Turning 60: A Look Back

As a round the final turn barreling headlong to the BIG 6-0, I’ve been pondering my life, the things I’ve learned, the people I’ve met, and the incredible journey I’ve taken. At the time I’m writing this, I’ve lived for 59 years and 363 days. Not all have been good but each one has been adventurous.

I can honestly say I have no regrets, not because I’ve not made mistakes or had tragedy knock on my door. Indeed, I’ve had more than my share. Each of those life events has given me immeasurable knowledge and insight into the deep things of life. The things I’ve suffered through have given me precious golden nuggets of wisdom that I now use to prosper others.

Through it all—good times and bad—I’ve learned that no matter how bad things get, as long as there is a breath of life within me, there is hope. Hope is a precious gift.

From the time I was a sophmore in high school, I’ve always received the highest awards my school or job offered. I worked hard, but not to achieve them. They were just awarded as a result of my hard work. Interestingly, today I neither possess the trophies, no remember what they were. I remember getting them but the award itself escapes me, perhaps because I placed more value in the journey I took to get there than the award itself. I do vividly remember the work, the mountains I had to climb, the failures along the way. But the accolades pale into insignificance in the light of the amazing journey I took to get there.

In 1993 I was diagnosed with Hurthle Cell Carcinoma, a rare form of thyroid cancer. I was the 30th reported case in medical history in the US. It was aggressive with no cure. They removed my thyroid with the tumor but there was no other treatment. That turned out to be a blessing. I was never sick from chemotherapy and my throat was not burned from radiation. Instead, I looked squarely into the truth that I’d taken for granted: none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. I decided that I would live each day as if it was my last. That was decades ago and despite the odds, I’m still here, living one day at a time, still as if today is the last day I will be on this earth. I grab all the goody out of today. I don’t put off until tomorrow calling others, writing them, or doing things I want to do. Cancer taught me to live in the moment. After all, it’s all I have.

People often ask what my greatest moment in life has been. Without hesitation my response is always “this one”. There is nothing greater than taking a breath and exhaling, sucking in life and all it has to offer right now. This moment.

Over the next couple of days, I’ll share with you some of my experiences in this great journey. I’ll also share some wisdom I’ve picked up along the way. I hope you’ll join me as I celebrate Turning 60.