It’s Not Over

July 22, 2008

Today is my 67th birthday. I’m in really good health, happy and comfortable in virtually all areas of my life so why do I feel afraid so often?

Lately I’ve been thinking about people in my life who have died so I’m sure death is one of those fears although I don’t feel especially daunted by thoughts of dying. Actually there have been periods in my life when I thought death a better alternative than life. I now only rarely feel that way.

My fears almost always come from that feeling of being caught or found out or exposed as a fraud, as that guy who just didn’t quite make it. When I have fears of economic insecurity it’s not that I’m afraid of not having enough it’s that I’ll be exposed as a phony, the guy who looked like he’d been successful but really was faking it.

When, in a senior moment, I can’t come up with a word or a name it’s not fear of dementia that grips me but terror that you’ll discover I’m not as smart as I pretend. Although how can one pretend to be smart?

When I hit a golf ball in the sweet spot and it feels like I’ve hit it as well as I can and it only goes 210 yards I feel like a weak old man, like it’s over. Golf to me is truly a microcosm of life and that feeling of “it’s over” comes often.

Off the golf course it comes when the word or the name is unavailable to me, when my balance falters a bit, when I forget to do something important, when I can’t move as fast as I used to, when my eyes and hands don’t mesh, when I notice my wrinkling skin. In short that phrase “it’s over” pops up a lot and when it does I’m wrong.

“It’s not over ‘til it’s over” as that Yankee philosopher so wisely said years ago. The reality is that I am who I am and I’m pretty OK. There’s no longer any need for me to think I’ll be caught or found out. The trail is pretty long and the evidence is in. I’ve done what I’ve done. I’ve neglected what and whom I’ve neglected and it’s about time for me to stop looking for validation from outside myself. Whether or not I do that remains to be seen. Maybe I’ll try to do it a little bit at a time.

Posted July 22, 2008


Hi Phil
Happy Birthday!
You are doing just great. I understand all the things happening to you, it’s ok!
Just enjoy what you have achieved, it is a lot!

Happy Birthday Dad and Grandpa - Love, Julie Joe, Joey and Lindsey

Happy Birthday Phil!

Dear Phil-
Thank you for being born and
for your unflagging struggle to be real, a model for all of us.
Also a loving reminder to keep up your yoga practice,
which I believe is one of the surest resources to keep us around an d in relatively good shape for as long as necessary.
Happy birthday & much love to all of you.

Hope you had a good birthday. Whitney Houston sang “learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all”. I believe it is. I have also come to find out that it’s a lot easier to sing than it is to do.
I love you, Duff.

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