“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one precious and wild life?” Mary Oliver

Are you quick to pack up Christmas/holiday baubles or do they keep you company into the new year?  As much as I delight in decorating for the holidays, when January hits I’m normally ready to welcome the new year with a clean and fresh slate.  This unusual year, I decided to keep my holiday lights up a little longer. 

So instead of taking down greenery and packing up my Santas last Sunday afternoon, I sat on my perch, surrounded by scraps of paper with scribblings on them (brilliant thoughts for future blog posts!), tablets for different blog subjects and a calendar, trying to come up with some organization.  It was snowing out and I could hear strains of Bruce Springsteen coming from the TV room where Mr. Smith was watching Western Stars the Movie.  Bruce has certainly gotten reflective in his old age.

I hit a lull in my process so to clear my mind I texted my sister.   I wrote longingly of hoping to spend some extended time with her this summer (post-vaccination), helping her work in her yard.  She has lovely visions of what she would like dancing around in her head. And me being me, I started talking about measuring and graphing out the yard and thinking about what would grow well where.  Her response was: “My sister, the inveterate planner.”

I am a planner, some might say it’s my superpower.  I love lists, sub-lists, and calendars.  If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  Sadly, COVID-19 has thrown a colossal monkey wrench into my way of life. How do we plan when we don’t know what’s coming?  After the pain of cancelling Camp Grandma last summer, I am gun shy to start planning trips and vacations.  But I also miss the process.

Personality tests and quizzes attempt to divide us into one of two camps.  Either you are a studious planner or a spontaneous free spirit.  Despite what I know about my nature, I took a couple of online quizzes and yes, I am admittingly a Determined Planner.

I know that I am never going to be comfortable with the “oh, let’s just wing it” approach.  But aren’t we all planners to a certain extent, or at least we must acquiesce to a certain amount of it?  You don’t wake up in the morning, brush your teeth and say – hey, I think I’ll drop by my doctor’s office for a visit.  We don’t sit around waiting when we need a repair person thinking they will serendipitously show up.  We schedule them.

Likewise, I don’t think all planners are devoid of joie de vivre.  As much as I like to know what’s on the schedule, I have been known to call an audible.  I have never played professional football, but I have been at the metaphorical line of scrimmage and had to change my plan.

This new year more than ever, I will accept my natural tendency to be a planner, but also endeavor to find a bit more balance in my life.  I will never be laissez-faire, but I will try to be a little less controlling.  It could be an adventure.  If we learned nothing else in 2020, it’s that we have very little control over our lives and the control we do exert can unexpectedly or quickly become a mirage.  

Summer will come and instead of being overly rigid or stringent when working with my sister on her landscaping, I will strive for harmony.  Between the two of us, we will bring the best of both worlds.  Just like I believe our lives are enhanced when we surround ourselves with others who think and believe differently, I believe we can both bring our different skill sets and create something better than either of us would on our own. 

In Anne Lamott’s book, Almost Everything, Notes on Hope, the Prelude begins”

            “I am stockpiling antibiotics for the apocalypse, even as I await the              blossoming of paperwhites on the windowsill in the kitchen.”

This book came out in 2018, long before COVID-19 was front and center on our minds each and every day. The realities of the Pandemic are unprecedented, but I have always been worried about something, often trying to plan for the unexpected.  While I am a planner, I am also a realist.  I realize we can’t foresee all that life may throw our way.  I will take Mary Oliver’s wise words to heart and do my best not to waste my one precious and wild life trying to plan out every detail.  I think I’ll start by buying myself some paperwhite bulbs and wait for them to bloom.

C’est la vie.

Cheers to me…

A new year and a blog anniversary!  Two years of posting twice a week.  Through a pandemic and the corresponding lockdown, I somehow managed to stick to my schedule, despite most days feeling like Blursday.  There is a definite lack of novelty in my life these days.  No trips to the city, no parties or dinners out and no visits from the grandchildren.   When every day is pretty much the same as yesterday and you aren’t creating new memories, what is there to write about?  

That is what was going through my head while out on a walk with Mr. Smith a couple of weeks ago.  I shared with him that I was thinking of going to posting once a week instead of twice and trying to funnel my energies back into my book.  He was quiet for a moment before saying, “I don’t think you should do that.”  He encouraged me to keep posting twice a week AND get back to working on the book.   I should treat writing like a job and devote the proper time and attention to reaching my goals.  

