Toots at 85

This is the toast I made to my mother on her 85th birthday at a special dinner at Kendal at Oberlin.

When Kim’s grandfather was in his 90’s, he told me that when you get old, people talk to you like they did when you were a small child.

They ask –

  • “How old are you?”
  • “Isn’t this fun?”
  • “Did you clean your plate?”

When you get really old, he said, no one asks you about anything of substance.¬†And it they do, they don’t give you enough time to answer. They cut you off with another question – usually one they would ask a child.

It’s one of the many things I value about the Kendal community. It’s one of the many reasons I’m glad that my parents are part of it.

People here at Kendal – young or old – value the experiences of others.

They ask questions.

They wait for answers.

They listen.

And then, if it’s appropriate, they share their own experiences.

They know time is short.

Every birthday is to be celebrated.

By your age, every day is the birthday of someone you know or someone that someone you know – knows. So you celebrate.

Every day.

Today it’s my mom’s 85th birthday.

Happy birthday mom.

  • “How old are you?”
  • “Isn’t this fun”
  • “Did you clean your plate?”

When you were my age, I was in grad school. I had just met Kim.

I brought her over to meet you and you were full of questions, advice, and opinions. (I won’t repeat them here) So now that I’m that same age, here’s mine.

I’m lucky enough to still have both of my parents with me, but I’ve lost a wife an a daughter.

I know time is short.

It’s important that we live accordingly.

Not irresponsibly, but with joy and purpose and love of those around us.

Not everything matters…

And, of those things that matter, not everything matters equally.

Focus on those things that matter most.

In that list of things that matter most, there are those things you can affect and those you can’t.

I can’t make LeBron come back to Cleveland next year. I may as well take it off my list.

On the other hand, calls, donations, and my vote may change the midterm election. These things stay on the list.

What stays on the list?

Important things you can affect.

Like walking every day so you can continue to walk for many years to come.

Like meeting friends every day – for a meal, for coffee, or just for conversation.

Important things you can affect…

  • These items keep you from getting old.
  • These items keep things fun.
  • These items – and cleaning your plate.
Published in: on June 10, 2018 at 9:21 pm  Leave a Comment