Getting Older ~ Getting Better

My birthday is coming up in a few weeks!

Turning sixty almost two years ago was difficult for me. As I reflect on the time that has past since that milestone birthday, I am ashamed I had such a concern. It feels good to realize I am definitely more accepting and appreciative of the “gift of time” my Heavenly Father has allowed. My daily prayer is that I treasure each and every day I am given.

I found the following passage and it almost perfectly reflects both where I am headed as well as hits a few points I have already reached in my life.  (In spite of much searching, I cannot find the author.)

p1000468

    “Old Age, I decided, is a gift.

     The other day a young person asked me how I felt about being old. I was taken aback, for I do not think of myself as old. Upon seeing my reaction, he was immediately embarrassed, but I explained that it was an interesting question, and I would ponder it, and let him know. 

     I have decided I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. Oh, not my body! I sometime despair over my body – the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the sagging butt. And often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror, but I don’t agonize over those things for long.

     I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I’ve aged, I’ve become more kind to myself, and less critical of myself. I’ve become my own friend. I don’t chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn’t need, but looks so avant-garde on my patio. I am entitled to overeat, to be messy, to be extravagant. I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

     Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 am, and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of my youth, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love. I will.

     I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the bikini set. They, too, will get old!

     I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten, and I eventually remember the important things.

     Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when a beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

     I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turn gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver. I can say ‘no’, and mean it. I can say ‘yes’, and mean it.

     As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don’t question myself anymore. I’ve even earned the right to be wrong.

     So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day.”  – Author Unknown

Savoring – Greenville, SC

“Yeah, that Greenville get ready to fall in love.”

Last Fall my husband surprised me with tickets to see an upcoming musical production (this month) for my birthday present.  The venue was the Peace Center located in Greenville, South Carolina.

fullsizeoutput_18a2

Peace Center – Notice the hanging sculpture in the lobby entrance.  It is called “Taking Flight”.

Since this venue is about two hours from our house, we decided to drive over this past Saturday morning and spend the day reacquainting ourselves with this delightful downtown.  We made reservations at one of the hotels on Main Street because it was within easy walking distance to the venue.

 

Main Street in Greenville has many delicious restaurants and a variety of shops for browsing.  The atmosphere is very relaxed and everyone is friendly.  As you walk along this mile on Main Street you will notice several of the stores have bowls of water and treats for your little canine friends right outside their doors.

IMG_3212

 

There are two favorite stores we have to go to whenever we visit:  Mast General Store and Oil & Vinegar.

fullsizeoutput_18a3

There is something for everyone in this unique store!

IMG_3221

The customer service at this store is first rate!

IMG_3232

I could not resist buying a few goodies to serve when I host an upcoming book club meeting. 

As the day passed we decided to take a break and soak in a little sunshine while we people watched.

fullsizeoutput_189e

Shortly after this photo was taken we went back to our room to freshen up before enjoying a very casual dinner and the show.

fullsizeoutput_1899

Take a look at these milk shakes!  We did not indulge, but may have to return to Grill Marks restaurant sooner than later to experience this cold and creamy delight.  They have quite an assortment of flavors such as “Chocolate Brownie Crack” and “Salted Caramel Heath Bar Crunch”. They even have beer shakes and adult beverage shakes (minus the milk). 

Before we knew it, we were back in the car heading home.  I am so thankful to have opportunities such as this to create new memories and savor these moments in time.

fullsizeoutput_1897

This area is a must see.  It is called Falls Park on the Reedy.  It is such a peaceful and tranquil setting to take a stroll.  In this photo you will see some lofts, restaurants, and hotels located along the river just off Main Street.  On the other side of the street are gentle waterfalls and paved walking trails with beautiful views of the rocky river.  There are picnic tables scattered about as well as boulders and benches for sitting.  Young people were throwing frisbees while others sat on blankets and sipped on warm beverages.  Shade is abundant and I am sure it is a favorite spot to enjoy all year long!  

Side Note:  In the spring and summer there is a Saturday morning farmers market along Main Street where you can buy homemade goodies and fresh produce.  Also, starting in mid-March through the end of September they have free concerts called Main Street Fridays. The city shuts down the one end of the street. People bring their lawn chairs and coolers while they listen and tap their feet to the beat of the live music. Others get up and dance while others visit the vendors or take their children to some of the activities designed for the younger crowd. We accidentally stumbled upon these two events on our visit last spring and had a wonderful time!  “Yeah, that Greenville!”

Bucket List Idea #2

Go tandem skydiving.

“Fun, Frightening, Beautiful” words I heard others exclaim as they each one arrived safely back to Earth.

My oldest son had been talking for months about wanting to go skydiving.  When he turned 22 I gave him the opportunity for his birthday present. He was super excited.

I began to question my sanity.  What was I thinking?

img_0303

He was my baby and I was the one sending him off on this adventure.

IMG_0015

 

 

I remember my daughter and I anxiously searching the sky for the tiny dot that soon landed safely on the ground.

IMG_0311

img_0078-1

img_0316

When I asked him about the experience he struggled for the words at first.  I imagine there are no completely satisfactory words to describe such a challenge. He then said, “It was so vast! I wish I could go right back up and really enjoy it this time, really look at things!”

Skydiving is definitely NOT going on my bucket list, but maybe it is just what YOU need!  If you have ever considered sky diving , don’t wait!

Is Age Just a Number?

p1000468

Today is my birthday!

It has been one whole year since I turned 60.  I am more accepting of this number and am looking forward to this upcoming year.

I have often heard that age is just a number and it should not define who I am or my outlook on life. My thought: Age is most definitely a number and it actually has defined who I am and my outlook on life. I am not the same person I was when I was in my 20’s, 40’s or 50’s and my outlook has most definitely changed.

In some ways, the life I have lived is not the life I thought I would live.  Life hasn’t always been fair and I have made some poor decisions. I have seen my youthful dreams give way to hard work, falling down and getting up again…. and again. Over time I have begun to understand that falls can be learning experiences and I have become more flexible and resilient.

On the other hand, my life has been a treasured journey full of amazing experiences. Giving birth and raising my children, being a wife, a sister to siblings, a daughter to my parents, a friend to my bonus daughters, a Mimi or Sweeta to my grandchildren, adventures with my best friend, and my job as an educator have provided incredibly enriching experiences. I have travelled many places, tasted different foods, and listened to lots of music. I have my faith, people who love me, and daily laughter in my life.

I am beginning to understand that the wrinkles and gray hairs I see as I gaze at my reflection each morning in the bathroom mirror represent the inner battles I won. They also represent the battles I witness, when all I can do is worry.  They signify real life and each one has a story.  Age is a number and has played its part in my identity.  I am so much richer for it.

Here’s to turning 61!  And to devouring a birthday sized slice of this delicious Chocolate Chess Pie!

chocolate-chess2_1024x1024