70

By

Leonard Zwelling

Time flies when you’re having fun. That has got to be the explanation for the fact that on Sunday, July 22, I turned 70 years old. The party was a great one put on by my wife, kids and daughter-in-law at a brewery (where else?). That took place the week before. But the real day is Sunday when I flew to Hawaii for a break from the Houston heat for some more of the subtropical kind.

It is, as Simon and Garfunkel said all those years ago, “terribly strange to be 70.”

First, you can remember when your parents were 70. They were old then. They’re dead now. No comfort in that.

Second, in every way on the physical plane, your best days are behind you. Someone once said getting old is going to bed well and getting up sick. Maybe. But so far, so good. I get up and feel about the same way that I did when I went to bed.

Third. I like to think that I am smarter than I used to be. I hope so, because I did a lot of foolish things when I was younger. I don’t want to do that again.

Fourth, there’s no reason not to try new stuff. I am retired from formal working, but write every day—the blog, the novels and the screenplays. Nothing is paying yet, but I am always hopeful that the big break is just around the corner. Maybe.

But the best part of being 70 is that you are living on someone else’s time. You got what you thought you were offered when you thought about it at all. Three score and ten. That’s pretty good and very fair. Everything else is gravy and will be treated as such.

Do I have regrets? I once knew someone who said he never regretted anything nor failed at anything. I have many regrets—mostly about the way I treated people. Or mistreated them. I have failed many times unlike my past acquaintance. I have also had more than my fair share of success and thus while I may have personal regrets, I have few professionally other than the times I should have moved on, but delayed. Those tended to fix themselves very quickly anyway.

Looking back on 70 years is a long gaze. Looking back on the professional part of my life leaves me wondering what I was thinking at any given moment and how lucky I was that I often did before I thought. I am not sure I would have tried a lot of the stuff that proved rewarding if I had overthought it.

Do I have any advice for younger people?

Not really. Just try to do for a living what you like to do and if you can’t, do what you like to do when you are not making a living.

Have fun. Enjoy the ride. It’s brief.

Leonard Zwelling