Mr. Smith has long been my muse.  I had toyed with the idea of writing a blog for several years, but never got past the thinking about it point.  It was his Christmas gift three years ago of a vintage typewriter and a copy of John McFee’s Draft No. 4 that finally pushed me over the proverbial hump.  There is magic in seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes.  When another person – especially someone you love and admire – has faith in your ability, it becomes easier to gather up your confidence and move forward.

As we walked along the Susquehanna River that day, I mulled over what Mr. Smith had shared.  He was correct that I had the time.  I love my little blog and had been wondering where to go with it.  I have no desire to “monetize” it, blogs with lots of ads drive me crazy.  I don’t want to link to Pinterest, imploring people to share and pin my posts.  I simply want to write a blog that keeps me engaged in life and that readers find interesting, but lately it seems tough to come up with blog topics.  As we continued walking and talking that day, I had another idea that I think is my solution.

Sunday posts will continue to be the staple, but Wednesday posts will follow a formula.  For at least the next year, the first Wednesday of every month will be a book(s) review.  Reading has kept me sane through the pandemic and deserves an earned spot.  The second Wednesday of the month will feature “A Congenial Table”.  I don’t want to give too much away, so consider this an amuse bouche!

I am excited about the third Wednesday, “Women of Consequence”.  We will visit women whose activities have created consequence whether through writing, social activism, talents or accomplishments.  The fourth Wednesday will be reserved for my stream of consciousness ramblings, “Midweek Mélange”.  On months that have a fifth Wednesday, it will be “Wordless Wednesday” when I post a favorite photograph.

I’m excited and a little (pleasantly) surprised to be starting my third year of blogging.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for every read, share and comment.  

Happy New Year and cheers to you all.  

C’est la vie.

‘Twas the night before Christmas…

Do you remember where you were on Christmas Eve, 1971?  I do.  I was 16 years old, a junior in high school and working the 2-10 shift at the Indiana Toll Road Wilbur Shaw Plaza Restaurant outside Rolling Prairie, Indiana.  There weren’t many places for a teenager to work in our small Hoosier town, so scoring this waitressing gig was a bit of a coup for me.  The main drawback was the “attractive” uniform.  When Howard Johnson restaurants were on their rise to fame, Christian Dior was hired to design the uniforms.  Unfortunately, that was not the case with my employer.  You can just see the lovely bow we had to wear on the back of our heads peeking out.  It was precious…

Few people want to work on Christmas Eve, but I didn’t really mind.  The regular truck drivers would wish me Merry Christmas as they headed home, happy to be off the road for a couple of days.  Traveling families were a delight, little ones often cozy in footie pajamas for the trip, excited to be on their way to grandma’s or other family.  They were usually very excited to tell a willing listener (me!) where they were going, what they were hoping for from Santa, and if one of their parents had blurted out a bad word while negotiating the busy holiday traffic.

The afternoon passed quickly but after dinner time business slowed to the occasional truck driver or harried traveler just wanting to get to their final destination. About the time I started to watch the clock crawl towards 10:00 p.m., a customer came and sat in my section, making me forget about the time. He wasn’t dressed all in fur from his head to his foot nor wearing red, but he was definitely the spitting image of my childhood picture of Santa Claus!    While fetching his coffee order, the only other waitress working that night made a beeline to the coffee station. “Ask him if he’s Santa!”  She was relentless in her badgering, but I refused.  Was I sensitive enough to think someone who bears such a striking resemblance to Kriss Kringle might not welcome yet another inquiry into his identification?  More likely I was a sullen teenager wanting to believe there just might be a little magic left in the world.  That I wanted to hang onto the wish that Santa were real and sitting in my section drinking a cup of warm truck stop coffee.  The gentleman finished his twenty cent (it was 1971) cup of coffee, put down the money for his check and took his leave.  When I went to clean up his cup, he had left me a dollar tip on his twenty-cent bill and this post card.

My shift ended and I headed home, knowing I had to be back to work at 6:00 a.m. Christmas morning. Christmas Day had been divided into four-hour shifts, so I would be done for the day at 10:00. My younger brother had lobbied hard that we open gifts before I left for work at 5:30 a.m., but luckily my parents vetoed his wish.  My four hours passed fairly quickly while my co-worker and I poured quarters into the jukebox, playing all the Christmas music it offered.  I’ll never know whether it was my postcard Santa or not, but I got my magic that year.  When I arrived home after my four-hour shift, what to my wondering eyes should appear but my beloved Aunt Ruby!  She and Uncle Ike had left their home in Illinois at 5:00 a.m. to drive to Indiana and be there when I got home from work.  It was a total surprise and one of my best Christmases ever.

