First, I would like to acknowledge that I should have been dead a long time by now. I survived a horrific truck accident when I was 14. Thank you God. I survived several near drownings while surfing in waves way too big for my swimming skills. Thank you God. I survived cancer a couple of times. Thanks once more. And, I have survived my pretty much fearless…pretty much stupid…let’s-try-everything life style for seven decades. I am both amazed and thankful.

Got to admit that I did not expect to be wearing bright shiny braces on my bottom teeth on my 70th birthday. Did not see that coming.

So, I arrive at 70 thankful for my life and for the experiences that have come my way. I am a fortunate man and I know it.

I find myself surprised at how quickly life passes. I note that every time I learn of the death of friend or some celebrity that I have “known” forever or some brand that has been a part of my life since day one…like Sears. Turns out that things come and things go…us included…and that’s just the way it is. I am at peace with that reality…don’t like it, but fully accept it.

I have also come to understand that all things eventually turn to shit…buildings, bodies, minds, countries, institutions. That…I do not like. I hate that I am not the man I use to be…physically…mentally. I hate it. I also hate to see the same thing happen to those closest to me. I want the best for them…and for myself…and yet, that is not the way it works. The way it works is… we need to work hard to keep things together and learn to embrace the change that comes our way. That last part might be the hardest thing in life…embrace the IS….embrace the new reality and find our way to happiness in that state.

At 70, I am intolerant of the intolerant…the dyed-in-the-wool Democrats who actually hate and do not respect the Republicans…the Muslims who hate all non-Muslims…the whites that hate the blacks…any one who has a set of beliefs that leaves no room for anyone else who was raised or prefers to think otherwise.   It is one planet. We are all equals. I cannot fix how screwed up this world has become. However, I will do my best to not make the situation any worse than it is. I hope that I always have the guts to look into my own actions and thoughts to see if I am a part of the problem or helping to work toward a solution. If there is room for improvement in my actions, or yours, let us all take the path that leads to improvement.

At the beginning of my seventh decade on this earth…the thing I find that matters the most is HAPPINESS. Making moves to improve my health, to improve my living situation, to be a better neighbor, husband, father or friend and to make the effort to do the things I use to just dream about doing…those are the things that make me happy. I try my best to always point myself toward HAPPY. I am not 100% successful at doing so, but I am happy with how often I am able to do so.

So…I guess I arrive at 70 the way I have arrived at every other age in my life thus far…with some things in the plus column and some things in the minus column and a decision to make. The decision is…How much time, effort and emotion do I want to focus on that minus column? Particularly in view of the fact that some of those minuses are highly unlikely to change no matter what I do at this point. My decision has always been…let’s focus on that plus column and make the best of whatever time we have left on the planet.

So, that said, I am off to the beach. Aloha.