Excuse me, but “What the hell happened here in the Pacific Northwest?” Two weekends ago it was practically balmy. So warm and sunny that I actually got a bit of a sunburn on one of our weekend treks. I guess I was hoping I lived in San Diego and our glorious weather would last forever. Apparently not the case as the cruel hand of winter swept in last week and now here I sit – warm woolie socks, slippers, my favorite cords, not one but two sweaters and a scarf. This morning when I went off to Starbucks, it was still dark and I had on my winter coat and my GLOVES. I didn’t want to risk hat hair all day, so I let my ears fend for themselves. Pretty soon we’ll have to actually turn on the heat. I’m cheap…so we’re holding off until we can actually see our breath when we’re sitting in our recliners watching TV. I think that day is coming – maybe Friday.
No, it’s NOT snowing yet in Oregon.
Really, I’m not sure I can take change that comes so fast. Is it advancing years? I’m wondering if a few people didn’t actually get whiplash it all changed so fast. And, I feel the cold. In my bones. In my arthritic fingers actually. That’s new and I’m not totally thrilled about it either. I used to look forward to winter – at least for a while. Snowy days. Driving up the mountain to take the kids skiing and snowboarding. Putting on the chains. Not being able to get the chains off. It was all part of the FUN. I’m a Canadian. I know cold and snow. Apparently I lost my cold tolerance when I finally lost my accent. Just thinking about being cold makes me a wee bit cranky. I finally understand why old people move to Florida or Arizona for the winter. Old bones need heat. I won’t be going south for the winter this year so I guess it’s time to do some serious attitude adjusting. Is that covered under Obamacare? I think cranky qualifies as a pre-existing condition. Better yet, maybe I’ll start with hot chocolate + a shot of something warm and sunny in it. I feel better already. Now this is my idea of a great winter day. Sleigh ride with my girls on Mt. Charleston near Las Vegas.
I don’t know why, but today I feel OLD. I felt old yesterday too, and I was only 63 then, so I’m not sure what the heck is going on. Up until now, I have not been one to think about age. I passed 30, 50 and even 60 without any visible (or invisible) angst. Age? “It’s only a number. It’s not how old you are, but how old you feel.” And I feel good – much younger than my calendar years. But somehow, turning 64 feels different. I feel different. My body feels different and my face looks different dammit. I do not like any of this and I no longer want to play the aging game. I didn’t even wear my birthday tiara to Starbucks this morning. Not like me at all. I’ll slip that purple sparkly crown on my head at every opportunity. Maybe this year I just need a little time before I’m ready to party. Time to think about where I’ve been. Who I’ve been. Who I’ve become, and how I got to right here. Strange as it sounds, I think I need to mourn just a wee bit. And then get over it. I know all the struggles and victories and lessons learned in the past have led me to this particular place at this particular moment in my life. And it is a very good place to be. It has been a life worthy of celebration. It’s just all passing a little too fast. And I can’t control that. I like to be in control. I’m not happy.
So, my gift to myself will be a little self-indulgence. Spending time. Looking back. Taking stock. Being grateful. Wondering what the future holds. But really, just getting back to being glad to be here ~ however damn old I am.
Tonight the kids are coming over to cook us a delicious vegan birthday feast and share the bounty from their garden. By then, I’ll be ready to get my party on. To toast a life pretty well lived and celebrate new adventures on the road ahead.
And that year? The year I arrived kicking and screaming into this world of, course. August 29, 1948 to be exact. So please bear with me because it seems I’ve been giving quite a bit of thought to birthdays and aging and how quickly the days are passing. Yikes! Not to be morbid. Just observing. Perhaps I’m just savoring a little of what has been and wondering what the future holds for the little girl below.
So I thought it might be fun to take a stroll down memory lane. Here’s what I dug up for 1948. As you can see, it wasn’t exactly a banner year (well except for me).
1948 was the Year of the Rat.
The Frisbee was created by Walter Morrison and Warren Franscioni. The idea came from college kids who used to toss around empty metal pie plates for entertainment. Plastic + pie plates = Frisbee. Times were simpler then weren’t they?
Velcro was invented by George de Mestral. George was a Swiss hiker and inventor. His idea came from the burrs that stuck to his clothes while hiking. He didn’t exactly replace the zipper as he he hoped, but thanks to velcro my kids didn’t have to tie their tennis shoes until they were old enough to figure it out themselves.
