The gift of 70

Thoughts to Ponder – February 22, 2016

 “The hardest years in life are those between 10 and 70.”

Helen Hayes*

That is, indeed, good news, something I needed to hear on dark, cold February morning. A few days ago I turned 70, the culmination of a 69 year roller coaster ride. The past several weeks have been a period of reflection, looking at good times and bad and realizing that they were all just experiences that made me who I am today.

While birthdays brought just a continuation of the year before, decades were a little different. For instance, on my 20th birthday I was married, expecting a baby and looking forward to turning 21 so I could vote. By the time my 40th came along my children had all left home. I was single and starting to think about attending college. Then one day I was 60 and life had changed dramatically. I was retired, but still working and living near my daughters, their husbands and almost adult grandchildren.

Now, at 70 a new chapter is beginning. I’m not sure what that means. I’m still working, enjoying play dates with four great-grandsons and still hoping to write the great American novel. While my current job cushions the limitations of Social Security, more importantly it provides valuable social interaction and is FUN.

When I was younger a job was where I survived eight hours a day to feed the children and later myself. Age brings knowledge that I was the source of most of that discontent. I was much too concerned with what others thought of me. What I thought they thought of me is a more accurate statement.

Another thing I’ve learned is that I now have something important to say and I’m saying it in these occasional blogs. I’ve also learned there are times and places to keep my thoughts to myself. I allow my daughters to take care of me in little ways. They go to doctor appointments with me to take notes and ask questions that I forget. They advise me about this and that and check to be sure my refrigerator is full. Rather than considering that nosiness, I look at it as caring that I’m eating properly.

Who knows what this decade will bring? From this view point I see many more play dates with the great-grandchildren, continuing to work at a fun job and riding my bicycle around the neighborhood. I don’t have the strength and energy I used to have and I miss them. But their lack has been replaced by a life view that is a little more patient with my shortcomings – and those of others. What other people do is not so important anymore.

How I spend my days is much more important. Did I do something fun today? Did I feel grateful? Did I think kind thoughts of someone? Did I eat something just because it tastes good? Did I take a nap because I wanted to? Did I do something useful?

Spirit,

Thank you for seventy years of learning and more years to enjoy what I’ve learned. Thank you for being patient while I struggled to learn what is important. Thank you for a future to practice what has taken me so long to learn.

And, so it is.

*Hayes, Helen, from Treasury of Women’s Quotations by Carolyn Warner, Prentiss Hall

© by Sharon D. Dillon, February 22, 2016

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy”

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of “Twins! Oh no!,” one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by booksyoucantrust.com. Available in print and e-format at Amazon.com.

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Not enough time?

Thoughts to Ponder – November 11, 2015

“One of the most essential tasks for living a life of purpose and joy is to command your time, rather than let it command you.”

Martha Beck*

 Martha said it so well. In this age of doing more with less and over-scheduling ourselves with work, family and community demands we tend to live by the clock. As a result we feel constantly pressed for time. We feel there is just not enough time in the day to do what we want to do. And, if you’re like me, you’re thinking “Where did 2015 go? It’s almost Christmas. Did we even have a summer?” It seems that every year gets shorter. Or, is that my imagination?

Today is a day of reflection on the sacrifices our veterans and their families have made for each of us. We need to take some time to thank those we can and reflect on the contributions of those who have gone before. Regrettably, many of us look at the calendar and say, “Today is Veteran’s Day. That means the banks are closed. Darn, I should have gone yesterday,” making this day just another time issue.

Remember the old saying, “Take time to smell the roses.” As trite as it has become, those words hold a lot of truth. While we must give adequate time and energy to our jobs and commitments, we can do a lot more rose smelling.

We can take a moment to listen to what our child is telling us. We can take a moment to listen to the birds sing or watch a leaf float to the ground. We can take a moment to deeply enjoy that first sip of coffee, inhale the aroma, feel the warmth on our lips, hold the taste on our tongues, experience the warmth spreading throughout our bodies and notice the alertness coming to our eyes and ears.

Do we envy the person who is over-worked? Do we envy the person whose stress level is 15 minutes short of a stroke or heart attack? Of course not. We envy the people who command their time, finding moments to regenerate their lives and their souls.

Each of us can take a moment to be grateful for our own existence and the people in them. We can be grateful that we have events in our lives that make us think we are too busy to take a moment to express that gratitude. A quick “Thank you” tossed out in the midst of our busy-ness will reach its target and be acknowledged.

Spirit,

Thank you for this new day. Show me how to use each moment wisely. I choose to be the highest and best I can be this day.

And, so it is.

* Daily Inspiration, Martha Beck, November 11, 2015 info@marthabeck.com

© by Sharon D. Dillon, November 11, 2015

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy”

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of “Twins! Oh no!,” one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by booksyoucantrust.com. Available in print and e-format at Amazon.com.