Three score and ten years ago today, I was born. If you do the Lincoln math, you know that means that as of today, I am 70 years old. Not 70 years young, 70 years old!
When they start substituting the word “young” for “old” in birthday greetings, it means you are old.
I remember that when my maternal grandmother turned 70 in 1982, she said at her birthday party, “I want to thank the Lord for my Biblical lifespan.” She quoted Psalm 90:10, “The years of our lives are 70 … and they are soon gone, and we fly away.”
I am not the Bible scholar my grandmother was, but I recall asking her, “Didn’t Methuselah live to be 969? Wouldn’t that be 48 score and 9?”
Grandmother just smiled, and two years later, at age 72, she flew away.
Well, at three score and ten, the only part of me that feels old is my back. My back feels like Methuselah’s.
And my mind is still sharp, although from time to time I find myself asking the Admiral Stockdale questions, “Who am I, and what am I doing here?”
… Um … where was I? … um … yes, oh, I was writing about turning 70.
I am reminded of the story about the great baseball manager Casey Stengel. In 1960, when he turned 70, he was fired as the manager of the New York Yankees, even though he had led the Yankees to seven world championships in his 11 years as manager. Yankee owners said that at 70, Casey was just too old to keep managing.
Casey responded, “I will never again make the mistake of turning 70!”
Well, I don’t know if I have made a mistake turning 70 today, but if I did, like Casey, I will never make that mistake again.