Reddi Whip was developed by Bunny Lapin and was first sold door to door by St. Louis milkmen
A First Class Stamp cost 3 cents.
Ed Sullivan premiered on TV. The show was Toast of the Town.
Bread rationing finally ended in England. Chocolate was still rationed until 1949.
The Wurlitzer Juke Box was invented by Robert Hope Jones
Babe Ruth Died.
The 1948 summer Olympics were held in London. The 1940 and 1944 Olympics were cancelled due to the second world war.
The State of Israel was created.
The first McDonalds restaurant opened. Ray Kroc bought it 12 years later and the rest is fast food history.
Whirlpool introduced the first automatic wringer-washer. I remember the hand wringer washer in my grandmother’s basement. It was dangerous – just ask my sister.
The biggest hit song of the year was The Woody Woodpecker Song. The Oscar winning song was Buttons and Bows. Catchy lyrics I’m sure.
The first Polaroid Land Camera went on sale. It took 1 minute to develop a photo.
A gallon of gas was 16 cents, a loaf of bread was 14 cents, and coffee was 85 cents for a two pound bag.
You could buy a nice new tract house for around $7,500.
I share this birth year with a few notable (and notorious) folks like Alice Cooper, Kathy Bates, Richard Simmons, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Al and Tipper Gore, Prince Charles, Squeaky Fomme (remember her?) and Clarence Thomas.
What’s the point in looking backward? I’m not sure. Maybe it helps you put context to who you are when you understand where you came from. I don’t think I realized this for a long time. I was too busy looking forward. Planning for the future. These days I find myself in the most intriguing place. I am still looking forward with interest and anticipation. I’m excited to be planning a whole new chapter in retirement living, but I am also spending more time looking at where I’ve already been and holding all those special moments up to the light so I can see them clearly again (or really maybe for the first time) now that I have the time and the benefit of distance. Seeing that little girl on her horse somehow gives me a deeper understanding of the 64 year old woman I am about to become. I think it’s time I went out and bought myself a new beret. Yee Haw Cowgirl!
I’ve seen a lot of bloggers who follow a practice called Wordless Wednesday. One day a week they post only photos. Sometimes a picture really is worth 1,000 words. I was intrigued by the idea, so I thought I’d give it a try. I had a wee bit of trouble with the “wordless” part, so here’s my version… almost wordless Wednesday. Since my 64th birthday is sneaking up on me later this month, this one’s about Hope through the ages.
In my 40’s, Hope came in a jar…
In my 50’s, Hope merged with Wisdom…In my 60’s, I still have Hope, but I really need a Miracle…As for my 70’s and beyond, should I be lucky enough to get there? I think I’ll throw Hope and caution to the wind and let it all hang out. Something like this…
I’m hoping it’s just a phase, but for a while now I’ve been caught up short on more than one occasion with thoughts like “this is probably the last couch I’ll ever buy, or bed, or refrigerator or car… or whatever”. It’s kind of creepy, and it’s been dragging me down. I felt it again when my hubby joined the ranks of the formerly employed. My first thought – this was his last “real” job. It’s morbid and I know it’s not productive at all, but suddenly the road ahead seems much shorter and I KNOW WHERE IT ENDS. Am I the only one who has started to see each bend in the road as a possible dead end? I started this blog as a place to take out my thoughts for examination and they’re not all positive or pretty. Fortunately, I do not dwell here, but the view from 60+ is very different from 30 or even 50. I guess the good news is that the perspective might be better. I’m hoping to find a wider view. I’m looking for the learning here. All this sudden awareness of mortality. Mine and others. What’s the point… and I’m sure there is one. Just maybe by finding understanding, I’ll gain acceptance. Que sera, sera is the attitude I’m looking to cultivate. Grabbing the damn gusto for what is happening right now each day, each moment and savoring it. The trick for me is to not hold on so tight to the wheel. I’ve got my map and my compass and my need to control and oh yah, my worry. When what I really need is to loosen up, ride out the curves and quit worrying about the bends, or ends, or cul-de-sacs. I cannot control the Road of Life. It really is about the journey and I have a hard time remembering that.