Friday, November 21, 2008

I think the warranty just ran out!

Well, I’m at a crossroads of life, at least I think that is the wall I’ve run up to.  

This month I turned 65.  Yow!  When did that creep up on me?  The last thing I remember was standing over the crib just before the birth of my youngest daughter (who is now 36 years old) thinking, “The next time I turn around, she or he will be in college!”  Well, she was born, she did go to college, she graduated, she had children and I’m still wondering “What happened to yesterday?” 

Not that I mind being 65.  You see, I’ve never thought of myself as old and age never really bothered me all that much.  To some extent, living on the island has made me feel younger.  I get sufficient exercise, I eat less “junk” food, I expand my mind with tasks like reading, sewing, and cooking, yard work, blogging and creating “published” works.  Of course now the exercise includes mainly just a lot of walking and the yard work consists of telling my workman what I want done.  Oh, occasionally I pitch in with the planting and pulling of weeds, but those occasions are getting to be less and less.  And, I must admit, if I lived back in the States, I would be spending more time at a desk and/or, ultimately, in front of a T.V. and being a lot more stressed.  So, while we have frustrating moments here, they are moments that can be dealt with without going into orbit.

I have always looked forward to birthdays.  I mean, as they always say, it is better than the alternative.  I fully subscribe to the “You are as old as you feel, not as old as you look” theory.  I once read a quote by Emily Dickinson who said “We turn not older with years, but newer every day.”  And this is so true of my life these past 11 years on Guanaja.  Regardless of my age, I have had many adventures and will continue to do so.  These will bring unexpected joys along with unexpected sorrows, but that is life.  I have never thought in terms of “Boy, is he/she old.”  Rather, people were either on an equal keel with me in life, ahead of me or behind me.  

My Grandmother was never old – she was what a Grandmother, in my mind, was supposed to be.  A heavy-set woman with lots of folds to cuddle in, a handkerchief in her bosom, a stick of gum to give the little ones to keep them quiet in church and funny-looking supportive shoes.  She had gray hair, always wore a dress and always had a smile for me.  Of course, when I look at that definition, I don’t have any idea what my Grandchildren (all 6 of them) think of me! 

Age never meant much to me.  Now, health was a different matter.  Young or old, when a person is sick they are in their own category.  They all need to be taken care of, loved more and more tolerance shown.  I guess some people feel that same way about “old” people.  But, hey, when do you get old?  I have run up against people younger than me who don’t have half the stamina I have.  I have seen “old” people (in their 80's) who do more than my Mom did in her mid-60's.  Sometimes I wonder if happiness consists primarily of an attitude toward time.  If you dread the years slipping by and can find little happiness in where you are at any given time, then you are truly not a happy person.  Some people meet the day with a smile and positive attitude while others grumble and complain never wanting to see the good around them.  So, how old would you be if you didn’t how old you was? 

But back to the celebration!  My female friends on the island and I got together to toast my 65th birthday.  It was a wonderful day and, in spite of the rough seas, we all forged ahead, climbed in our respective boats and made the wet, rough trip out to a small Cay off the island which is owned by a lovely German couple.  We were joined by two women from Germany who had just arrived on the island and came along to have a good time.  We had appetizers and champagne punch.  We had champagne, ribs, coleslaw, potato salad, baked beans and fresh bread and wine and cake for desert!  

They sang the traditional Happy Birthday song and they even put up decorations in my honor.  

We laughed talked, enjoyed each other’s company and took pictures.  For posterity, I turned to the young German woman of 20 and told her “When you celebrate your 65th birthday, please think of the crazy American woman you met on Guanaja on her 65th birthday.  Even though I will be dead, remember I wished you a happy birthday!”

Hey, the best thing about growing old is that it takes such a long time!

Happy Birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday ----------------- heh, heh, heh.




  1. Thank you for your positive attitude. I hope that when I am your age, that I will be as content and active as you are. My mother, younger than you, has many health issues and because of that I have thought a lot about "growing old" and how that looks for different people. I hope that with an active lifestyle and a positive attitude, I will be able to continue enjoying life, regardless of my age. Happy birthday!
    Bilingual teacher in Omaha