How I Turned 2 Years Old on December 25th, 2009

I was born in 1952.

I came into this world at a time where every year a horrible outbreak of polio was expected. Shortly after I was able to understand the world around me I sensed that my Mother was afraid for me to go swimming because I might catch polio. I had friends who caught it and I remember visiting them in the hospital where they were imprisoned in their iron lung machines - terrifyingly claustrophobic tubes that mechanically operated their lungs. But, I didn't contract polio - why? Because of the foresight of many dedicated souls whose efforts over the 30's, 40's and 50's to find a cure resulted in the polio vaccine. Imagine - freedom from worry about polio - it's mostly gone from my current consciousness - except when I think that I want to create a world where the diseases of aging go the way of become nothing but a dim memory.

In the early 60's I lived in Orlando Florida before Disney World. This was a world that was resolutely certain there would be a nuclear holocaust in the immediate future. I remember the Cuban Missile crisis and feeling the shared terror that we would all be blown to incandescent dust at any second. I remember hiding under my desk at school, and my dad trying to figure out how to build a bomb shelter. Happily, cooler heads have prevailed (so far) and now, months can go by and I don't think about nuclear weapons. This doesn't mean they're gone - I just don't worry about them moment by moment as I used to.

In the mid-late 60's everyone was horrified that the United States was in a revolution as race riots burned down city after city, where mobs polarized by race were at each others' throats figuratively and literally, brother killing brother. I remember living in Baltimore during its race conflagration when a terrible riot started flowing toward our house like a lava flow that immolated all things in its path. The riot burned itself out just 5 miles from where we lived...and then the laws changed and now many of my friends are married interracially without worry, something that could have gotten them killed just 30 years ago.

The late 60's and early 70's was the era of the Vietnam War. My Brother fled to Canada to escape the draft. I didn't see him again for 20 years. By the time I was old enough to be exposed to the draft, a lottery had been established and I got a "lucky number". Then the war was over. Now we trade with Vietnam.

In the 70's I got married to my wonderful wife two days after Nixon resigned. In those days, people were worried about hyperinflation, overpopulation, environmental suicide, global famine, and the collapse of the economy along with a fast approaching ice age. None of it happen.

So it went and so it goes - each decade presenting both personal and cultural crises that were nigh unto certain to destroy everything...and they *could* *have* *happened*. But didn't.

So, back to the title of this piece. "I am two years old". How so? Simple - my father died when he was 55. I am 57, two years older than my father. His father died when he was 53. His father died when he was 50. I have now lived two years longer than any of the last three generations of men in my family. I've been able to see my son marry, I've seen my daughter learning nursing in college, I've made many many new friends and seen and had a hand in driving new innovations that bring potential for reduced suffering and opportunities to pursue joy, both for myself and others - not least of which being the potentials represented by My Bridge 4 Life, and the Methuselah Foundation.

Yes, this year there is legitimate cause for worry. Hyperinflation, hyperdeflation, asteriod hit, global warming, H1N1, cancer, alzheimers, heart attack, traffic accident, and on and on. But I've learned that worry is life threatening choice. Now that I'm two years old again, I think it's time I recognized that life is dizzyingly wonderful - unless you make the choice to turn it into a life sentence of worry and anxiety. As recent research confirms the ancient wisdom, we now know that worry itself can kill...and on the way to killing, it turns life into self-made jail without bars.

So, I am dedicating myself to using these dividend years to consciously and deliberately EXPERIENCE the good times, and to choose to expect that things are going to turn out better than ok. Why? Because - so far - the vast majority of the things that I have worried about have not happened and I refuse to waste any more time with needless worry. Oh sure, one day something will probably get me, but until then, I'm going to pursue joy and actively shove worry out of my life and replace it with optimism.