Now And Then: Hitting 60, and life goes on

"Sometimes I lie awake at night and wonder,

Where the years have gone."

— Jackson Browne


I turn 60 this month. Looking back at an entire life of living and loving in Laguna, it still seems just a short memory ago that I was learning to tie my shoelaces (then, as now, I was all thumbs), casting off the training wheels of my bike, and discovering that one plus one doesn't always equal two.

I have understood the sense of community that makes Laguna unique since an early age — how we hold together in good times and bad. Sure, we sometimes agree to disagree, but we respect differing opinions … well, mainly so. I think it is wonderful that we choose not to live planned lives elsewhere.

Local and world events continue to swirl around us and we manage to live and work without too much interruption. A friend becomes seriously ill, and we whisper a prayer for them (and hope we're OK). A loved one passes, and we celebrate their life (and secretly hope that we might be remembered one day as well).

Everyone I know has a concern over development it seems. We need some reason to believe that our city decision makers care about our requests and concerns, not about themselves. I believe that we are fortunate to have good people shaping the policies and appearance of our village. And I always agree to disagree.

Meanwhile, historic cottages a few years older than myself are moved and then considered worthless. Please don't tell our parents about that one, nor will I share that notion with my sons, Cooper and Austin.

A shopping center garners an approval to be remodeled. I agree it was going to take more than a coat of fresh paint to update its appearance. Then trees are mandated expendable as part of the approval because they are blocking someone's view. Where did that come from? Treasure and protect views, but not by way of removal of a tree.

Never lacking for something new to regulate, the city is considering the possibility of dimming our properties through a new lighting ordinance. I can appreciate the annoyance of lighting that illuminates unintended spaces, but it seems that neighborly conversation and consideration should always be the first step.

Speaking of neighbors, the City Council recently helped settle a dispute between two neighbors feuding over an unpermitted deck extension. Both wore the expression of being slightly disappointed as they departed City Hall — the true measure of a fair compromise. Well done, everyone!

These days I muse about love lost and found, my family so far away in Japan, and Buster's fourth birthday. I hope that my editor, Cindy, is doing well in her recovery, and will be correcting my writing lapses soon. And I wonder, will you still need me, will you still read me, when I'm 64? See you next time.

STEVE KAWARATANI can be reached at (949) 497-8168 or

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