I recall the words of a samurai in some movie I saw many years ago: “Today is a good day to die.” That is exactly how I feel on turning seventy. For me, any day now is a good day to die – just spare me the pains of dying.

To be sure, there are many things I still want to do, and many experiences I still wish to have, and many relationships I hold dear, but that bucket list is never-ending. There will always be more food to eat, more piss to pass, more shits to be shat, more sex to have, more stuff to read and walks to take, more occasions to commemorate, more love to share, more relationships to deepen, more people to help, more causes to champion, and more places to visit.

At seventy, I realize that life is just like that: there is always more to it. But, by and large, I’ve done just about the best I could with my life and I am content. I am ready.

Death: the final frontier. To boldly go where everyone before has gone.

You, whom I will leave behind, whenever death comes to me, be happy for me.


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