Reflections on Becoming an Octogenarian
When I went to bed last night I was 79 and when I got up this morning I was 80.
I was born around 2 am, so the actual hour of my birth passed while I was asleep.
The first screw up in my life was bureaucratic and happened shortly after I entered the world, when whoever filled out my birth certificate - which was done by hand with a fountain pen - put an S on the family name of Daniel and I became the first and only Daniels in my family.
The inauspicious occasion took place at James Walker Memorial Hospital in Wilmington, North Carolina. My mother, LaRue, was 18 and my dad, Carlton, was 19. They named me Charles Edward and took me home as bald as a billiard ball and probably hungry, a condition that has existed ever since, although I did manage to grow a modicum of hair eventually.
Since I have had only a few hours of practice at being eighty, I don't really know if I'm supposed to feel or act any different that I have after the other 79 birthdays I've celebrated, but the truth is I don't.
My philosophy on age is simple. I know that time and gravity will take its toll, that you move a little slower as time goes by but that's no reason to give up doing the things you love, that you're still physically able to do. Having something in your life that you can still get excited about, something that can give you an excuse to get out of bed in the morning, that's just about all you need to keep on keeping on.
My love for my God, my family, my Country and the work I've done for the last sixty years are my motivation.
The people I work with have been through a lot with me and are part of my family. They still get excited and have the ability to make things happen and together we make The CDB remain a viable force in the music business, still making records, still playing in excess of 100 show dates a year.
Retirement is not a word that's in my thoughts or even my vocabulary as I ponder the future.
From where I stand there are still endless highways to travel, mountains to climb and long held ambitions to be fulfilled, dreams to pursue and life to be lived doing something productive.
I don't blame anybody who wants to call it quits when they reach a plausible retirement age whether they want to chase a golf ball, see those far away places with the strange sounding names or just take to the rocking chair.
But for me to turn my back on a life I love, a profession I am grateful to my Creator for giving me enough talent and tenacity to be in just because of the numerals describing my age would be denying myself and the people I work with opportunities to attempt the new, preserve the old and attack some unexplored territory.
As I begin my eighty first year I am excited about the future and approach it with a head full of new song ideas, already putting dates on the books for next year and a couple of new projects on the drawing board that could well reach fruition in 2017.
I want to thank all of you folks who have extended birthday wishes.
There are quite a few things planned to commemorate my 80th, and none bigger or more special to me than the 42nd anniversary of the Volunteer Jam at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on November 30th, when a star studded roster of talent will come together to celebrate life, music and the Volunteer State.
So from my brand new vantage point of 80 years I only have two things to say:
Thank You God for all these years!
Ain’t it good to be alive and be in Tennessee!
P.S. I actually don't think I look a day over 79.
What do you think?
Pray for our troops, our police and the peace of Jerusalem.
God Bless America
— Charlie Daniels
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