70 Isn’t the New Anything.

70 is 70. There’s nothing “new” about it. If anything, it is old. Or at least older. And this week on October 11, I will turn 70. And I am more than OK with it. I am happy to be around and, God willing, hope to continue to be around for many years to come.

I am a member of the “Class of 1952” when 3,913,000 Americans were born in the midst of the Boomer bubble. Boomers are defined as those born between 1946-1964, so the oldest Boomers will be 76 this year and even the youngest are now approaching 60.

I was born on October 11, 1952, in Newark, New Jersey (at St. Michael’s Medical Center). The bulk of my classmates from elementary school in Newark, from junior high and high school in Springfield, NJ and later from Rutgers, from which I graduated in 1974, are now 70. I saw many of them earlier this month at my high school reunion. It was a great experience.

There’s no shame in turning 70. It’s an accomplishment. Many of my classmates are now retired and others are winding down their careers. Alas some of them have already passed on. I still have tread, energy and endless wisdom (hah) so I continue to work for now. I do like being engaged professionally, but surely not with the same zeal nor time commitment I had when I ran ad agencies years ago. Who needs that grief! I may have indeed lost a few miles per hour on my intellectual fastball, yet I make it up with experience and craftiness. I paint the corners well. (If you don’t know baseball you won’t understand)

While 70 may not be old, it is surely “older”. And I am OK with that. In fact, the clarity in which I see life and business is far crisper than in my younger self whose judgments were more clouded and based on less experience. I am not a “grumpy old man”, yet my points of view are ones I share freely with less of a filter. Nothing wrong with that either. And I am impatient with anyone trying to blow smoke up my butt. Then again, I was never a patient man in my youth.

Yet with everyone who is turning 70 there is much we’ve experienced, including:

1. Death of a loved one/friend

Death spares no one and virtually everyone who reaches 70 has had to deal with loss. We all have our specific family issues to deal with, and as I said you don’t reach age 70 without having had them.

2. Accepting one’s own mortality

A corollary of #1 makes one appreciate that life is not forever, and as a result have a greater appreciation of times of happiness, health, family, and friends. It also makes me want to seek happiness for my (hopefully many) remaining years. The average 70-year-old will live another 15-17 years. Ladies live a little longer than guys. So, in golfers terms a 70-year-old is surely on the back nine, in fact we’ve been on the back nine since our forties. I am trying to avoid the clubhouse.

3. Major world events

President Kennedy’s Assassination, 9/11, and the current pandemic to name a few. All have shaped us. I surely remember being in 6th grade in shop class with “Mr. Ski” at Florence M. Gaudineer Junior High School in Springfield, NJ on that fateful Friday in November when President Kennedy was assassinated. Our national equilibrium shifted that day, as it did later on 9/11 and more recently with the current pandemic.

4. Our children becoming adults

Virtually none of us who are 70 who’ve had children are young. Many of us have grandchildren which I’m told is a unique joy. I have no such experience yet. But for those 70-year-olds who’ve had children they are no longer raising young ones.

So as my classmates and I turn 70 this year I am resolved to do the following:

–Be as healthy as I can for as long as I can. Nothing wrong with that. I used to discount when people would say “If you have your health, you have everything”. I understand this more at a far deeper level.

–Enjoy life—no woulda, shoulda, couldas. I am putting off nothing I’d like to do

–Appreciate my family.

–Seek joy and move forward

–Appreciate friends and always work hard at maintaining friendships. I am blessed with many friends I’ve made in childhood through adulthood. Friends are gold and they are aging as well. I do not take them for granted.

–Give to others in any way I can, whether that’s through mentoring, sharing experience or through charitable works, or just kindness to others. Family comes first (at least to me) but I also respect those that give to others and try to make the world a better place. In my modest way, within my means, I am trying to do so as well.

–I would like to play basketball as long as I am able. I am disappointed about the erosion of my skills. I was no star in my youth or middle age either. But I had a decent midrange jump shot and could rebound and block shots. My reflexes have slowed, my ability to jump diminished but my girth remains. 

–Walk more. I enjoy walking and it’s a good time for reflection, listening to Spotify and looking at the world. I am proud to have walked almost 2000 miles during this past year. Steps are good. I am a stepping fool.

Happy 70th birthday all year to my classmates from 1952. My best to my classmates for continued health and happiness for years to come.

BTW—I will be at Yankee Stadium on October 11 to see the Yankees play game one of the American League Division Series vs. the Cleveland Guardians. I would enjoy seeing another Championship soon, maybe this year? We’ll see.

More Strumings


  1. John Trush says:

    Lonny, Happy Birthday #70 on 10/11. Best wishes for many, many more happy and healthy birthdays I will soon to be a 71 year old on 11/12. I appreciate and enjoy your shared wisdom. My younger brother has dubbed this phase of our journey as The Fourth Quarter. Time to sink some important baskets when it counts. No 2022 Subway Series but I am rooting for our Yankees as always. All the best. Cheers, JT

    • Lonny Strum says:

      Thanks John. Yes, no Subway Series but I am OK with that anyhow as I am not a Mets fan. I actually don’t think an all NY World Series would be good for baseball anyhow. Having just one NY team is good for baseball (for both lovers and haters). And hopefully that one team will be the Yankees. Tough road ahead. Begins tomorrow night. We’ll see. 71 is looking good straight ahead for you. Lots of “important baskets” ahead. Be well.

  2. Wise words and observations. Back nine indeed. Glad to have you in the golf cart with me as we play yet another round. Be well and let’s both figure out why the call it a fairway wood. Happy Birthday to my October buddy.

  3. Jan Horwitz says:

    Happy Birthday Lonny! I enjoyed your article. So true. So glad to hear you are doing well.

  4. Joe McLaughlin says:

    Love the way you reflect and write…and your music interests! Makes us all better people. Happy birthday my friend! Joe

  5. John Lonsdorf says:

    Wisdom and insight, as always. Thanks for this piece, Lonny. Almost makes me want to root for the Yankees…almost, but not quite. Happy birthday!

  6. Perhaps you’ve lost a step on the court, Lonny, but nothing else about you is diminished. Your wisdom, sense of humor and writing skills are sharp as ever!
    Mazel tov on reaching this peak on the mountain. Yes, you’ve got more to explore ahead!

  7. mary padula says:

    Lonny, Always insightful thoughts from you. Please keep mentoring, there are more folks that need your help! I know I am a better person for having you as my boss. Enjoy your 70th year and many more:-)

    • Lonny Strum says:

      Thanks Mary. Much appreciated. You were (and I assume still are) a good presenter & became even better. I always pushed myself and others to practice often to sharpen their skills. Hope you can influence others to do so as well.

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