Candid Thoughts On My 66th Birthday

Sixty-six (sesenta y seis) seems weirdly unimportant in a beautiful way. Last year seems more momentous—I began Medicare and turned the official American retirement age, even though I had technically “retired” twenty years earlier. The Spanish word for retired—jubilado—is a wonderfully expressed word.  

  1. About Ageism. I did not know this term until I read Connie Zweig’s book The Inner Work of Age: Shifting from Role to Soul in 2021. However, once I confronted the term, I realized that ageism is pervasive in America and me. One only needs to watch my favorite comedians, Kimmel, Myer, and Colbert, and listen to their ageist jokes about President Biden to be dismayed. These guys are pro-Biden, yet they still heap prejudice upon him to get a laugh. This ageism is ironic as they are no longer spring chickens themselves and work in an environment (television) that is brutally unforgiving of aging. 

The World Health Organization says age is one of the first things we notice about others. Age is often used to categorize and divide people in ways that lead to harm, disadvantage, and injustice and erode solidarity across generations. Ageism: the stereotypes (how we think), prejudice (how we feel), and discrimination (how we act) towards others or ourselves based on age.

Because I look younger than I am, I have yet to bear the brunt of this socially acceptable prejudice. But I witnessed it daily in Florida and fought this prejudice and discrimination in myself. It is a dark shadow side of myself that I’ve faced over the past few years. 

Watching the Spanish people and their dealings with elders has proven fascinating. Because this culture is family-oriented, other generations treat elders with manners, camaraderie, and respect. I told Gina that Spain would be a much better place to grow older. 

  1. About Freedom. At sixty-six, I don’t care what other people think about me or how they expect me to behave. There is a glorious freedom about that. I am done trying to please and have learned to let go of other people’s opinions. And to not seek their approval. My therapist helped tremendously with this aspect of my life—a lifelong addiction to approval. It is an unusually insidious addiction because it is socially acceptable. At long last, it took sixty years—I am free from this addiction.  
  1. About Body. I have grown into my body and body parts, and I’m no longer ashamed of them. Is my body perfect? No. Do I like all of it? No. I wish my waistline were smaller and much more firm. I want a bit more hair on my head instead of everywhere else. But I like my height, my legs, my chest, my penis, and Gina loves my ass. So what more could I ask? The Spanish lifestyle and Mediterranean diet are slowly but surely helping me with my waistline. And I’m grateful.
  1. About Sex. I enjoy sex more now than at age twenty-one. I am better at it: more selfless, more practiced, more at ease, and more thoughtful. I have learned to savor sexual pleasure and not feel guilty about it. I have learned there is a lot more to a great sex life than the missionary position and monogamous marriage. Tantric (sacred sexuality) has changed my life. It has proven to me that pleasure is a pathway to healing.  
  1. About Clothing. I have always felt clothing is overrated and mostly unnecessary. As a young boy, I would remove all my clothes and play in the woods. It felt so natural. Clothing is a medieval religious concept, and culture has capitalized on it. Conversely, our nudist beaches here in Barcelona are so beautiful and natural. Last week, Gina and I watched as countless families played together fully nude and so happy. You could tell it was the most natural thing in the world for the children. We mused how wonderful it would have been to be brought up that way instead of with the religious repression and suppression of our youth.   

For my birthday, I have done a nude photo shoot and gallery as a gift to my friends. If you subscribe to my email list, I consider you a friend, and you are welcome to ask for the password to my birthday gallery. The process was so freeing and so fun. My philosophy about clothing is definitely more Barcelonan than American.

  1. About Art. I want my art to provide others with a sensual playground free from censorship, fraught with curiosity, and filled with mystery, fantasy, and imagination.  
  1. About Children. I would never have had children if I had it to do over. I loved them purely, selflessly, and honestly. I sacrificed for them. And yet, because they disagree with my lifestyle decisions, they have sided with their mother and ghosted me. They have not allowed me to see my grandchildren. I think I have four; one is probably a teenager, and I have never been allowed to meet them—my own blood. You love your children selflessly, and they trample your heart. I have to ask. Why have children? Why do that to yourself? I have so many friends who have experienced the same thing from this heartless and selfish generation of bastards.  
  1. About Religion. It has poisoned our world with hate. It is the very opposite of love. All religions are the same—cults filled with negative, simplistic, and illiterate answers led by ruthless authoritarians. 
  1. About America. My heart breaks as I watch my home country disintegrate and destroy itself. I heard Bono say a few years ago that America is the most fantastic idea ever conceived; it just hasn’t happened yet. I swallowed the patriotic propaganda hook, line, and sinker. Now, as I look back on American history, I see that there are so many eerie parallels between the protests at Kent State and Columbia University. Police in riot gear arresting people practicing freedom of speech. The racism gets increasingly worse instead of better. Pre-Civil War laws have taken away women’s rights. A convicted rapist, acknowledged racist, and convicted cheating psychopath leading the race for President. 
  1. About Future. On a positive note, I have never been more optimistic about my future. Spain has renewed my being in every aspect: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Life here is slow-paced and relationally oriented. It is open-minded and culturally diverse. Is it perfect? Not by a long shot. As with all people countries, many things could be improved. But at this time in my life, it is ideal and healing. As I continue the enjoyment stage of life (ages 55-75), I can’t help but wonder what’s next. ¡Adelante! ¡Feliz cumpleaños para mí!
Atelier (Censored) Age 66

2 responses to “Candid Thoughts On My 66th Birthday”

  1. okjedi Avatar

    Love it and love you! I’m so grateful to call you friend and mentor. Happy Birthday to you and many more! ¡Feliz cumpleaños!

    1. randy Avatar

      Thanks so much, David, likewise. That means a lot!