Today is my 60th birthday. I arrive at this date having abandoned now for 2 months cigarettes and alcohol after a robust and enthusiastic 45 year career as a self-appointed bon vivant. Its not unlike what I imagine waking up from a coma might be like.

I elected to dump the booze despite being in possession of a body and brain that (I perceived) was purpose-built for alcohol-fuelled shmoozing. Hangovers stopped happening about a decade ago (except in extreme binge scenarios), and energy and memory seemed only mildly impacted.

Instead of driving to Toronto, I made these vegan cinnamon rolls. And yes, they are at least as good as they look.

That, however, is not a fully accurate accounting of the reality.

I believe my dental train wreck was likely accelerated by being somewhat pickled all the time. I also know for sure that the illusion of tolerance is part of the self-generated deceptive internal dialogue of the addictive  qualities of alcohol.

As for tobacco; if I don’t die of lung cancer or some other respiratory or cardiac failure, it will be the very definition of miracle. I’ve never been a habitual day smoker though. Only with alcohol do I crave tobacco. Which is to say, almost every day.

Pearl the cat free-climbing to give me birthday snugs.

Having put 62 days in the rear view mirror of sobriety so far, arriving at my 60th birthday with a clear head and clean body was my own birthday present to myself. I would like to think I am good for a 10-year hiatus from distilled and/or fermented festivities, after which I may resume with the ferocity and abandon only a 70 year old could muster.

Mind you, among the reasons I decided to be sober on the advent of the 4th quarter of my fiscal life, is the conviction – drunk or sober – that by the time I turn 70, the human population revision to the downside that is now still building a head of steam will likely have itself accelerated.

While I watch the pursuit of what passes for a “fulfilling” life by the subsequent generations, it becomes clear to me that there is no leadership to divert the value structure of the average citizen of the developed world to be any less self-absorbed and entitled than I grew up believing to be my birthright.

In fact, what is increasingly plain as day by simple virtue of pattern recognition, is that the elite financial parasites who built and maintain the social structures, perceptions and values of modern civilization do so because they are aware that this is the best path forward for their expectation that the population will suffer a severe reduction if just left to its own momentum thus established.

Nobody (that I know) is capable, interested or even mildly curious toward changing their values and behaviours to effect a net positive contribution to the global biome. All that matters to the entire world population is that nobody interfere with their pursuit of self-gratification.

And I am not proclaiming any moral high ground here.

I burn enough diesel in the rehabilitation of the Red Dog Farm project to compete with a small quarrie on some days. So I’m in no position to judge.

The garlic crop was a huge success this year.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t acknowledge the terrible outcome this collective behaviour is driving us inexorably toward.

I was scheduled to drive to Toronto this morning to look at a potential residence and meet some people on certain business developments. But I woke up with this burning thought that I didn’t need to actually physically drive to the broken metropolis of Toronto, and the thought of the stresses of traffic, parking and Covid allowed me to conclude, that as an additional birthday present to myself (and the ecology), I would cancel all plans, and content myself with phone and video conferencing, and forget about re-establishing another residence in Toronto for now.

If I can avoid combustion of fossil fuels on any given day, I will elect to do so, because it is a step in the right direction. So instead of adding to the exhaust smog ringing Lake Ontario today, I will cut a bunch of firewood (with a two-stroke chain saw) and finish insulating a new chicken coop.

Happy birthday to me!

About the Author

James West is the founder of the Real Economic Society and author of the Real Economist. He is an unaccredited ecologist, economist, and organic regenerative farmer seeking to reorient the values of humanity toward a rehabilitative and symbiotic mode of existence on Earth.

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7 months ago

Happy 60th birthday Jimbo, you ol’unstoppable force. They say age is just a number, but in your case, it’s more like a high score in the game of life. Here’s to six decades of breaking molds, stirring things up, and making the world wonder what hit it. May your candles be as numerous as your achievements and cake as big and sweet as your victories! Cheers to you, the eternal rebel with a cause, making waves and aging like fine, rebellious wine – love you!

7 months ago

Happy Birthday, James!

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