Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Better than the alternative...

Last year on this date, I turned 70. That number sounded old to me, but I didn't feel especially old--a good thing, of course.

You've probably figured out that today is my birthday again, 71 this time. This time I do feel older. It's partly because of those two or three falls I took in November, and the two cataract surgeries I had in February. And also this: Now that I can see better, I am much more aware of all my tiny wrinkles. I was thinking that my skin had aged a lot in the last month or so, and I was blaming it on our everlasting winter weather. Then I also noticed more "salt" in my salt-and-pepper hair. I like the effect, but that's beside the point. It isn't the weather...it's the fact that now I can see what's been there for a while.

To avoid falling when walking outside in winter weather, I plant my feet and walk slowly, watching the ground. I think, "Geez, I'm walking like an old lady." Then I remember that I am one. This is real.

In fact, growing old is a gift. My mother would have been a delightful old lady, but she died just before her 64th birthday. It doesn't take much for me to remember that as bad as it may be to grow old, it's better than the alternative.

This morning after breakfast I was sitting on the window seat in the kitchen and two lovely children crawled into my arms. We've been talking about my age. Vi has her eye on a few things she wants to inherit when I die. In the next moment she hastens to say she hopes I live to be 200. I tell her my goal is 90, or maybe 95.

I know, of course, that we don't control these things. Instead, I remind myself to enjoy the moments, the delights, the gifts each day brings. I make a birthday resolution to remain open to the lovely moments of life. Then I go back to writing the book, facing an unrelenting deadline. And then I take another few moments to write a blog post to remind myself, and to share with others, what a lucky woman I am.

23 comments:

DJan said...

Yes indeed, you are so lucky. I have no grandchildren to crawl into my arms, but I can share your delight in your own. We are "of an age" as they say, as I am also 71, and as I age I am grateful. My mother only lived to be 69, so we have many things in common. I'm so glad you're here and blogging. :-)

Rubye Jack said...

I'm only 66 but I started seeing aging at 60 and just this last year have started doing some funny walking. Arthritis. Ah well, I still think the good outweighs the bad.

Teresa Evangeline said...

Happy Birthday, Nancy! You look wonderful! Tap dancing lessons and all you do ... it's a source of inspiration ... Have a great evening.

joeh said...

Yeah, 200 is way too long. 90 would be nice, by then i'll be way tired, but at 68 I'm not tired yet.

We did some work on our bathroom and probably paid too much. My son said as much. I said "What do I care, it's your inheritance."

Pauline Persing said...

Like you, I keep reminding myself of the joys I can keep on enjoying because I am on this side of the sod. However, I realize more and more that aging does create challenges. Fortunately, I have a 92 year old neighbor across the street who reminds me daily that there is still a lot of living to be done. My goal is to live as well as she does.

Jeanie said...

Your photo with the kids loudly says that no matter what your age you are still enjoying life. That is truly a picture to cherish.
My mother died at 51 so I am also very aware of my good fortune in continuing to age.
Happy birthday!

Jeanie said...

I think Vi Mae has a career in diplomacy! Or flea marketing!

Happiest of birthdays to you -- indeed, you are blessed. And yes, it is a gift to age and to age with relatively good health and little gray (cataracts notwithstanding!).

I was thinking of you the other day -- taking tap, being so involved with your volunteer work and the carrousel and writing and I though how much I admire that. I have a feeling you'll be tapping at 93! I hope so!

Kc W said...

Happy Birthday Nancy! That is a wonderful picture and grandchildren sure are the best things to hug! They help keep you young, too as you can see on your face. Hope you have a wonderful day and have many more birthdays in the years to come.

Linda Myers said...

I, too, am noticing the lines in my face - probably because the bathroom mirror in our winter home is closer than the one at home.

Nothing like a lap full of grandchildren, is there?

Far Side of Fifty said...

Happy Birthday! I am glad you can see better even if that means you see wrinkles and silver hair! I have been wondering how the book project is coming now that you have the surgeries behind you...carry one..do your best! :)

Stephen Hayes said...

Last year you told us you were 70...and now you admit you're 71. When will the lies stop? Just kidding. Happy Birthday.

Miss Dazey said...

Happy Birthday! I trust you have some fun and games to celebrate this important day.

I celebrate my added years with joy. (I'm 71) I smiled over your cataract statement. I was amazed how much more I could see after with my new eyes.. like dust and cobwebs.

Jayne Martin said...

I love this post, Nancy. You radiate beauty in that lovely smile. I'm shooting for Betty White's age, whatever that may end up being. And her energy and love of life, too. I'm sure laughter has a lot to do with longevity. Happy Birthday, my friend.

Jayne Martin said...

I love this post, Nancy. You radiate beauty in that lovely smile. I'm shooting for Betty White's age, whatever that may end up being. And her energy and love of life, too. I'm sure laughter has a lot to do with longevity. Happy Birthday, my friend.

Retired English Teacher said...

You are so fortunate! Aging is tough. It beats the alternative. Each day is a gift. You are a gift to us. You are a gift to those wonderful grandchildren of yours, and to their parents. Here's to another year of getting wrinkles, to staying active, and to knowing what is really important in life.

Grandmother (Mary) said...

Happiest of birthdays to you. May you, your grands and your dragons thrive! I love your attitude and your gratitude- you'll be my teacher in this. We are the most fortunate of women, are we not?! Love the photo. Keep dancing- my father says it's the secret to his longevity (97).

Daughter Number Three said...

Love this. Thanks.

Eolist Petite said...

that you are... lucky and blessed. :)

and by the way; my darlin' grand daughter asked me what the lines on my face were once. i told her they were called "wrinkles" and then she asked how i got them... before i could answer, she figured it out on her own and said;
"i really think it's because you smile so much!"

out of the mouths of babes... <3

Happy Birthday to you!

troutbirder said...

Well said. And true. I'm counting on the fact that based on the fact that my dad and all his Potthoff siblings who lived all their lives in St. Paul well into their nineties left me their longevity gene....:)

Anita said...

I like this post and all the comments, too. You are positive and optimistic; not everyone is who has entered the so-called advanced years. We play the hand we're dealt, I guess. Your "game" is going well.

Happy 71st! Continue to enjoy your life and our grandkids.

Deb Shucka said...

And we are so lucky to be sharing this stage of your life with you. As someone who is a decade behind, I'm so grateful to have women like you to look forward to and know I have much wonderful ahead of me. Love the picture of you and the grands.

Midlife Roadtripper said...

I'm grateful you took the time to write this post for it is most lovely. Heartfelt and honest. Warmed my heart to read it.

Happy Birthday!

The Loerzels said...

71? NO WAY! I'm calling you a LIAR!

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