Rainy Days and Birthdays

It’s a very rainy Monday here in Nashville. Coincidentally, today is my birthday.

So far, I’ve celebrated by going to the gym and the dentist. As I write to you, I’m listening to Dylan’s Blood On The tracks album…always a favorite.

To be honest, I was going to write about music, but then I looked out the window and my mind wandered. So mentioning the music I’m listening to is about the extent of the music references this week.

So. Another year older. I won’t tell you how old I am because everyone keeps telling me that “age is just a number.” No one ever said that when I was 20. Or 30. I started hearing it when I was 40—sporadically—but the frequency of people telling me that seems to have increased as that number grew.

 In the early 90s…Ajax, Ontario, Canada, with George Fox

In the early 90s…Ajax, Ontario, Canada, with George Fox

At this point in my life, I’m in better shape than I was when I was 20. Or 30. I’m in the best shape of my life right now. I work out five days a week, and my diet is far better than it was even a year ago. I eat a lot of fruit, salad, and lean protein…and every once in a while steak, barbecue, or burgers. Sometimes, pizza. I know if I’ve been eating too many salads because, ever so often, I’ll look down at the green leaves in front of me and think to myself, “I just can’t eat any more of this crap.” But I do.

 At Elgood’s Brewery in Wisbech, England ca 2005

At Elgood’s Brewery in Wisbech, England ca 2005

And that reality’s cold, slap in the face.

A lot of friends I’ve made in the countries I’ve lived in didn’t make it this far.

You see, I am lucky. I grew up when ugly people made the best music (and they still do!). And to be honest, I’d still rather seen concerts and hear music from the 70s and 80s artists I love.

So I guess it does come back to music, after all.

Maybe we can define our age by our music. And if the music makes you feel good, then the number is irrelevant. If Elvis Costello sounds as good now as he always has; if Iron Maiden still makes me want to turn my stereo up to 11; if Tom Petty still makes me feel free…then I guess it’s all good.

And I’m not sorry for ripping off The Carpenters for the title of this week’s blog.

Oh yeah…and the rain has ended.


The thing is, I’m addicted to the results of working out and eating right. And that, in a strange way, makes me feel younger. I work out at a gym where “grunting” is frowned upon—but I grunt getting in and out of my car now, so the gym will just have to deal with the noises I make now and then.


For the most part, birthdays don’t freak me out. But I admit that, sometimes, the number I’m turning does get me down. “How did this happen?!?” I ask myself—occasionally out loud and always incredulously. It’s usually my wife who says, “it happens to all of us—if we’re lucky.”






 Celebrating my birthday at a Nashville Soccer Club match with my wife Jo-Leah on Saturday night

Celebrating my birthday at a Nashville Soccer Club match with my wife Jo-Leah on Saturday night