For weeks my friends admonished me in strong tones that I simply must do something for my birthday this year.
“It’s a milestone birthday,” they reminded me. “You need a party!”
I enjoy gatherings with bubbly and cake and music. But, for some reason, I held back. It wasn’t because of the dread of turning 60! I have a rather unique way of dealing with the decades. It has puzzled my daughter for years.
“You are the only person I know who rounds UP your age!”
It’s true. It started when I was 28; I’d tell people that I was 30. And, so 38 became 40, 48 became 50 and well, I’ve been saying that I’m 60 for two years now. I’m not sure why I’ve done this. Maybe I felt it would help me adjust to the swift moving decades or protect my fragile ego. (My ego’s not that fragile, though!) In any case, I was prepared to celebrate another birthday, but I could never have guessed how I’d be celebrating it.
Like the rest of the world, we’ve been instructed to stay home to control the spread of coronavirus. But, as you can see, I left my house…safely! My neighbors all joined me for a toast, from our respective front yards, at 5:30 p.m.
I was in by 6 p.m. filling my glass with Cal Poly student made Pinot Noir to pair with my cheese pizza. And, we did have cake…three tiny cakes! I won’t forget this birthday. And, for a good long while, I’ll remember to be grateful for the simple things. Here’s to health, family and friends!
Lynn doesn’t like it when I tell her that she inspires me. But, it simply must be said. I want to be like Lynn when I grow up! She’s opinionated, talented and strong. She supports other women who endeavor to be their best while offering a master class in how to age gracefully.
I like to think I’m following in her footsteps, as she began training with Jonathan at about the same age as I did. She’s now 80 years old and living life to its fullest.
“I pay Jon instead of doctors,” she says with a smile.
Three days a week she works out alongside men and women of all ages. All younger than her. Somewhat irrelevant in Lynn’s case. She cheers me on as I sweat and sing aloud on the arc. And, reads along as I chronicle my existence on the page, referring to me as Zone’s “wordsmith.”When I took a few days off from my cardio schedule, for a couple of weeks in a row, I had a note on my Facebook page from Lynn. Seems she misses me when I’m not there!
She’s the woman who tells other women, “You’re looking good!”
When she’s not in the gym, Lynn can be found in her home studio. She’s an accomplished artist whose work, depending on the subject matter, captures my heart or my imagination or both.
The works of Lynn Lupetti
I believe it’s a perfectly natural thing for people of all ages to look for role models. I did not have a close relationship with my mother and, consciously or unconsciously, I’ve always looked to fill my life with older women that I’d like to emulate. It’s nice to be reminded, through another’s example, that life is a gift and it should be treated as such.
Cheers to my friend, Lynn! Cheers to strong women of all ages.
“It’s so big I can’t even scan it!” said my husband.
Downsizing, I think, is a lot like writing; both exercises require one to discard what is not beautiful or useful. Brutal elimination of the extraneous is a painful process. But hard work and commitment offer the potential to create a deep sense of satisfaction and true pride. My husband and I are collectors and we’ve been alive for over half of a century, so when we moved two years ago into a home, half the size from our previous home, there were a lot of items we were forced to hold in our hands and decide to keep or donate.
Back in the days when we had little money, we could measure the depth of a friendship by the willingness of a person to help us move. You see there were many, many, many heavy boxes of books and anyone who knew us, knew that! So, if someone turned up on moving day, we knew we had a true friend. Books are still a shared passion for us, but, thankfully, we can afford to hire big, burly young movers.
I started the process of downsizing a year in advance and thank goodness for that! When my friends ask for advice, that’s the first thing I say: Get a head start! The act of purging builds on itself. It’s kind of like losing weight; you lose one pound and you’re more motivated to lose the other four. It does take a lot of time, though. You have to develop a rhythm. It’s easy to decide the fate of some things. Yes, I’ll keep every love letter my husband ever sent me. There are a lot as we had a long distance relationship while he was away at UC San Diego and this was before cell phones and laptops (I’m very old!)! The closet took forever as I tried on each item of clothing and modeled it for my husband. The kitchen was a nightmare. I’m a wanna-be chef so through the years I’ve purchased many small appliances that promised to help me achieve my culinary goals. Sad to say many of them were never used. Bye, bye panini maker, waffle maker and food processor! I was forced to acknowledge that I’d never make a crepe or a donut. I did keep my large roasting pan only to discover on our first Thanksgiving in the house that it was too big for my new oven!