Wishing you all your own moments of magic this unusual holiday season and perhaps a glimpse of Santa wherever or whenever you might need him.  

C’est la vie.

Brown paper packages tied up with strings…

midweek musings…

How’s your holiday shopping going?  Every day in our mailroom there are piles of deliveries courtesy of the beleaguered UPS, Fed Ex and USPS delivery people.  Luckily my shopping is almost complete as I’m only waiting on one last delivery.  Today we are under a Winter Weather Warning due to the first Nor’easter of the season and I’m watching out my window for the first flakes to start falling.  While we are only expecting about seven inches, higher elevations nearby are expecting up to two feet.  That’s a lot of snow!

But from my cozy perch inside the love nest with no need to go anywhere, I look forward to the snow falling and turning my view into a winter wonderland.  This afternoon I am going to crank up the Christmas music and try my hand at making biscotti. But this morning as I sit here with a cup of tea, my mind drifts to wintertime memories. There was a time when a major snowstorm ten days before Christmas would have caused me considerable panic, but that was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. 

When our sons were growing up, they looked forward to providing Mr. Smith and me with a Christmas list of all the loot that would make their Christmas dreams come true.  We would review their lists and try to find a balance between delighting our children and avoiding excessiveness.  Some years we succeeded more than others.  Who doesn’t love to hear delighted squeals on Christmas morning.  Yet over time, my perspective on gifts has shifted.  I don’t want to be just an enabler to mounds of “stuff” often discarded in a few months.  Many years later when our oldest son was a father, he came across the advice of limiting the number of gifts each child receives to four:

 Something you want, Something you need, Something to wear and Something to read.

I wish I had seen that before I had children but wonder if I would have been able to stick to it any better than he has!

Years ago I worked in a family owned flower shop.  The matriarch of the family had a rule when Christmas shopping for couples.  If you were married, you received a gift for the two of you.  If you were not married – even if you were living together – you received separate gifts.  That always stuck with me and this year I’m thinking about starting some rules of my own.  

As the parents of adult children and grandchildren, we still take great pleasure in trying to come up with a Christmas gift that will please.  Along with switching to a couple’s gift for our adult children, I’m doing some serious thinking about gifts and grandchildren.  I’ve decided that up until age 10 my grandchildren can receive A toy, but after 10 it’s going to be a book.  Like most grandparents, I certainly have the urge to indulge my grandchildren, but I can do that with reading, attention, special meals and experiences.  And every once in a while, a little something special.  This year the favorite gift I am giving is to three of my granddaughters who now all sleep in big girl beds, even the youngest sister, Elizabeth.  I found vintage pillowcases on Etsy and embroidered them with the girls’ names.

This was also the year I followed in Grandma Pat’s footsteps and fashioned all my grandchildren an ornament and I plan to continue this tradition.  Grandma Pat’s ornaments made for my sons through the years now hang on their trees, keeping her memory alive.  I’m guessing one day my grandchildren will remember me as they unpack the ornaments I have made for them at Christmas time and be reminded of all our special adventures together.

C’est la vie.

Walking in a winter wonderland…

Fellow blogger, Betty Chambers who writes Chambers On the Road, commented on my post, We Need a Little Christmas, that one of her favorite activities to put her in the Christmas spirit is “…walking at night and viewing the holiday lights.”  Mr. Smith and I walk a lot, but we are usually dutifully getting our steps in during daylight and not fully appreciating our surroundings.  I was inspired by Betty’s comment and decided I wanted to spend one mild December evening strolling our neighborhood with no agenda other than soaking in the spirit.

We don’t live in a subdivision or residential neighborhood decked out with festive lights or other holiday garb.  No Christmas inflatables, no animated guitar playing Santa.  We live in the River Street Historic District.  Decorations here are few and far between.  Wilkes Barre was founded in 1769, reaching the height of its prosperity in in the 19th century when massive coal reserves were discovered nearby.  Factories and railroads sprang up around the booming coal companies and those coal barons needed places to live.  For many years, River Street Historic District was primarily a district of wealthy industrialists’ mansions and upwardly mobile merchants’ homes. 

