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Posts Tagged ‘eighty’

Yep, I’ve done it again – partied for a week.  This indulgence all started with my 80th birthday back in 2006. Some of you will remember a three-day party at a beach house near where I live.  It was such a smashing success that we can’t help but trying to replay it.

That year, on my actual birthday, we all dressed up and went to the Mendocino Hotel for a no host party. In other words, the whole event was Dutch Treat. Everybody bought their own drinks. Whenever anyone got hungry they ordered from an adequate bar menu and somebody brought it to their table. No getting ready for a party. No cleaning up after a party. Just being together.

So we did that again this year on my actual birthday, March 22nd. Since friends started arriving in town four days before that, and kept coming and going for days, the hotel gathering was very small but it was wonderful. I had TWO martinis, just to see if I could, and came home feeling that this really is the best way to “throw a party”.

I thought that that was it … but no.  When I went to work Thursday there was this gigantic cake (about 2 x 3 feet in actual size) and I learned that all the local Realtors had been invited to an Open House for ME. And on and on until Sunday night. Sunday afternoon I made my first appearance at a local bookstore and read from “Getting Lucky at Eighty” and then my buddy Michelle took me out to supper.

Monday I stayed home all day and slept.

Frankly, I was much happier being 84 than I am being 85. Silly as that sounds, I really mean it. Aren’t we wierd creatures though?  At 45 I felt sad that I was not who and where I wanted to be. By 60, I’d found me and took this “vow”. I will prefece every decision with: If I knew that I only had one year to live, would I do this?

I recommend that you adopt that habit no matter how old you are. It has saved me from all but two major decisions … when I forgot to ask my self the question .

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This is all so completely new to me and so out of my “territory,” I can’t believe that I’ve actually missed blogging for the last few days. But I have. And that’s that. I’ve been unreasonably busy at other things, mostly fun things, but also accomplishing a great deal.

For several years of my life, I came home to somebody to talk to, to share the day’s events with. That’s been missing in my life for decades now and somehow, crazy as it seems, being connected to the rest of humanity with this blog sort of replaces “someone to come home to.”

It’s OK to laugh or to think I’m weird. This is NOT what I expected from the  internet a few years ago when I toyed with the possibilities of this new “gadget” in my living room and where it might lead. It was quite evident to me, from the very beginning, that the internet held the possibility of bringing about “the brotherhood of man”, a method of connecting so easily that we would accidentally stumble upon the fact that we’re all more alike than we are different.

That it should happen this quickly and this easily comes as a complete surprise to me. It gives me one more reason, possible the best reason of all, to be grateful that I have been allowed to live this long and still be independent, resourceful and comfortable.

I hope the day will come when all of my fellow human beings will know what I mean by that.

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Every Tuesday evening the local bridge club meets for a friendly competition. It is competitive because duplicate bridge just is. It’s also a pretty good measure of your skill because other tables of players play the exact same hands that you play. A record is kept. My partner is one of those younger men in my life and we play to have fun, not to win. We’re always pretty much in the middle as to scores. I feel so lucky to have Gary for my partner. He’s really special.

Because I got there a little late last Tuesday night, I had to park all the way across the paved parking lot from the entrance.  When the game was over, it was dark and having to walk that expanse of black under-footing to get back to my car was a bit daunting.  I jokingly stood at the curb and called to my Sebring to come to me.

It got a couple of chuckles, but no car.  And then this lovely woman offered to go get my car and bring it to me.  She actually meant it and believe me, I didn’t hesitate for one moment to take her up on her offer.

For an independent ole girl like me who spent most of her life unable to ask for help, I always have to smile at how welcome help can be.  It’s one of the little treats that comes with being over eighty.  You can no longer deny that you could use a little help.  Sometimes more than a little help.

People like to help other people. How come I didn’t know that? How selfish of me to deny others the satisfaction of helping me all those years.

I don’t know about this karma thing, but I do have to ask myself,  “How come”? For example, do you think it’s possible that for every mile I walked faster than anybody else on the street, I now get to walk a mile at a snail’s pace–lagging behind everybody else? My mind is still way out front there, putting everybody else to shame, but my body rebels in such a way that I really can’t argue with it.

I’m sure that if they hadn’t slowed me down, I’d be dead by now.

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FLYING DOWN 101

When I was a kid getting to ride in a car was a pretty special treat. Whatever it is that’s special about it has never gone away. And like a lot of other things, my appreciation for the automobile is not only still there but seems to intensify as the years go by.

During some of the tough years, I would sometimes get through the tough times by thinking about  hopping into my car and just driving and driving and driving. Many times I would wish that I would never have to come back, but, of course, I did; I was a mother.

Last weekend I invited a friend to join me and we met my younger daughter, Erin, half way for an overnight in Eureka. These meetings are practically harmless except that we’re shopping freaks and have excellent taste in food.  We had two memorable meals together, found great bargains, and Michelle and I laughed about having another Thelma and Louise experience.

But the best part of all was the drive home. If you’ve never been to northern California, you can’t know how much beauty there is to be taken in when you hit the road to go somewhere–anywhere. Highway 101 from Eureka south to Leggett is no exception, especially now that they’ve opened up that new four-lane cut off where there used to be an on-going rock slide threat.

I swear it felt like flying. My little Sebring is a fun car to drive at worst and on this trip home it seemed to take wings. The cruise control was set, there was no  sound, and not a bleep in the pavement that I could feel. What a joy. What a blessing to be able to feel so much joy, to be sharing it with a friend, to have a home to go to, to be a spoiled brat American and over eighty. Thank you, God.

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Four kids was the magic number. Everybody born in the 1920’s wanted to have four kids. That was because so many of our generation had been only children. They felt cheated that they didn’t have brothers and sisters.

That had never happened before–that only child thing. Women’s liberation really came about when women had a contraceptive for the first time, you know.  That’s why they called that whole era “the roaring twenties.” (The device was made of gold and was called a pessary. It’s now plastic and called an IUD. The pill came later.)

It would not surprise me to learn that “the universe” now questions whether it was maybe too soon to turn loose those unprepared young women.

The first thing they did with their emancipation was to almost turn their backs on feminity and begin to emulate men. They’ve taken that about as far as it could go. Now we’re seeing signs of a return to balance.  

Take, for example, “Dancing With the Stars” surprising success. I think it’s symbolic. It’s a beautiful thing to watch men and women dancing together again.

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When you’re 83, everybody on Earth is a kid – by comparison.  Furthermore, you can call anybody anything you like when you’re over eighty. No rule book has ever been written for people with that particular claim to fame. Nor am I proposing to write one.

I’m sitting here at my beloved Vaio, in the picture window of my glorious yard, with the fascinating challenge of introducing you, the younger reader, to what it’s like to be over eighty. Hang with me, and you’ll begin to look forward to it.

I have a particular kind of love for the whole baby-boomer generation – being wholely responsible for bringing four of them into existance. Well, OK, I was impregnated by their father. Yep, the same man for all four. That was acceptable, if not expected, “back then.”

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