Thanks for the Birthday Wishes

Yesterday, February 24, was my birthday.  For those who want to know and haven’t done the research on my age the answer is that I am 65 years old this year.  I was born in Chicago, Illinois, (South side).  I have been blessed to have lived in various parts of this great country from New Jersey and Massachusetts on one coast to California on the Right Coast, (no strong feelings here). 

I wanted to write this article to all who read it to first and foremost thank  you all for your kind wishes.  I  have heard from many of you through Facebook.  Your posts today have caused me to believe that Facebook is simply a plot to get away from those cute, often expressive, and sometimes imaginative Hallmark and other company’s greeting cards.  Cards or not, keep your money as far as I am concerned unless, of course, you want to hire me to come speak to an organization or company.  The very fact that many of you have taken the time to email me is one of the most wonderful gifts I could ever expect to receive.  I cherish and appreciate you all.

Now, you may be wondering what I think about turning 65.  I LOVE IT AND LOOK ONLY to go FORWARD from here.  We live in a country that has had the foresight to provide us with pretty good health care for our seniors INCLUDING ME!  My basic medical costs have dropped a bunch.  As a country we can do better, but I like our chances and I like what I am getting so far.

I love the fact that I and my wife and I went out to dinner with our family last night.  Last year at this time we spent time in and around Kaiser Hospital in San Rafael, CA where Karen was critically ill.  God has blessed us with the opportunity to see Karen recover and continue to thrive.  My absolutely best present this year is to see Karen rolling around our apartment in her wheelchair and driving us around in our own accessible van.  How many other countries give us so much opportunity as that?

I am blessed with the opportunity to continue to earn a living by traveling and speaking to so many.  Through the grace of God I get to travel and tell my story of survival in the World Trade Center and I get to share my thoughts and the life lessons I have learned.  I will do this as long as all of you want me to do so.  I also get to listen to  your comments and observations about my talks.  Please keep them coming.  Where else but in the United States would we have so much opportunity for someone like me to have the job I get to enjoy?

I feel honored to work with a wonderful support group who give so freely of their efforts and time.  Their thoughts, observations, and knowledge give me so much more than I  could ever think of returning.  Their love enriches every day of my life.  How could I ever expect to find such treasures elsewhere?

To  summarize, I think my greatest gift is that I get to live here and now with all of you.  We are all a team and we are part of the bigger team called the human race.  For my part I will not think about what might have been except to learn hopefully from mistakes I  have made or challenges I  have seen from others.  I choose to turn regrets into lessons I absorb and use to grow stronger and, I hope, a bit wiser.  How could I ever feel useless or not a part of the world with all the gifts I have received through so many posts, all the phone calls and from the gifts I see around me as I look around me each day.  I rejoice in being 65 and having the opportunity to be positive.  And yes, (here is the salesman in me), I got a speaking engagement today.  So, Minnesota, be on the lookout in early May.

Thank you all for being who you are.  Make the most of today and each day.  Don’t look back except to learn.  Look and move forward and let’s all help to make this a better world.  We have the power to do this.  God gave us that power and right.  I hope we live up to his commandments and use his gifts wisely.  It does not matter what religion you practice.  It’s all the same thing.  Bless you all and “happy birthday” back to you whenever your birthday comes.  You can even make today your birthday as you make a new commitment to do better, think smarter, and live together and love each other more than ever.

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