Happy Birthday to me and other depressing musings…

It’s June 29 in Beijing and therefore, it’s my birthday. Usually, I don’t make a big deal of it. Who cares, at this point, in one’s life about yet another birthday? ┬áThe only noteworthy aspect of turning 59 is the obvious one. Next year! (and I don’t mean “Jerusalem”!)

I’ve been able to successfully fool myself for the last ten years that I was, if nothing else, on the “down slope” of middle age. Unless I want to subscribe to the phony baloney notion that the “60’s are the new 50’s,” than I must acknowledge, at long last, I’m an old dude. Yuck!

I suppose I will soon be joining those who, when they say, “getting old isn’t for the faint of heart” will truly understand it from the inside out. At least I don’t have any ailments. I don’t take any prescription drugs, I don’t have to abstain from any activity and I consider myself to be, generally speaking, in good health. “Fit as a fiddle” to use an old (see what I mean?) saying.

I can only implore my daughter, who is the light of my life, to not have any children. Anyone who knows me knows that I never really pictured myself as a “dad.” OK, it WAS the best thing I ever embarked upon but only because serendipity blessed me with the perfect child. Having said that, I absolutely have zero interest in “wearing” the moniker, “pop-pop” (egads!) or some other undignified title. Being a “grandfather” would truly be the nail in the coffin, so to speak. Sophie, (cue the guilt), please don’t it, for your “old man.” (Cue the sad violin music) If you don’t, maybe, just maybe, I can convince myself that “the 60’s are the new 50’s.”

4 thoughts on “Happy Birthday to me and other depressing musings…

  1. Happy Birthday, Brian! So sorry I didn’t remember. I’ve been focused on Nancy’s birthday, in fact, I’m taking her out to dinner Friday night. I see that you don’t like getting older. Truthfully, I don’t know anyone who does. I’d give anything to be 59 again. It seems like yesterday. Yes, I have to warn you – after 60 life speeds by. So, I agree with you on the aging factor, but not on the grand-parenting one. Some of my most joyous moments in my life have been with my granddaughters. It’s one more dimension of life that I wouldn’t have wanted to miss for anything. I’m grateful to my daughter, Shauney, for giving me this gift. But I respect your reluctance to be a grandfather, albeit I believe if Sophie were to have a baby, somehow you would warm up just as you did the first time you laid eyes on her. If I were in China, I’d buy you a birthday drink. Cheers!

  2. Happy Belated Birthday, Brian! Sorry we dropped the ball (so to speak). Did you do anything to celebrate? The melodramatic tone of this blog indicates to me “probably not.” Frankly, I hope that Sophie doesn’t listen to you about having children. That’s a decision she should so obviously make with her husband and you shouldn’t be involved. So quit your wailing about it, really! Just doesn’t reflect well on you, my dear brother-in-law.
    Moving right along, I’d like to request a blog on a “typical” day for Brian Symonds in China which addresses the following questions. How many classes do you teach each day? How many students in each? Do you have to prepare lesson plans or grade homework? Was any of the material you studied either online or in that course in SF at all relevant to how you teach? Your mom mentioned something about a test you took recently. What was that? Or was she just confused? What do you do after work? Do you go to the gym regularly? Connect with other teachers for dinner? Gone to any music or movies? Have you invited anybody over for dinner? The whole purpose of you going to Beijing was to teach — and you have made few mentions of it. So, I can’t speak for other readers but I’d certainly like to know.
    Take care of yourself and I promise to remember your birthday next year!

  3. Hey Bri,
    As I am a few month older I take comfort in the fact that Mick Jagger is a great grandfather and a new father.I don’t feel old and I don’t even have my hair anymore.

    p.s. happy belated birthday

  4. Hi Brian, Just completed blog up to your birthday. Haven’t seen past blogs yet.
    1. In viewing the pictures – WOW – China has no garbage on the streets. They were totally clean and looked very modern.
    2. Life in China seems to revolve around FOOD.

    3. Your ranting on Russia is boring.

    4. Loved your comments on Clinton and Trump. They are “right on”. Its the most depressing election in my memory of elections.

    5. You are not allowed to take a break on the blog til end of Oct. At least keep some pictures coming.

    6. Please study about Buddha as He is a very worthwhile subject and it will put a little religion in your heart which you certainly NEED.

    You are looking healthy, wealthy, and wise. Hope your Manderin Chinese is coming along.

    Love, Lee

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