The New Normal

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There’s nothing wrong with getting older. It’s almost as if the ‘over 65’ crowd is ‘the new normal.’ Aches and pains aside, more people than ever before are living into their eighties, their nineties and even living long enough to hear Willard Scott read their names (not as part of a memoriam but) on a Smuckers jar.

One noble aspect about aging is that it doesn’t discriminate – all races and genders, if they’re lucky, can be members of this inclusive club. The only rule is that you do it right… the living, that is, not the dying.

Old people are constantly portrayed as those suffering from incontinence, heart disease, arthritis and memory loss. They’re seen as cranky, unattractive, frail and forgetful. The fact of the matter is, today’s elders are actually computer literate, taking classes, starting new jobs and finding ways to improve their lives.

It’s no longer enough to just sit back and enjoy your retirement. You must keep an open mind and not be afraid to fail. You have to be open to discovery and appreciate life – especially knowing that your time may be limited.

Always remember this… You don’t get to choose how you’ll die but you sure can choose how you’ll live!

Just In Time

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Just in time for winter… when your t-shirts and jeans are all put away and your long-johns and fleece pullovers are neatly folded in their place. The leaves have all fallen, the days are much shorter and you can see your breath in the air.

Just in time for spring… when the last of the snow has finally disappeared (hopefully) and the buds are starting to reappear. Some of us use this time to begin our seasonal allergy regimen – whether it’s getting shots or taking pills or spraying our noses.

Just in time for summer... My parents have always used my brother’s birthday and mine, which are six months apart (plus two years), as the dates they change over their closets and bedding for the season. The pool will soon be open, the bees are buzzing around us and the ice cream truck melody can be heard in the distance.

Just in time for fall… the cycle is almost complete with the leaves turning vibrant colors and the warm days behind us. The water’s too cold to swim in and our bathing suits are no longer of any use. We spend as much time as possible outside – walking and biking and exploring nature – before the dark days of winter are once again upon us!

Love Conquers All

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As I celebrate my birthday, I can honestly say that love does conquer all. Or, at least, it gives me the opportunity to spend this one day, my day, exactly as I want to.

For years, when my oldest son was little, we celebrated our birthdays together because his falls the day before mine. We would share a cake (always a Carvel cake – with mint chip and coffee ice cream instead of the vanilla and chocolate ice cream it usually comes in) even when he eventually switched over to one of those giant chocolate chip cookie cakes.

Sometimes we even shared parties – he would have his friends downstairs in the playroom while the parents of those children joined my husband and I upstairs for a ‘grown-up’ party. This went on for many years and, at this point, I couldn’t even tell you exactly when it stopped.

But, through it all – the planning, the cakes, the themes, the booty bags – it was all done with love and I never regretted sharing my birthday. Now, however, every birthday has a different, deeper meaning and I have a particular routine that I refuse to deviate from. I never work on my birthday and I treat it and myself with special care. It’s the one thing I do for myself, unapologetically, because… Amor Vincit Omnia!*

*Love Conquers All!

Grumpy Old Men

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There have been several movies made about grumpy old men… including Grumpy Old Men AND, years later, Grumpier Old Men. Perhaps that’s because there’s no limit to how much material is out there on the subject.

I know one such character… my Dad. I love him to pieces but he could easily have given Walter Matthau a run for his money. And not just in those movies, either. Matthau played a lot of curmudgeonly characters throughout his career – from Oscar Madison to Coach Buttermaker – and one was merely grumpier than the other.

What do we do for these aging men who have little to no patience and even less remorse? We love them, we forgive their crankiness, we try our best to make them laugh and then we leave them to their own devices!

HAPPY 85th BIRTHDAY, DAD!