What does 60 feel like?

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It feels like grandpa again.

Ariana, Sam, and my new grandson, Samuel Anthony, are already home starting their new adventure.  If there is anything better than grandchildren, I’ve never experienced it.  It is more than the circle of life, for me it is the life I always hoped for.

As I fast approach my 60th birthday, I can’t help but pause [more often than ever lately] to truly recognize and appreciate the gift of life.  I have always relished living my own life, and while it has been my children that have given it meaning – grandchildren are indeed a special gift.

Today, I am surrounded by my children and grandchildren.  Fate’s been kind when it comes to the love I feel from those close to me.  Just thinking of Francesca and Sam Anthony is enough to make my day complete.  My business thrives, my friendships endure, and my prospects for the future continue to amaze me.  But through it all, a certain ennui dampens my enthusiasm for the challenges that await me as I start every day.

As wonderful an adventure as it all has been, my business has certainly jaded me.  By building the Advantage Co, I have made more friends [and earned more enemies] than I ever imagined possible.  All through my school years, I was never much for socializing.  Even in college, I lived with my girlfriend, hung with a few friends, and played a lot of basketball and ping pong [while trying despairingly to play guitar].

And then along came the Stereo Advantage and a merchant’s life.  I made more friends in my first year of business than I had in the previous 24.  And by the time I was 30, I had more friends than ever, but as sure as the sun set at night, enemies rose in the morning.

It’s the nature of business that every success seems to mean someone else’s failure.  Every decision inevitably leaves someone satiated with discontent or, in the most regrettable of cases, palpable hate.  There is a cadre of ex-Advantage employees that share a common enmity that binds them together.  While it is mostly a comical association of malcontents, it does take its toll on the joy of the adventure.  WNY is a small town with little more than three degrees of separation.  And although this makes for a warm and nurturing environment for building a family, it can eventually wear you out with the petty remonstrations and almost clan-like vendettas.

But enough of all that.  The point to this little posting is that as I approach 60, this is what it all feels like: joy, appreciation, ennui, love, satisfaction, hope, and, most of all, a wry smile for the machinations of so many that find significance in anything other than the full appreciation for the gift of life.

For my family and friends, thank you.  You have given me more than my fair share of life [topped off by two beautiful grandchildren].  As for my traducers, if retribution is what you seek – you’re too late.  As I’ve said, I’ve already had more than my fair share of all that life has to offer.  From here, both the good and the bad are all a bonus.

And for all of you, especially Francesca and Sam, there is the gift of life.  Whether it be brief or long, you are always better off living it to its fullest [and a smile along the way wouldn’t hurt either].  But don’t let all this gift of life reverie confuse you, it’s still a Darwinian struggle, and the Advantage has every intention of thriving amongst the chaos.

This train keeps on rolling, and it just picked up another passenger.

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