birthday cake with lots of candles

| A year ago today, I was looking forward to my 76th birthday, hoping it would be better than my 75th year.

Now this. Instead of going for pizza and beer with the usual suspects, we have a new tradition based on staying home, staying safe, and staying alive. When venturing out into the world, on the occasions when we must, face masks and latex gloves are the uniform of the day. Instead of looking askance at people who have their faces covered, once regarded as desperados for sure, we now smile, if only with our eyes, in appreciation that they are doing their part to rein in the dreaded coronavirus.

Here in the desert, Mother Nature has flipped the switch for summer. A week ago we were all wearing long-sleeved shirts and running our furnaces; this week daytime temperatures reached 113°F Chez Paul, and the electric blanket was cast off in favor of the air conditioner.  Recent rains and the warm days have given new life to weeds of all sorts thriving in the back yard. Unfortunately, the family of bunny rabbits that have taken up residence can't eat the weeds fast enough to make a difference!

self portrait
A young 77, don't you think?

Although there is ample precedent in my family for living to a ripe old age — my sister will be 94 next month — there is also ample precedent for dying at an inopportune age. So, I have taken the prudent step of revising my estate plan and am pleased that all my affairs are now in order. While I have in theory subscribed to the principle of living rich and dying broke, in practice I haven't really lived that way. It's a grand theory if you could know exactly when you were going to die and what extraordinary expenses you might have before the fateful time. But that's not the case. Que sera, sera!

Thus, having no idea what will be left when I have left, I've planned for the remainder to be divvied up amongst the people who have made my life richer and the organizations that support my values. My cremation was arranged long ago and my urn sits on my bookshelf in a smart lacquered box; vultures needn't bother circling, looking for a carcass.

Now mind, I have no intention of popping off any time soon, but you never know. That said, there are places to go and things to do. Life is good.

Last updated on Apr 30, 2020

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