But then the decline of coal impacted the economy of Wilkes Barre badly.  There were no more titans of industry to maintain the magnificent mansions.  Those beautiful homes up and down South Franklin Street are no longer private residences.  One is a lovely bed and breakfast. Some have ground floor offices with apartments on the upper floors.  Fortunately, several have been purchased and repurposed by Wilkes University.  So while you may spot an elegant wreath here or there, it’s pretty slim pickings as far as Christmas decorations go. That is, until you reach The Westmoreland Club. Established in 1873, The Westmoreland is a private social club.  They purchased the beautiful, Georgian mansion on South Franklin in 1922 and still occupy the building today.

As it is a private club, I have only been inside on one occasion.  Several years ago, I was a member of a women’s club that was having their end of the year dinner there.  I had been recruited as the event chairperson’s able assistant.  I arrived at the club at the appointed time, got the lay of the land, and gave a couple of easy instructions to helpers.  It was at this point I started obsessively checking my watch as the chairperson had not arrived.  Half an hour later she was still nowhere to be found, wasn’t answering her cellphone and guests were starting to arrive.  It was her responsibility to bring the centerpieces and other items needed to complete the setup.  The Club’s manager kept checking in with me and apparently caught on to my frustration.  Predinner happy hour was well underway when he kindly brought me a glass of wine, told me they had some “stock” centerpieces for just this type of occasion and offered to complete the tables with those.  With the chairperson AWOL, I thanked him profusely and helped distribute the centerpieces.  As we were finishing the tables, the event chairperson made her entrance complete with the BALLOONS she intended to use as centerpieces.  Of course, the balloons had yet to be inflated but she was just sure The Westmoreland must have a helium tank somewhere.  They did not.  I didn’t scream at her, she didn’t acknowledge her lateness and dinner was served. That manager has most likely long moved on but should I ever run into him again, I will happily share a glass of wine and a memory or two with him.

Today The Westmoreland Club is doing what it did that day their manager helped me out.  They are doing whatever is needed to accommodate their customers.  The current crazy times call for ingenuity, so they have installed outdoor private dining rooms, a beautiful outdoor space worthy of their reputation.  Now if they could just serve me a glass of sparkling wine while I admire their fabulous set up, my winter walk would be complete.

C’est la vie.

Midweek musings…

As promised on Sunday, here is a list of ten things I am thankful for right now. Happy Thanksgiving to you all.


  1. Maturity, perspective on life, whatever you want to call it. I love the feeling of being old enough to believe ‘this too shall pass’; that a crisis no matter how serious, will eventually be only a memory.


2. A roof over my head, a warm and safe place.


3. I don’t have to go hungry. Despite any COVID hoarding, I live in a land where I have plenty for me and some to share.



5. Living in a country where we can speak our minds and most of us don’t have to live in fear of being silenced.


6. My family and friends. I doubt anyone’s top ten list of things they are thankful for would not include the people who make our life better. I am grateful for the support, kindness and inspiration of the people in my life.


7. And the kindness of strangers. On many occasions, I have been touched by the quiet everyday kindnesses of strangers, whether it be holding a door for me, rushing to pick up a dropped item or even a smile on a gray day.


8. My health. I have been blessed with my father’s sturdy genes. During the Pandemic, my daily walks with Mr. Smith have done wonders for my sanity.


9. While Mr. Smith often entertains me with his quick wit, it is my grandchildren who most often make me laugh out loud. Bad jokes, silly riddles or a “floss” dance off, their banter and playfulness add a note of fun to my life.


10. Blogging. Particularly these past several months when our activities have been limited, blogging has been a lifeline. It is often my raison d’être, the prod that forces me to exercise my brain to think about what matters to me as well as others. To be relevant. I appreciate every reader, every comment, like and share. The support and kindness of other bloggers I have met “virtually” has been amazing. Thank you…

C’est la vie.

Sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridge. Don Henley

During my recent autumn retreat to Michigan, I was lying on my sister’s couch on a rainy, cool, dreary afternoon.  With the fireplace spreading a cheery glow, I was idly flipping through catalogs and looking around her living room.  She had created a cozy, eclectic space that reflects her life.  “Oh, I found that in Paris” or “I picked that up in Spain.”  A very artsy vibe, every so often dotted with a touch of whimsy.  One of those touches that captured my attention that cozy afternoon was a little sign on her fireplace mantle, “The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which bridge to burn.”  

I questioned her about the sign.  She said the expression spoke to her and she knew she needed to bring it home as a small reminder of learning to navigate her own life.  I tried poking the bear a bit to learn what bridges she had burned and if she had any regrets without much success.  She did offer up the following reflection for this post:

“When I spotted this small block on a shop shelf it struck a chord with me.  I am not a person who travels the familiar paths in life but one who has often taken the road less traveled.  Occasionally, over the decades I have encountered the proverbial bridge.  Now I know the conventional wisdom is to not burn those bridges, however, I am not the conventional sort.  After considerable thought and due deliberation, I try to judge, does the person or circumstance that the bridge represents enhance or damage my life.  

