Sunday, December 29, 2013

We begin again.....

60 was bad. Some of you may remember that. (What I know)  It brought us all together here after all.

So,  when my friend, Paula, and I were discussing my approaching 65th birthday, she wanted to know what I had in mind to celebrate. "You must do something," she said. "It's a special one!" Of course, I'm the one who doesn't start thinking about events until the last possible second; Paula, on the other hand, plans events for a living. She won. I threw myself a party last night to celebrate,with a Retro Chinese Buffet at a local Asian restaurant. We had a great time. I'm glad she prevailed.

The point, though, is this: I was willing to acknowledge this birthday. I've settled into the decade nicely, I think.

But I have missed my monthly "thing I've never done before," after a year's hiatus. It adds a sense of anticipation and excitement that is often dulled as we age, a way to challenge ourselves just when we begin to think we've done it all. We haven't. Not by a long shot; it may take some time to come up twelve new things to do, but that's part of the mental gymnastics that go along with the actual activities.

I learned to dance, I tried a hookah lounge, tiled in my kitchen, had my palm read, and went on cruises, just to name a few of the roads I traveled when I did this before. (See more here.) Sometimes I was scared. Often I was nervous. But always I was exhilarated and I learned a lot about myself as a person, regardless of my age. I recommend it to anyone, no matter THEIR age.

I missed it last year. Not right at first; it was actually kind of a relief to not have to come up with something each month. But I realize now that it added a great deal to my life, and I'm ready to begin again. Are YOU ready?
The road ahead....

Stay tuned!

Be your biggest competitor - challenge yourself each day to 

be better than you were yesterday. Kaoru Shinmon


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Silver bells and ugly sweaters...

Have the silver bells finally stopped ringing? Did those reindeer with the scratchy hoofnails that go "click, click, click" on the rooftops finish their rounds without falling off?

Sometimes it seems like once it all starts it will never end. But here we are on the day that is either tinged with a shade of disappointment or replete with exhaustion--or both. Um, not so fast, you remind us: we still have New Year's Eve to deal with.

Scarlett tells me that I can think about that tomorrow, so bug off.

But I'm not here to grumble and "bah humbug" your day off to a grumpy start. The holidays simply reminded me of something that has been tumbling around inside my head even before Santa visited multiple parties and millions of home to enliven our lives, to toss a bit of magic glitter onto our heads and hearts.

He tries, but is often met with reactions that belie that effort as various recipients grouse that "this isn't the color I wanted" or "I don't LIKE marshmallows on my yams" or "It's great, but I just got one last night, too!"

In other words, we have forgotten how to be gracious. We qualify, we complain, we behave with a petulance that acts like a blast of cold air on the warmth that was intended by the giver.

To be gracious means to peer past the concrete in front of us to the love or fellowship or friendship peeking out behind that ugly sweater or duplicate CD or casserole with an ingredient that isn't our favorite. To give to someone who qualifies or quantifies everything is frustrating, to say the least. The long-term result may be to abandon the effort altogether, knowing that our well-wishes won't be accepted well at all, no matter what we do.

To be gracious means to be "well-mannered, courteous, considerate, friendly." And, even though it isn't included when you cheat and visit the on-line thesaurus, here's a word I will add to the list: accepting. It means to accept that ugly sweater with a smile and a hug to acknowledge what the giver meant by handing it to you at all. Or unobtrusively moving aside the bits of bacon you hate from the casserole that was made with love for your pot luck. It means a heartfelt "thank you!" as you unwrap that CD by the artist you don't follow.

As we add maturity to our years (notice that I didn't use "get old"), we come to understand that people matter more than things do. The item they just handed us isn't the gift at all. The gift is that we are here to hold it close to our hearts and they were willing to give it.

And once we smile and offer a sincere hug to the giver, gift receipts help.

“The only gift I have to give, is the ability to receive. If giving is a gift, and it surely is, then my gift to you is to allow you to give to me. 
Jarod Kintz

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A cause for celebration?

It's December 1st.

The day I qualify for Medicare.....

....which is a day to celebrate, right?

Some may be asking WHY I feel this way, as it simply means I am technically "OLD" in the estimation of many.

For some reason, I never thought I'd get here. Strange, because I am a very healthy person. (Just ask one of my close friends who was amazed that I hadn't had cause to see a doctor since 2009. She still tells people about her OLDER, healthy friend.)

So, here's to me: I'm now able to reap the benefits of all those deductions from my pay over the years. And I don't feel "old." Inside my head I'm still 25; actually, I'm having more fun now than I did when I was that young. I know how to enjoy myself, as well as how important it is to appreciate the small things that can add beauty and sparkle to our lives every day.

And I'm still coherent enough to figure out all the crazy Medicare paperwork to make it happen!


Getting older is no problem. You just have to live long enough.

You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old.

You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old.

You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old.