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.


  1. Pike thompson on April 29, 2017 at 11:46 am

    Nicely thought Sir..I am a year behind you and am thinking those same thoughts. I try to accept or at least not get upset with things I can’t change. My compassion for those struggling is higher for some reason.
    I’m trying to be healthier but lots of damage is done !!
    Thanks for your thoughts and photos..

  2. Anna on April 29, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    Very good way of looking at the positive…. ….gave me pause to think and re-evaluate.

  3. Frank Canetti on April 29, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    You’re a good man Don. Happy Birthday! Glad I can call you friend. 👍🏽

  4. Mary on April 29, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    Happy birthday, my friend. Welcome to the rusty years!

  5. Arlene sundby on April 29, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    Well said Don. Wish this would take hold everywhere we would be a better world. Happy Birthday

  6. Jeanette Shelly on April 29, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    Thank you! 70 is good and I enjoyed your blog. Have a wonderful day!

  7. Sally Kelm on April 29, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Love your article on turning 70, Don! Your are very brusque and hope others learn from that and your “happenings” in your lifetime. The world, as it IS, should come together, as you say and for crying out loud, work together to commit to a better place for us all. My prayers and dreams all point in that direction, wether it will be done in my lifetime, or another, all I can say is PLEASE, PLEASE make it happen.
    Your incredible achievements thus far, prove to be miraculous and magical, all at the same time. Therefore, you should be HAPPY and I am proud and grateful to call you my friend and coach!
    Keep on keeping on!! Make it a great life!

  8. Susie Goppert on April 29, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Well said dear friend. Your book spoke well to the same things. Recently organized a cousin reunion in Vegas. My oldest (75) and youngest (55) were there, with many more…. wow! Putting more in my plus column…Front loading as much as possible. Your book was a great reminder!

  9. Mary on April 29, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    Welcome to the rusty years!

  10. Michael Weaver on April 29, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Aloha Don , welcome to the 70’s club! I turly enjoyed reading your blog and found it to be inspiring! Although my introduction to this 7th decade of my life ushered in some unexpected health and physical challenges I, like you, have always endeavored to concentrate my focus on the “Positive colum”. Life is too short and time is too precious to do otherwise! Aloha Nui to you and Linda!

  11. Lynn Ross on April 29, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    You are quite the man at 70. Love your pictures and plan to read the books you have written. Enjoy your life to the fullest. Happy Birthday

  12. George Tocquigny on April 29, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    Happy Birthday, Don, and thanks for all of that great wisdom! Keep it coming….I’m right behind you!

  13. Terry Tuthill on April 30, 2017 at 10:59 am

    Well said Don. I do the 70th birthday in early July and will have some friends and family join me and my good wife of 42 years now at a small soiree in San Diego. My son gets promoted to Lt. Colonel in the Air Force and maybe he can in some way assist in getting this all too screwed up world a little less unscrewed…….maybe. Yes, 70 years on this little planet. We are writers now, me a new one and enjoying it a good deal. Retired and yes to the IS and not the rear view look of what could have been. Life goes fast, and frankly that is a good thing. Your example is a wonderful word to the wise….work hard, have goals, no BS on what is needed to adapt, and accept loses and appreciate victories, without gloating it over others. Be well and enjoy the ride remaining, you deserve it.

  14. Lana on April 30, 2017 at 8:18 pm

    As usual you have a way with words…words that all of us approaching or over 70 can relate to!!!
    I have always admired your approaching spirit. I passed the threshold of 70. Soon to be 71 and you are right …acceptance is a struggle BUT
    I embrace your ageless spirit and am committed to never having a completed bucket list, being the better person, living and loving to my fullest capacity, thanking God for every sunrise and sunset.
    Happy 70 Don! Keep sharing your adventures.

  15. Carolyn Krause on May 1, 2017 at 7:32 am

    Well said, for in whatever decade we may fall

    A beautiful reminder for us all; to live a full and happy life.

    I am not one for paper, but I can’t wait to hit print , for a daily reminder of a quest for happiness.

    Happiest of birthdays to you, Don. Thank you for this lovely gift.