Not so in youth, of course. Then, each birthday is remarkable. Ten means no more single digits. Twelve is kind of a big kid on the block. Thirteen, of course, ushers in the teens. Sixteen — that one’s obvious.
Soon comes adulthood. Eighteen and the right to vote. Twenty-one brings the beverages, if you are so inclined. Twenty-five and thirty pass by with respective fanfare. Everyone has a good chuckle at forty — my significant threw me a pretty good surprise party for that one.
Then birthdays become far more reflective occasions.
Frank Sinatra knew. Seventeen, twenty-one and thirty-five are all very good years. Then, suddenly, he’s thinking of his life like vintage wine in fine old kegs.
Of course, it is hard not to be reflective considering the state of affairs at the moment. Hunkered down with only “necessary” trips to break up the monotony, there was no going out to dinner or hanging with friends this birthday.
Had you said to me twenty years ago — heck, twenty days ago — we’d be here, I would have thought you were off your rocker.
I couldn’t conceive of a world where on the opening day of the baseball season I’d be watching the 1991 Phillies-Mets opening day game on YouTube because there would be no sports.
Still, there was something comforting about that game. Listening to the Hall of Fame voices of Harry Kalas and Richie Ashburn — both gone now — took me back to a simpler time. The Phils were a couple of years away from the ’93 World Series squad, but much like Reggie Dunlop and his “Old Time Hockey,” that game represents the grand old days of baseball of my youth.
For a moment, it was that warm spring day. I was wrapping up my freshman year of college and a few weeks away from my first foray into newspapering.
It got me thinking of all of those other monumental moments in history where life suddenly turns on a dime. Pearl Harbor. Kennedy. MLK. 9/11. We’ve weathered some terrible storms. And we will weather this one. Sure, it will leave its mark, but it won’t all be negative.
Each day I read stories of people helping people. Shopping local. Providing meals. Industries retooling to make respirators. Crafters making masks. Academics and hobbyists using 3-D printers to create protective gear. The National Guard making PPE deliveries. Artists using their gifts to bring joy to those who need it.
Today, we are embracing social distance, so you will have to overlook a couple of the words, but I can’t help but think this is what Louis Armstrong was singing about.
“The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky, are also on the faces of people going by. I see friends shaking hands, saying ‘How do you do?’ They’re really saying, ‘I love you.”
These are the moments that reveal true character. Sometimes it can be disappointing, but more often than not, it can be truly awe-inspiring.
That’s why I know we’ve got this. Because, truly, what a wonderful world.