Today is my birthday.  I’m sixty-three.  Yipee!

I write it out to show that I’ve learned many things in the last sixty-three years–one of which is to write out numbers in prose.  There are some other rules, but you get my point.

Sixty-five is now considered the back side of middle age*.  I have cause to wonder if the writer of that phrase defines backside the same way I do.

I Googled middle age to define the age limits, wanting to tease our eldest son on his last birthday.  Using my favorite definition, he and I will both be middle aged for a brief period.

Notice I’ve learned that I shouldn’t publish the eldest son’s actual age in my blog.

A couple of years ago, our youngest son made a comment on social media.  I chirped in with a typical-Gregg, smart-assed remark.  He deleted it.

I’ve learned that no matter how old you are, parents don’t get to cross a certain line—well, not where someone can identify them as the parents of their offspring.

I was already sensitive to that notion.  I don’t include certain words or vivid sex in my books.  I don’t want my possible-future grandchildren to read one and say, “Oh, look what Grandma wrote.”  And, I have to admit, I wouldn’t want anyone to envision me, the author, as the participant in any of those fictional scenes.  (Hey, we all know one’s imagination will only carry so far.  Fiction is the reflection of real life.)

My personal trainer told me last week that if I participated in an exercise competition for women in my age group, I’d do very well.  I know he meant that as a complement.  I had performed a challenging series of moves to his satisfaction.

I’ve learned in a very personal way that exercise improves fitness, endurance, and my figure, even at my tender age.

I’m tenured faculty on a nine-month contract.  I don’t have to work summers if I don’t want to.  And, I don’t.  This summer is the first, since high school anyway, that I’ve taken time off to do as I please.  My goal is to write the first draft of another novel, and it’s going well.  Steve, supportive husband that he is, keeps the house quiet so I can concentrate.  I expect to reach the mid-point in the next few days.

It’s also practice for retirement. During the first two weeks, I had a sense of urgency.  So much to do, in so little time, but Mondays came and went, and I didn’t have to go back to work.  I did bring some things home.  A new edition of our textbook and new videos require planning time.  But, for the most part, my days my own.  Can I really not work for an extended period?

I’ve learned the answer is a resounding, unequivocal YES.

Happy Birthday to me.

*There should be a citation for this.  I read it on the Internet and didn’t note the site.  When I searched to find it again . . . well, search for back side of middle age and you’ll see what Google found.  Search backside of middle age and it’s even better.