photo of Frank B. Shaner

Frank B. Shaner

I’m turning 75 in a month. I’m ok with that. But then I think to myself, “Wait a minute! It was just 1965 a week ago! What the hell happened?” Smack dab in the middle of the 1960s, my innocence ended.

I graduated from Kaimuki High School, experienced the Bay of Pigs, and the assassinations of JFK, Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. The Vietnam conflict was still raging, Jimi Hendrix died of an overdose and there was “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” I joined the Army and traveled overseas, then left the army and went to college. All this happened just moments ago — or so it seems. I’d never really looked back before now.

My life has been a roller coaster ride. And it’s been one hell of a trip, hanging on to this rocket, gripping this monster with my arms and legs wrapped around this force of nature, and having the time of my life. Yes, there have been rough patches, but I’ve always found myself surfacing on the other side, arising to embrace a new day and tackling the latest challenge.

I like to think of myself as a realist. I know we are all going to die and that 75 is actually not the new 50. Sorry to disappoint you. It ends up that 75 is really more like — wait for it — the old 74. What is also true is that time does fly by when you’re having fun. Sometimes I’m having so much fun in life (and this might be difficult to understand) that sometimes I won’t bathe, just so I can keep all the beautifulness of the day on me. Think about it: When you shower, you’re scrubbing the remains of the day off your body and watching it all go down the drain. The residue of those good moments does not have to go down the drain.

So just to slow life down, I sometimes choose to be introspective and contemplative — in other words, miserable. You know, when you have those days and you think, “Damn, will this goofy day ever end?” But you actually need a couple of those days every once in awhile to stretch out time, so life won’t fly by so fast. Therefore, every now and then, I throw in one of those days, just to slow down the momentum.

So there’s my simple philosophy at turning 75. Have the time of your life every day if you can. Bathing is optional after a good day. Decelerate time by throwing in an occasional rotten one. Don’t be afraid to have a downhearted day now and then.

After almost seven-and-a-half decades of life, I’ll leave you with just a few more insights. Don’t be afraid to live well, no matter how old you are. Don’t let this time wormhole throw you for a loop. Appreciate it for its time-bending effects.

The biggest mistake we make in life is thinking we have endless time, so just keep letting the good times roll until they can’t hele on no mo’.