For my 16th birthday, I got a drum cake. For my 18th, I had my first legal beer. For my 40th, I was feted at a great surprise party. For my 50th, my wife and I celebrated – along with a number of family and friends from throughout the decades of both our lives – at a “50/50” bash.
But this year I had bigger plans. 57. Yeh, 57. That would be my lucky number!
Just think of it! Heinz 57 – 57 Varieties of flavour! 1957 – the year I was born! 57 – the number of years I’ve lived! 57 – the number on my high school football jersey! 57 – the number of times I’ve thought about how to pay homage to such a significant number while having some fun with it as well!
Seriously, I was born in 1957 and this year marked my 57th year. While this might initially not seem like much of a milestone, it was one I felt compelled to mark. This time, however, I wanted the focus not to be so much on personal indulgence or favour but on some kind of service.
I considered a number of large-scale fundraising efforts for Parkinson’s – from a marathon 57 mile walk (nah, Terry Fox did much better than that), a 57 day cross-Canada tour (I can’t be away that long – who will look after the dog?), a 57 stop tour of independent coffee roasters (I’m on doctor’s orders to reduce my caffeine). I worked through a number of these scenarios, bounced ideas off of friends, and in the end, found myself too weary to pursue such grandiose plans. I became convinced that there really wasn’t much to my obsession with the number “57” and it felt a little too contrived. And it didn’t help that my PD kept reminding me of its ever-present habitation in this old frame.
And now, as of today, the clock ticks by on the end of my 57 years. The opportunity has passed me by. I have made peace with myself on this one (albeit one tinged by a minute sense of failure). After all, it is just a number. I’m 58 today. Nothing special about 58. Or even 59 for that matter. But 60 – just wait for 60! Do I have some plans in the works for the big 6-0!