With a Smile

Yes, I am getting older, as my mind and body are telling me. Later this year, I will be the first of my numerous cousins to cross the threshold of 70!

I have my “senior moments” where I go into a room and forget what I went in there for. My sleep schedule is interrupted at night because I have to get up and pee. My vision is now augmented by bifocals. My conversations with my contemporaries have changed over the years; now they include retirement, grandchildren, AARP discounts, and our health issues. Growing up, my memory was such that my nickname was Computer; these days, the “computer” needs a backup and an external hard drive. Certain foods I enjoyed eating as a young man I can no longer tolerate now. I can still “bust a move” on the dance floor, but I don’t stay out there all night as I did at 21.

With all that, I remember a quote from a Dhar Mann video: “While you are focused on what you don’t have, there are people who are wishing for what you do have.” Hence, I am taking a page from Ma’s playbook when she reached her 90th birthday, and I will greet 70 “with a smile.” After all, what we give is what we receive.

I am grateful for the gift of writing and my imagination, a craft I am regularly honing. As we speak, another idea for a male/male romance novel is taking shape, and so I have three novels in the queue; I love it.

I am grateful for all the amazing writers/authors I have come in contact with over the years, and the stories they share.

I am grateful for six years as a cancer survivor. Brothas, if you are 40 and older, make sure you get a PSA test periodically for prostate cancer. When my prostate was removed, I was blessed that they got all of the cancer.

I am grateful for the offbeat sense of humor I inherited from my late father, the man who always had my back when I pursued my dream of becoming a novelist. Dad, you are unforgettable.

I am grateful for my health and the medical support system that helps to maintain it.

I am grateful for the 6-year-old-laptop that has seen all the novels and articles I wrote on it, patiently waiting for me to upgrade it so it can retire.

I am grateful for my husband’s love of 11 years and my son, a reality that seemed an impossible dream for me as a young brotha of 22.

I am grateful for the opportunities that have been given to me through such individuals as Wyatt O’Brian Evans, Insight News, and the Minnesota Black Authors Expo, to be a voice of support for Black authors and poets. I never dreamed that one day, I would become the role model I wished that I had as a Black SGL man of 18.

I am grateful for the day-to-day blessings of food, a home, clothes, utilities, the Internet, libraries, my car, books to read, and especially the fact that I woke up this morning to see this day. I take far less for granted now.

I am grateful for the valuable time I get to spend with my 91-year-old mother, and the love and wisdom she shares. Would you believe we like the same soap operas?

I am grateful for my church family. The very church I grew up in has now become the inclusive church where I can serve God in full authenticity, and I give thanks for that.

These are but some of the reasons this Old School New Kid will be greeting 70 “with a smile.” And I am grateful for the knowledge that we are never too old to follow our dreams.

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Believe in dreams and never give up.

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