My second suggestion is to recruit the help of an honest friend. You know the one who knows how many cake plates you have and isn’t afraid to ask why you need all of them. Self talk is also very helpful. This can be of the silent variety or you can run it past your four-legged furry friends. It goes something like this: “When was the last time I used this? Am I sentimentally attached? Is it really fab or really handy?” Finally, if you’d like to buy a book to inform, motivate and support you, I offer the following recommendations: It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuffby Peter Walsh and the hugely popular primer by Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
Today we are happily living among our very carefully curated collection of things. My husband and I have never been, nor will we ever be, minimalists. We still have a lot of stuff, but it’s all good stuff! Oh, and about that portrait…the frame is gone, but the picture remains in a large art box filled with my daughter’s early masterpieces.
P.S. I can still find room for small dachshund shaped items and most anything in the color of petal pink.
While sitting in a popular, local bar enjoying a glass of wine with a friend, I overheard the gentleman at the next table say:
“Wow it must be hard to be one of those visiting dignitaries’ wives who are required to have their picture taken standing next to Melania!”
CNN was showing footage of the Japanese Prime Minister’s recent visit to the White House.
I laughed and whispered to my friend that I did not know how I managed to endure Sunday’s party as I was photographed many times posing with my young, tall, stunning friends who came to celebrate in my pink shed.
I returned home to google the photos from the prime minister’s visit. Although I could not locate the height of Akie Abe, I’d guess that she is at least six inches shorter than our first lady and I noted that she does not look like a supermodel. But, my research did not stop there.
I was fascinated to read about a very unconventional, opinionated and accomplished first lady. She holds a master’s degree in Social Design Studies and worked for the world’s largest advertising agency. She founded an organic izakaya (Japanese bar and casual eatery) and worked as a popular radio disc jockey (known by the handle Akky).
She has also managed to maintain her own views despite her husband’s position. She became popularly known as the “domestic opposition party” because her opinions were often in contradiction to those of her husband. She marched in the gay pride parade in Tokyo in 2014 and publicly supports the LGBTQ community.
She and her husband underwent unsuccessful fertility treatments and she has publicly stated that she has come to accept the blessings and disappointments in her life.
So, I don’t know her, but I’m guessing that she was unfazed by having a photo-op with a former model. I am however left wondering how our president feels having his picture taken alongside Justin Trudeau?!
What do you think?
This picture is a favorite of mine. It was taken a few years ago when I was 10 pounds heavier than today. The contrast of my “womanly” shape with my daughter’s young shape is beautiful to me.
My daughter got stuck taking me to a medical appointment in one of those lovely role reversals that happen once your child is grown. I was required to have a designated driver after a pain specialist gave me a couple of cortisone shots in my back. Before transporting me home, my daughter was called into the recovery room where the doctor gave her a few instructions.
As she ever so gently helped me into the car, I asked her how she liked my doctor. “Your doctor. That was your doctor?!” Apparently, she had assumed she was receiving post-procedure instructions from a medical assistant of some sort.
“You didn’t tell me your new doctor was buff,” she retorted. ” Young. You mean young,” I responded. Nope, she meant buff as defined in the Urban Dictionary: very strong or having defined muscles, hot.
I was given the chance to re-evaluate my assessment of my doctor a couple of weeks later, and I found him to be both young and buff! Wow, how did I miss that? Well, I’ll tell you how…during my initial consultation with him all I could focus on was his bright shining youth. Wow, I wondered as I left his office, are the doctors getting younger or am I getting older? Think I answered my own question!
Other clues that you are getting older:
You have to ask: it’s hot in here, right?! Isn’t it? Anybody else feel warm?
You can’t remember why you walked into a room.
You’ve fallen in love with tennis shoes. Your heels are collecting dust…literally.
You can’t seem to call your daughter’s five roommates by their respective names.
You don’t recognize your hands.
You are super excited that Saturday Night Live will soon begin broadcasting live across all time zones!
Just a few reasons you don’t mind:
You can be absolutely sure that you’ll never be perfect, so no pressure.
Tennis shoes are inexpensive and being shown on the runway this year!
It’s nice to be chauffeured around by your daughter.
You realize that most of the things you spent your life worrying about didn’t matter or didn’t happen.