It Works

Folks, I can’t recommend my pre-birthday ritual strongly enough. It took a bit of shuffling things around but spending an entire week doing nothing but stuff that I enjoy is totally worth it. I feel renewed, refreshed, rejuvenated, and deeply at peace.

You don’t have to wait for your birthday. Do it as “a celebration of spring” ritual. All you need to do is make a list of everything you really enjoy and plan for how you’ll fit it into a week’s time.

3 thoughts on “It Works

  1. Hey, Clarissa, I’m glad your “birthday week” worked out so well for you! But some of us, at least those for whom certain intermittent birthdays represent specific practical aging milestones, have a different perspective.

    I was very happy to turn 16 in April 1961, because it meant I could finally get a vehicle driving license. Happy to turn 21 in April 1966, because I was now officially an adult who had earned the right to vote (always Republican, of course), and who could control my own income and start a decades-long process of investing a bit of every paycheck in the stock market for the rest of my life. Glad when I graduated from The University of Tennessee College of Medicine at 25 and could tell my loving parents that I was moving thousands of miles away to Southern California to seek my fortune as a young doctor, far beyond their tender grasp. They both died promptly (not because of my behavior), and I owed no explanation to my surviving relatives and friends as to why five years later I decided to abandon a secure civilian position as a staff psychiatrist in Southern California and join the United States Air Force to travel all over the world and become fluent in several cultures and languages.

    I was happy to turn 52 in the late Nineties (because it meant that I could retire from the USAF after 21 years of service and get credit for 26 years [with a big pension boost] because I’d already been a doctor when I joined the military and got five extra years credit added as a bonus). Hitting 65 and going on Medicare was no big deal, because the DoD military medical care system had always taken perfect care of my health care needs since retirement, and the transition to Medicare was seamless. 70 was definitely a bonus year because by waiting to start taking Social Security benefits until the last possible year, my total annual SS payments are at the maximum allowed by law.

    My last year’s birthday at 75 was also a big deal. I was never called for jury duty anywhere in the world until I retired to Arizona, but over the past twenty-two years, the Superior Court of Maricopa County, Arizona, has tried to grab my ass FIVE times, forcing me to make the tedious drive through a ridiculous series of one-way, constantly turning streets to the very inconveniently located court house in the center of downtown Phoenix, only to be told after spending the entire day being moved from the holding area to a specific court room, “You’re excused because as a shrink because you have too much expertise in the child-molesting/statutory rape case on the docket.” (Now I’m officially an “elderly” old man, and the Court can’t call me, anymore.)

    My 76th birthday today was no milestone, except that I’m healthy and wealthy (and fully vaccinated with no ill effects) and finally beyond the reach of any forces that can potentially do me any significant annoyance or harm.

    So like you in your beautiful “The Capacity to Enjoy Nature” photographs, I also have a subtle “Mona Lisa” smile. :- )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “finally beyond the reach of any forces that can potentially do me any significant annoyance or harm”

      This gave me a great idea for a movie….

      Pre-credits set up, your 75th birthday party where you recount how you’re finally free of any outstanding commitments, you throw out all your old psychiatry manuals (except one that falls behind a chair).

      First act: through a yet-to-be determined set of circumstances you find and have to take care of a young boy, an undocumented lad who knows almost no English, despite your initial resistance you find yourself growing attached to him (as seen in a montage). He always calls you ‘Senor Draido’ you call him Speedy (after the mouse)
      At the end of the first act, you discover that the boy is a ringer, sent by a dangerous Mexican drug cartel because (for some reason or other) they need you to be part of their operations. You’re trapped!

      Second act: You have to carry out a bunch of dangerous missions for the cartel and before you know it you’re close to the breaking point. You try to resist but it’s futile the final straw is when Speedy shoves you to the ground…. you see your old manual lying behind the chair.

      Third act: You use all your expertise to drive Speedy to the psychological breaking point and then manipulate him in your plan to take down the cartel together. At a crucial juncture things go wrong but just as you’re about to be executed…. the cavalry (in the form of the police) show up and arrest everybody…. including Speedy.

      Denoument: You visit Speedy in jail and inform him you’ve pulled some string with your old military buddies and he’s being released to your custody before the trial. You leave the jailhouse together.

      post credit sequence: as you’re walking on the sidewalk you ask Speedy what he wants for lunch… he pushes you down, steals your wallet and runs away. Slow pan to your sadder but wiser face…..

      Yours, for free!

      Liked by 1 person

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