Circa 1971: Third-grade photo; around age eight. The tie deflects attention from the bad haircut.

One more ride around the sun and I bid farewell to my fifty-eighth year. Despite all the turmoil of these past twelve months, last year wasn’t all that bad for me. At least, I was employed for most of it. I’ve managed to stay reasonably active and haven’t been sick, which will hopefully continue now that I don’t have health benefits.

It’s not simply another annual observance for me. This year marks the fortieth year since I graduated high school, thirty years since receiving my Master’s from New York University, and twenty-four years since I was elected president of the Atlanta Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees). All were important milestones for me that contributed to who I am.

Calendars are mostly just numbers and only have whatever significance people assign to them. Age is also a subjective measure, and little more than a place marker which isn’t always the best gauge for assessing a person’s abilities. I’m in far better shape now than I was five, ten, or even twenty years ago. My weight is the lowest it has been since my sophomore year of high school and my fitness level continues to increase due to my daily exercise routine. I’m scheduled for the second Covid vaccine in two days, and hopefully will find permanent full-time employment soon.

Incidentally, the photo above is my last school picture where I wasn’t wearing glasses, as nearsightedness kicked in later that year. Eye surgery in 2017 restored sight to my left eye, allowing me to forego glasses in most situations except driving.

So, here’s to making it through another very challenging year. It hasn’t always been easy but I made it through relatively unscathed and have at least a glimmer of hope that things will get better. I have projects to keep my attention focused, and ideas for stories I can work on regardless of my employment status. As always, I’m looking ahead to see what awaits.

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