I live in a suburb of New Orleans and have been writing here off and on for 10 years. I have been married 53 years to the same crazy guy.
Being 67 today, March 14, 2013, I'd like to share some of the things that I've discovered through my life. The first is that being right matters when it's about trivia, who won what game, etc. In relationships, one can't let it matter all the time. The wins and losses have to be spread around somewhat. Saying "You're right," hurts, but you'll survive.
Guilt is irrelevant. (Thanks, Kathy, for that one.) It truly is.
Living in the present created a key shift in my life. Visiting the past is pointless and causes unnecessary pain. Living in the future creates anxiety and takes us out of the now, where our lives are.
Saving spirituality up for when you or a loved one are sick or when you're scared or miserable is not a good practice. Staying in touch with the divine every day and beginning each day with meditation or prayer is a doorway to peace.
Looking to anything or anyone for fulfillment is a mistake. Careers go away, partners leave or die, children and grandchildren have their own lives and interests. Develop the parts of yourself that give you joy and you will have fulfillment.
It's not the career or the job you will remember. It's not the car you bought or the house you built or the trip to Europe you took. When your life winds down a bit and you begin to assess what matters, it's the love you gave and the love that was given to you by family, friends, and the divine, and I include animals in the family and friends; those things stand alone as important and valuable, or at least they do for me.
Continuing those thoughts on my 70th birthday. I think one thing I have learned in the last three years is that things will go wrong with your body as you get older. Don't panic! My experience has been that most are easily fixed or fix themselves if you ignore them long enough. My husband and I have a two-week rule, especially with strains, sprains, etc.: If it's not gone in two weeks, go to the doctor. It usually is.
Last week, my husband and I drug the treadmill out of the corner and into the middle of the den and started on a diet together. We chose low carbohydrate. I don't think it matters much, but get moving and stop eating so much! That is one of the things about getting older. Although I work, it's all on my laptop and I am more sedentary each year. His work has slowed down in recent years and he's out and about less also. We are pulling ourselves out of the cocoon we were in, finally.
One of the most important decisions I think any of us can make is to be outside more. I have been trying my best to sit in the backyard at least an hour a day. Joe saw a flock of yellow finches in our oak tree this afternoon, heading for South America, I suppose. There is always something to see outside and for me, it makes me feel more connected to life in general.
Finally, if you are thinking about whether you should buy dinner for the family, give the grandchildren something they want, donate to a worthy cause, or just buy yourself a new pair of jeans, do it! We are going to England to visit our son this June if nothing interferes, and I cannot wait to see all the new sights and sounds. As we get older, life is more precious each day and more intense because it's shorter. One time when I was hesitant to burn some candles I had been saving, a friend of mine -- long gone now -- said, "Burn the damn candles. Life is too short not to."
So don't focus on your aches and pains, get moving, get outdoors more often, take a trip, make a friend, and burn the damn candles.
Happy birthday to me!