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Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015: Turning 69

Today I turned 69. This is the first of an intended year of diary posts marking the experience of entering my seventh decade on the planet on the leading edge of the baby boomers. I’m inspired by Globe & Mail writer Ian Brown, who did something similar on Facebook when he turned 60 and turned his posts into a new book, “Sixty – The Beginning of the End, or the End of the Beginning?”. I’ve edited and designed books, written a small chapter in one, but never created a book of my own.

The photo was taken through the rain-splattered window of the 8:30 a.m. ferry from Horseshoe Bay near Vancouver to Departure Bay near Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. I’m celebrating my birthday with a potentially romantic adventure – a blind date with D. from Courtenay, who is picking me up after contacting me through the Plenty of Fish dating website.

I know that long-distance connections are extremely challenging and usually foolish to pursue, but I have a hunch. As my darling daughter says, “Dad, you’re a dreamer.” There are some red flags: D.’s lovely photos are not dated and she had no time to Skype. If nothing else, I will have a mini-cruise on my birthday. Stay tuned.

Part 2

Perhaps I should pay more attention to my red flags than my hunches. When D. picked me up at the Nanaimo ferry terminal, she was lovely but clearly older than her photos. And when we sat down for coffee, she admitted she wasn’t the 62 stated in her profile, but actually 71.

I understand why people fudge ages – they want to be included in dating site searches. But old photos are harder to forgive – mine are recent and dated – and D. avoided my questions about when they were taken. I didn’t belabour the point, and we talked amiably for almost four hours. In the end, it turns out she’s an atheist and I need a spiritual connection.

The spark of mutual attraction can be a blessing, but connecting at a distance can be a curse. It stretches the heartstrings so painfully tight. When you’re together it’s like you’re married, and when you’re apart you can’t even have a cup of coffee together.

Back in Vancouver this evening, my buddy Roni Rachmani took me out for a birthday dinner at Cazba, a bustling Iranian restaurant on Davie Street in the West End. Same place we went Christmas Eve after a movie. I enjoyed his good company, and dill rice with broad beans, a tender shank of lamb and a good glass of pinot noir.

Well, that’s Day 1 of Being 69. I don’t have much discipline for doing things on a daily basis beyond eating, sleeping and brushing my teeth. But your encouragement is very motivating – thank you.

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 With Roni Rachmani at Cazba, a great birthday treat.