This is my column that is in this month's issue of The Leaf, a creative arts and music monthly paper in Birmingham. I hope ya'll enjoy it.
My mom was right. She had always told me if you didn’t look in the mirror, most days you would never know your age. This month is my 65th birthday. Most days I truly would not know my age if I avoided mirrors. Like many my age, there are some health issues but I live a healthy lifestyle and it has paid off.
When I was 25, 65 seemed an eternity away. The world was my oyster and every day I found a pearl. I still try to find a pearl every day. My parents, grandparents and older friends and siblings often told me how quickly time would pass. I laughed. Around the age of 39 when my father made his final transition, the speed of time passing caught my attention.
The fascination of healthy living captured me in my twenties. I devoured all the information I could on health. I started my yoga practice, and thanks to my mom’s interest in health I found the path I needed to be on. Though I admit, I strayed often in those early days. After all, when you are young, you think you have forever.
My parents and my father’s parents taught me the value of growing your own food. I learned that clean water, produce and eggs fresh from the hens were my best friends. My mother taught me that home cooked with love meals were better than any you could buy in a restaurant. I am eternally grateful for the small farm we live on.
Growing food, taking care of chickens is hard work. I have found that with age the earlier you rise on a farm, the easier the work. Now I know why my grandparents went to bed when the sun set and got up when the sun rose. There is nothing like the taste of apples, peaches and pears fresh off the tree. A ripe juicy tomato fresh and warm must be the fruit of the gods.
I have heard it said that aging is not for sissies. That is a true statement. Watching friends and family members make their transitions as the years go by is hard. Seeing the changes as your body ages is difficult. Knowing that there are things that become harder for you to do is not easy. Living one day at a time becomes your mantra. To be happy you cannot live in “the good old days.”
Like it or not, today, this day is your good old day and you can choose to find the pearl or toss it away.
If I could tell my 25 year old self anything it would be to take it all in. The good, the bad, the happy and sad and makes us who we are. I want to be the old woman that everyone wants to be like, not the one everyone wants to avoid. I want to wear all those pearls I have collected every day of my life and never forget how valuable they are. No matter your age, you can chase happiness or choose happiness. It’s your choice. Happy Birthday to me!