When I think of it all at once, it’s a blur…a blink of an eye…where did the time go?
Last Friday was the 10th anniversary of our seeing each other again after a 41-year hiatus. Sally and I were first boyfriend/girlfriend in my senior/her junior year in high school (1968). We dated on and off for a little less than two years and then drifted apart. It was more than four decades before we saw each other again, thirteen months after my wife of thirty-six years had passed away.
It’s mind-boggling to think that it’s been ten years already, but when I break it down, a lot happened.
I was 60, so this anniversary is also a chronicle of my 60s (not to be confused with THE 60s). During that time, I went from clinging to my 50s to anticipating my 80s.
I ended my career as a practicing psychologist six months after our rendezvous and moved from a mountaintop North Carolina retreat near the Tennessee border to her home in the Brandywine River valley about forty-five minutes from downtown Philadelphia.
After leaving psychology behind, I had a 10-year career as a political activist before leaving that to start writing this blog ten months ago.
The nation went from Obama to Trump to Biden. Can you say: ‘Whiplash?’ We marched in demonstrations in Washington, Philadelphia, West Chester, Media and Kennett Square. I was elected to the Kennett Square Borough Council and became chair of the Kennett Area Democrats.
When I moved in with Sally, I inherited a sprawling family, a close circle of friends and a book club. We went from Sally’s condo to our own home to a 2-bedroom apartment as the decade ended.
Thanks to her love of music, I attended more concerts in the last ten years than I had in my first sixty.
Sally lost a cherished brother and sister-in-law and I a beloved aunt. Both of my dogs wandered over the rainbow bridge. Several good friends and too many of our high school classmates passed away. The world lost Muhammad Ali, Stephen Hawking, Robin Williams, Nelson Mandela, Mary Tyler Moore, Aretha Franklin, Elizabeth Taylor, Maya Angelou…
We attended our 50th high school reunions.
The Eagles won a Super Bowl; after winning the World Series in 2008, the Phillies haven’t been to the playoffs since I moved here. The UConn women’s basketball team won four national championships.
We traveled to Iceland, France, Costa Rica, Canada and went on a Caribbean cruise. At home, we visited every state on the eastern seaboard and made the trip to San Diego to attend my niece’s wedding.
I weighed 145 pounds when Sally arrived for her visit. I had weighed 135 in high school. In the last two years, my weight ballooned up to a COVID-assisted 186. I’m now back down to 158 with a goal of revisiting 145.
My hair was short in 2011. Now I have a ponytail. My hairline continues to recede.
Hospitals and I had been strangers until seven years into the decade when I had my gall bladder removed. The staff was amazed that this was my first hospitalization in sixty-seven years.
I had cataract surgery last year.
The decade ended with a pandemic. On this anniversary, we were both wrestling with the side effects of our booster shots.
The digital communications revolution swept the planet and cell phones now rule our lives. I may be one of the few people left who refuses to carry one. On the other hand, I gleefully embraced GPS as the remedy to my directional disability and the passport to the wider world outside my door.
As a child, I remember reading about the fabulous bazaars of Persia where you could buy strange and exotic goods from the Orient. Now there is Amazon and not only can you buy anything, but you can have it delivered to your door overnight.
I gave up my 15-year old Chevy Cavalier with 120,000 miles on it for a 6-year old Volvo with fewer than 7,000.
And those are just the milestones that jump out at me.
In sum, I re-created myself and built a brand new life with Sally.
A lot happens in a decade…even if it doesn’t feel like it at first glance.