Observations on Thirty-Six Trips Around the Sun
by Tony Tone
September 06, 2019

Last Thursday, September 5th, I turned thirty-six-years old. That’s a total of 13,140 days, which is a staggering amount when you do the math and have that staring back at you. I was going to do even more math to see how many hours, minutes, seconds, but you should know by now that I’m really, really bad at math. It’s my position that we should celebrate every birthday like it was a ‘milestone’ year. Why save the fun for when we turn sixteen, twenty-one, and forty? 

I’m not saying that we need to have an elaborate party, but at least enjoy the day. I spent my thirty-sixth birthday with family and ended the evening watching my beloved Chicago Bears lose to my wife’s favorite Green Bay Packers. That was a rough ending to an otherwise wonderful day. 

I’m probably not the only person that gets a bit more nostalgic around my birthday. I found myself reflecting on just how quickly time seems to go between the aforementioned ‘milestone’ birthdays. 

When I turned sixteen years old, all I wanted to do was drive the family station wagon around town. Growing up in the Chicago suburbs, we weren’t legally able to obtain a license until the age of sixteen. Not only did I learn how to drive on a giant station wagon, but my first car was a 1985 Buick Riveria. I should mention that Buick burned a case of oil per week and probably needed a new engine. It didn’t matter because the freedom of driving yourself that first time is something I will always remember. Plus, I kept a case of oil in the trunk. 

I can vividly remember my twenty-first birthday, for instance, and the $60 I lost at the old Rhythm City riverboat casino. Losing money that night was disappointing, but walking onto the casino boat and proudly presenting my driver’s license confirming that I was indeed twenty-one years old was rewarding.

 Fast forward to the last time I was at a casino and I got the, “You’re good, go ahead wave.” That was a tough moment for me. It was the first time I did not have to present my ID. I begged the security guard “Please, check my ID you don’t know for sure that I’m twenty-one.”

I’m comfortable with my age and I had no problem answering coworkers last week who were inquiring “How old are you today?” I’m happy with where I find myself at thirty-six years old, and I feel proud of the things I’ve accomplished and the family I get to call my own. After all, I’m planning on making my thirty-sixth year a good one.

 Celebrate your birthday, call your family members that are doing the same or that friend you’ve had your entire life. I can promise you they will appreciate it. Or, at the very least, wish them a ‘Happy Birthday’ on Facebook. That just might be the one good thing about that social media site–it will not allow you to miss someone’s birthday!

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