I believe that life is precious and time the ultimate gift.  Do I continue to beat my head against the same old wall or straighten my spine and walk away, recognizing there may never be enough time in the world to solve a particular problem?  My kind sister once sent me a card which read, ‘Backbone beats Wishbone Every time.’  I love that card and it is framed in my office.  So occasionally in my life I have chosen to burn the bridge down. It is sometimes difficult but after a stern talk with your conscious, it may be the self-healing path you need to travel. And only once in a while do I look back and like a nighttime arsonist, smile into the flames.”


We have all been at crossroads in our lives when we had to decide whether to cross the bridge or burn it down.   Prevailing sentiment does steer us not to burn bridges.  I am particularly fond of, “Don’t burn a bridge and expect me to send a boat.”  When you burn a bridge, there is (usually) no going back. Yet some people burn them and proceed to blow them up with explosives.  For some, the no going back is part of the motive for the fire. 

Between celebrating my milestone birthday of 65 and having more downtime due to the Pandemic Pause, I find myself reviewing my life and choices made.  My life has been more conventional than that of my outlier sister.  In fact, I can only think of one time I truly burned a bridge.  I was engaged to be married to another man before meeting Mr. Smith.  As I sat down to address the wedding invitations, I was struck with the strong realization this was not the correct bridge for me to cross. Breaking off the engagement was difficult, no one wants to be rejected or be the rejecter.  But I had a clear recognition that I could not go through with the marriage and for the sake of both parties involved, the bridge needed to be truly burned.  My father unscored this thought.  When I told my parents I had decided not to marry, my dad said, “That’s fine, but there will be no going back and forth on the decision.”  He understood the importance of not trifling with someone’s feelings and his words helped me fully grasp the finality of my decision.

That burned bridged forced me forward.  I made a move to Ann Arbor, Michigan where I met Mr. Smith and the rest is history!  We have crossed several bridges together, we have ridden a few rapids, and a couple of times we have had to portage.  Some bridges were breathtaking and lovely.  Some were rickety and scary.  And we are still here.  

Have you burned bridges that you regret or like me, did that push you forward, exposing you to new people and new adventures?  Crossing bridges has allowed me to discover new strengths I didn’t know I had.  And the times the bridge collapsed while I was on it, I learned I can fail and survive.  I doubt many of us reach the age of 65 without a few regrets – should I have crossed that bridge, should I have burned it?  But I can’t go back, I can only go forward.  As I sit on my perch and look out over the magnificent bridge over the Susquehanna, I wonder what the next bridge will be and if I’ll cross it.

C’est la vie.

“…I stand on their shoulders.”

midweek musings…

No matter which side of the aisle we find ourselves on, I hope we can all appreciate that history was made this past weekend.  The United States will FINALLY have a woman in the White House, just a heartbeat away from the presidency.  I was teary eyed when Kamala Harris strode onto the stage in Wilmington, Delaware on November 7, 2020, to give her victory speech.  Wearing all white in a nod to our historic suffragists, the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, she thanked her country for turning out to vote in record numbers.  She challenged our children to “…Dream with ambition, lead with conviction, and see yourselves in a way that others may not, simply because they’ve never seen it before, but know that we will applaud you every step of the way.”  These are our hopes and dreams for all our children, but especially our daughters and granddaughters. 

Vice-President Elect Harris was not the only woman to make history this election cycle.  More women were elected to Congress than ever before.  Republican Cynthis Lummis was elected the first woman to represent Wyoming in the U.S. Senate.  Missouri elected its first Black congresswoman.  Congress will now have a Korean American woman, a Native American woman and the first openly trans person.  Congress took a giant step towards looking more like the diversity that is America.

After CNN called the election for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Saturday, my daughter-in-law looked at my three beautiful, smart, kind, funny granddaughters and told them, “A WOMAN!  A woman, ladies, holds the second highest position in our country!  A WOMAN will be representing our country in the world!  You get to LIVE history, I hope you are proud!”  My granddaughters cheered!   Then they coyly asked, “Can we go to McDonalds?”  Everyone celebrates in their own way…

I’m thrilled my grandchildren are growing up in, in the words of Kamala Harris, “…a country of possibilities.”  On Saturday night, I did a quick, non-scientific poll of some of my friends over the age of 65.  I wanted to know if when they were nine years old (the age of my oldest granddaughter), they ever wondered why a woman wasn’t president.  With the exception of one self-proclaimed rebel, they were right there with me, accepting without question that men run the world.  By the mid-sixties, some of us started to question the status quo, but it truly has been a loooooong process.

