I remember when I turned 50, it was traumatic for me. Being in my 50’s seemed old. Of course, how silly that notion is. Now, it would be nice to be that age again instead of being 60, but I’m not all that hung up on my age now. 60 feels all right to me. I’m not feeling all traumatized about it. It is what it is.
What’s been on my mind over the past few days is my history—my strange life. I probably look back on that more than I should, but there’s more back there than what’s ahead. I ain’t gonna live forever.
Now when I say I’ve had a strange life, strange doesn’t necessarily mean bad. At least it has given me something to talk about and something to write about too.
For 14 years, I was a Country Music singer with my brothers—child “stars” if you will. I’ve pissed a few of you off when I write about this but not all of you get upset and if you think I’m out of stories about this, think again. I’ve met so many of these Country Music people; it’s hard to keep track of them all.
I’ve met a lot of accountants too. You see, I made a living doing that kind of work for over 30 years. Accountants don’t wear rhinestone suits, but accounting work came easy to me and I made a decent living doing it while my kids were growing up. I have no complaints about this at all.
I was still doing accounting work when my twin brother died of AIDS in late September, 1994. After that I became an AIDS activist—worked closely with AVOC (AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati) for over five years. This is the kind of work one can’t do forever because it starts to get to you—you know, seeing all that death. I’m so glad this illness is now more under control.
And now in my strange life, I’m a writer—something I wanted to be back when I was singing Country Music and meeting all those stars. For 17 years now, I’ve been writing articles, news stories, columns, short stories, novels and even a few book reviews. I’m pretty sure that writing will be my last act in life but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love doing what I’m doing.
Tonight, my kids will take me out to dinner to celebrate my 60th birthday and, no doubt, that will be a good time. Tomorrow morning, I’ll get up and start day #2 of my new decade in life. I’m going to try and start looking more forward now instead of looking back. I’ll try, but I ain’t promising anything.
(Photo by Andrew Anderson)