Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Kicking it: Birthday Salute

In just four weeks and four days, I will celebrate another birthday. Yes. I am relieved to have another one knowing that not having one isn't good, which is why I was relieved when I didn’t see my name in the obituaries last week.

Need I say what you’re thinking? “Obviously, if you are reading the paper then you must be alive.” Or so I would have thought too.

After rewatching “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” last night, it makes me wonder, do we really know when we’re dead? Doctors may pronounce us dead from the outside. Do we know what is really going on with us inside? Physically, we may be dead, but one might just wonder about spiritually? Eh?

Which is why I remarked, “my name is not in the Obits.” Will we (our brain?) know when we’re dead? Since I am not dead yet, I don’t know for sure if I will know or not.

Although many years ago, many, many years ago, I did have this dream. Here is what happened. Suddenly, in the middle of the night, I watched myself jerk off my pillow straight up into a sitting position. I saw I had stringy shoulder length white hair. Nothing else happened, just the jerking up into a sitting position. Yet, somehow, I feel like that is what it might be like to die. You know, watching yourself have an out of body experience.

That is why I decided to get more information off the internet. Here is what I found. There is a formula to calculate life expectancy. It was developed by professors at the University of Pennsylvania and it was easy to see how much longer you’re expected to live.

According to this life expectancy calculator, I have a 75% chance of living another 11 years and a 25% chance of living to 94. However, should I exercise once or twice a week, I could tack on another year and a half of life on to the end. Guess that would mean 95.5 years old.

Which is all leading up to my upcoming birthday. While on the one hand, I am damn glad I am around to celebrate. I couldn’t help but wonder if it might be a good time to reflect on my life and the way I’ve lived it up to now.

Let me just say it has been fun! And on certain days down right crazy fun. I have lived my life without regret. That is if I don’t count the time I didn’t call my talent agent to book me a part in a western movie being shot in Arizona. I sold the producer a tanning bed because everyone knows cowboys are tan from being outdoors all the time, and right after that, I convinced him as a SAG actor to cast me in a speaking role; but, somehow, I got shy and didn’t call my agent. After all, how good can a movie be that’s filmed in Tombstone?

And there it is. My only regret.

Even so, there are still a few things on my bucket list like riding on the Orient Express, crossing all of the great lakes, taking a 60-day cruise around Europe and the Mediterranean, revisiting the British Isles, and drinking more champagne. Lastly, I want to send a big raspberry to anyone who didn’t believe in me. Oh, wait, they’re all dead. Looks like I won that one, eh?

Soon I will head back to visit my daughter in Alaska and it’s probably only fair to warn her that my social security check won’t cover my activity list. Therefore, my only recourse is to have fun spending her inheritance. Cheers!

Elizabeth Youngman-Westphal can be reached at [email protected].


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