So, Kamala, while I toast your accomplishment, I will be watching.  I fully realize you and President Elect Biden face staggering challenges you didn’t create and every decision you make will be scrutinized.  We know you will remember the wisdom of the extraordinary Congressman John Lewis, “Democracy is not a state.  It is an act.”  Don’t let my granddaughters and me down.  We’re counting on you.

C’est la vie.

midweek musings…

Elections matter and 2020 will be like no other in our recent history.  People are voting in record numbers here in Pennsylvania. Combine the incredible turnout with running an election during a pandemic and I can only imagine the issues the Board of Elections must be dealing with.  I decided I wanted to step up and help so last month I filled out an application online to be a poll worker this Election Day. On Monday, I attended my first poll worker training session.  I left with a feeling of frustration and the beginning of a headache and I bet I wasn’t the only person.  Our “training” consisted of a 90-minute presentation by an employee of the company that provided the electronic poll books to Pennsylvania. When leaving, I was given an Electronic Poll Book User Guide. No discussion of election rules and procedures.  No COVID-19 guidelines.  Really?  This was my training?

A poll worker is only as good as their training, so I decided to be proactive and get my 65-year old self comfortable.  I called my contact at the Board of Elections to book another session.   Andrea, who originally contacted me to work on Election Day, got me scheduled and patiently answered all my questions including ones with regard to COVID protocol.  Her professionalism and expertise did much to put my mind at ease. I want voters to feel confident and at ease about their experience when they leave our precinct after voting.  A citizen’s vote is too important for them to leave wondering if their vote counted.

I will be ready to do my civic duty on November 3.  I served on a grand jury when we lived in Indiana and again when we lived in New York.  Both were fascinating experiences.  My guess is participating as a worker in our election process will be just as awe inspiring.  I am eager to put on a mask, roll up my sleeves and do my part. So, I will attend another training session and diligently study my User Guide to be as prepared as possible.  And I will bring hand sanitizer.

On a brighter note, we have a winner!

I am thrilled to announce that Julia T is the winner of the first ever Camp Grandma Musings give-a-way.  Julia, the replica of the Women’s Suffrage window sign poster is on its way to you!  Thanks so much for reading.

C’est la vie.

Old age…try it, you might like it. jgk

There have been many milestones in the journey of my life.  Some conventional – first kiss, first job, marriage, having children, becoming a grandparent.  Other milestones have been rich life lessons – leaving home, surviving disappointment, gaining some self-awareness and autonomy, and realizing my parents are real people.  

With my 65th birthday barreling down, I experienced another milestone.  I signed up for Medicare.  My wallet now contains my crisp, new Medicare card, my Medicare supplement card and a shiny red AARP card!  There was a time in my life when I thought of 65 as over the hill.  Now I think of it as just settling into the best years of life.

Many friends have told me that I am “aging well”, but what does that mean?  To age well, do we have to look younger than our age?  I am looking to be a better version of my younger self, not a younger version of my current self.  Despite our ageist society, I see aging well as living a purposeful and creative life.  I want to be open to new ideas and adventures, often stepping out of my comfort zone.

I still want to dress well and have the energy to hike a mountain trail with Mr. Smith.  I still want to be seen.  One problem with growing older is that you are often treated as if you are invisible.  My sister and I were shopping one day and approached the counter for her to purchase a pair of pants.  She must have really wanted those black and white houndstooth pants because she tolerated the rude salesperson who directed all her questions and conversation to me, ignoring my sister who was actually making the purchase!  This is never acceptable, besides the person assisting us was a mature woman and should have been aware that older doesn’t mean invisible.

As my pandemic 65th birthday approaches, I know it won’t be the celebration I once envisioned.  I will spend the next month thinking on how I can make it memorable.  Champagne, cake and Mr. Smith come to mind.  And what’s a birthday without gifts???  For my 65th, I plan to give myself the gifts of better perspective on life, more self-confidence, and letting go of old grudges.  And should family or friends choose to add to my gift pile, all the better!  Gifts from the heart are always the best.  And of course, I never say no to jewelry, especially jewelry from the heart!

C’est la vie.