Four dozen years ago, in my first Year of the Dragon, I began a journey. I breathed my first breath. I probably cried, maybe even hollered. I saw light, or probably just blobs of colors and contrasting brightness. I heard sounds. I felt someone hold me. My parents gave me a simple three letter label: Jon. Simple, yet complex, and either ahead of the times or a sign of the times (hey, it was the sixties, man).
I began my seventeen thousand five hundred thirty-third day about like every other day in recent memory. My cell phone alarm woke me with the rock organ chords to “I’m Okay” by Styx from the Pieces of Eight album. I snoozed once, just because it was my birthday. The second time I heard the rock organ, I cancelled the alarm and took a peak outside. Clear skies! The best birthday present ever! I could finally try out my new binoculars. Wow! I could see at least three of Jupiter’s moons and several of the nebulae in Orion’s Sword. Oh, and the Pleiades looked might fine as well. I avoided the waning but still very bright Harvest Moon so I would not blind myself before the sun came up.
The riders of my vanpool got together behind my back (literally) and all signed the card at right. I’m not quite sure how they managed to do this without me knowing, since as far as I can tell, they don’t get together outside the confines of the van, and I’m usually driving said van. Just another one of life’s little mysteries, I suppose.
But that’s beside the point. I wish to give a shout out to my riders here and say “Thank You!” for thinking of me. You all make the beginnings and endings of my workdays more enjoyable. I look forward to each and every commute with you and the traffic adventure that is I-70.
I also received cards early, from my father and my daughter recently, but forgot to take photos of them to share here. I woke up to several posts wishing me happy birthday via Facebook and email. My dad also called to wish me well. I called my husband to remind him to wake up for a doctor’s appointment and the very first thing he said to me when he answered his cell phone as an enthusiastic “Happy Birthday!”
I received a touching email note from my Aunt Melody that included her recollections of that long cold night in early October, 1964. She stayed up all night with my mother (her older sister), waiting for me to be born. She remembered how cold it was in the nursery and how they forgot to warm up the incubator before placing me in it. Good thing I developed my own internal heat source, which my husband shamelessly takes advantage of during the long winter nights.
I will miss having lunch with my retired co-worker and friend, Marge, today. She traveled late last week for a funeral and won’t return for a few more days. That makes two years in a row when journey’s end encroached on celebrating the journey’s start. I know that will become increasingly common in the years ahead.
I am reasonably confident I will see a fifth Year of the Dragon in 2024, and probably my sixth in 2036. I am more health conscious than ever, thanks to my employer’s Health & Wellness programs and benefits. I even signed up for one of their free exercise classes this month. I joined the strength training class available over the lunch hour on Mondays and Thursdays. Since I don’t want to invest (or store) weights, bands, balls, rings, etc. at home, I thought I should take advantage of this class to help keep my bones healthy and strong. I want to stave off osteoporosis. I continue other exercising (Yoga, aerobic, balance) with Wii Fit Plus and Apollo takes me for moonlit evening walks most days.
If I can keep this up, and make progress to a better, healthier version of me, then perhaps I might even see my seventh Year of the Dragon, in 2048, at the ripe old age of eighty-four. Both of my grandmothers made it past that mark. Here’s hoping I will too!