Celebrating birthdays

My recent birthday was fairly normal as birthdays go. The family excused me for some of the day to take in a college basketball game, and the good guys won. The fun is in the winning, and that got the day off to a great start. The hoops game was followed by a nice birthday dinner and cake topped off by plenty of presents to last me another year. A good time was had by all.

For whatever reason, this particular birthday got me to thinking. When we were all a bit younger, birthdays were always a time of looking ahead. Ah! next year I will be 16! or I can’t wait until I am 21! Not so now. We enjoy looking back. And, believe it or not, America is getting older with me. Every 20 seconds another person reaches 65.

No one really wants to get old, and yet most people want to live a long time. My mother often told me the longest period of her life was the 10 years between the time she was 39 and 40. Of course, I had just turned a teenager ,which probably made that year overly long.

But there is a good side to turning a year older. We have many examples of people reaching new heights in that period commonly called “old age” Tintoretto, the Italian artist, painted “Paradise” when he was 72. Thomas Edison conducted pioneering studies on the production of synthetic rubber at the age of 83. At 78, Benjamin Franklin went to France in his country’s service and wrote his biography at 80.

Here in Alabama, the wonderful novel To Kill a Mockingbird has a golden birthday this year. The Alabama Humanities Foundation has several events planned in recognition of Harper Lee’s treasure. Take a look to see how you can be a part of this birthday celebration.

Written by: Paul L.