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IN THE SUBURBS: At 72 I decided to be more introspective than retrospective

August 3, 2016

My 72 birthday is Monday. I like to think I don’t look 72 but the mirror shows otherwise; and I certainly don’t act 72. Unfortunately, however, every morning as I crawl out of bed, I feel 72, because the body doesn’t move quite as fast as it used to. As our now two energetic dogs are pulling me to the backyard, my mind is saying, “Why isn’t the butler walking you guys?” I often wonder how I ever walked four as I think about our beloved Queenie and Sadie, now gone.

This year, I decided to check out others in this Aug. 8 slot and discovered that there were actors, singers, physicists, political activists among the many. Dustin Hoffman and Connie Stevens share my day and should sound familiar to most readers even though they are older than me by 8 and 7 years respectively.

I am a Leo. In a nutshell, my horoscope tells me my supposed strengths are that I am creative, passionate, generous, warm-hearted, cheerful, and humorous. I would agree. Among my weaknesses, I am arrogant, stubborn, self-centered, lazy and inflexible.

While I don’t agree with all of those, I think my wife would definitely concur, except for the arrogance card, I hope.

Leos tend to like theater, taking holidays, being admired, expensive things, bright Colors and fun with friends. And Leos dislike being ignored, facing difficult reality and not being treated like a king or queen. I certainly don’t feel like a king, so I’ve rarely if ever, expect that kind of treatment.

The last important traits I found were that Leos are usually natural born leaders, can be dramatic, creative, self-confident, dominant and extremely difficult to resist and they can achieve anything they want, whether it’s about work or time spent will family and friends.

So now you have my MO in a nutshell, but not completely. As I dodder off into the dark side of seniority, I like to feel that I’ve become a lot more compassionate toward others, don’t see myself running for office and don’t mind being ignored, occasionally at least. I do love theater and travel and hope that my wife and I can do more if my health remains strong.

My wife and kids would probably say I’m too dramatic and might substitute controlling for leadership, but they’ve forgiven me a hundred times over. And I’m actually pretty low key at work, preferring to let others take the lead.

But I am passionate and unafraid to speak out about issues like racism, domestic violence, best treatment of animals and treating everyone with respect and dignity. That’s how my parents were and I’m glad that I have inherited their legacy.

And I value and treasure my friendships and I am so grateful for all the people who are part of my life and our lives. I would hope my friends know they can always count on me for anything.

In researching those born on Aug. 8, The Society for Recognition of Famous People points out that, “People born on August 8 are determined folks who lay much emphasis on responsibility and practicality…Astrologically, individuals born on August 8 are under the influence of both the Sun and Saturn. While the former influences the zodiac sign, the latter plays a dominant role in the particular birth date.

“People with this birth date are stable and grounded and live in practicality. Responsibility and realism are of immense importance…In their day-to-day dealings, these people are kind, composed, considerate, generous and dependable. Precision and perfection are sacred to these people. Since August 8the natives are mostly workaholic in nature, they mostly miss out on the joys of life.”

I would only disagree with the last part of the last sentence. While I certainly have been guilty too often of being a workaholic, I have rarely missed out on the joys of life. Though nowhere near rich, my wife and I have enjoyed some very joyous moments and experiences in our 50-year marriage. And I definitely wouldn’t trade any of those experiences for overly long days at the office.

As I celebrate this 72 milestone, I am not retired and have no intention of retiring very soon, if ever. My hunger for learning and discovering new things is stronger than ever. And as a quilter, I hope to continue to sew the fabrics of my life together, adding new adventures and experiences. Seventy two is, after all, just a number. My adrenaline level says I’m barely 30.

Steven Gaynes is a Fairfield writer, and his “In the Suburbs” appears each Friday. He can be reached at stevengaynes44@gmail.com.