I feel so differently this birthday; many folks I hear about or have met are dying and most are younger than I. The feeling is similar to how I felt after my mother died and I became the oldest member of my family. The feeling is internal; this pedestal holds no monument as elder and exerts little influence over anyone. It hides a deep loneliness in not having an older relative to look up to, to ask for an opinion, even if it were to see what the older person thought so I felt justified in choosing my own way.I feel grateful to be alive and healthy at seventy-four, having climbed a mountain that many do not reach whole. The feeling is one of pride and humility mixed, as not only genetics, but conscious effort on my mother’s part to nurture me well and my own lifestyle choices, plus a dose of random chance have brought me here. The older generation’s superstitions leave me a bit fearful writing these words. What if I don’t fear the evil eye? (tuy, tuy) When I tore the red ribbon from my hair, said my mother, I caught the measles and became amblyopic.