My New Year (AKA my birthday)

Today is my birthday. I am 62 today. For years I have chosen to celebrate my birthday as the first day in the New Year. Because it is my new year. My hubby thought that was sort of self centred. Which is true. But it is the day I start a brand new year at a brand new age. So I’m going with it.

The year I turned 50 I decided to do something I had never done before once a month on the 15th. That was a great year. It is actually pretty hard to do. But in the process there were a lot of things I tried that I normally wouldn’t even have thought about. It pushed me out of my comfort zone which was great and it was a fun and interesting year. My husband used to make fun and say “You’re not the Queen”. Well his context was that when Queen Elizabeth had reigned for 50 years there was a big todo made about her Golden Jubilee. Which is just a fancy term for hitting the fifty year mark in something special. So yeah, maybe I wasn’t the Queen but it was my Golden Jubilee and I celebrated like I was the Queen of England. I celebrated the whole year.

Since then I have had different themes for my years. Once I decided to not purchase anything for myself for a whole year. Other than food and such. Duh. Not as hard as you might think and it really was cheaper. I was able to buy used if I needed anything. So again, not that difficult. What it did for me was really set me on a path of repurposing used clothing and finding some truly cool and wonderful fashions. I am now pretty good at finding what I need at thrift shops and garage sales. I know there are so many things that can be saved from the landfill and at my age, I don’t need to follow fashion trends. Not that I ever really did that. I did fall in love with a pendant on a motorcycle trip that year and I made my husband buy it. He rolled his eyes, said it was cheating and bought it for me.

I have tried a few times to take one picture a day for a year. Because it isn’t something I can remember to do. I love photography but I am hit or miss. I took 800 pictures at a Blue Jays game one day and yet I took 17 pictures on a 6 day hike on the West Coast trail. I’ll never forget that week. How hard it was. The strange things we encountered. The realization that all of the books didn’t really tell you all you needed to know. It was something and the memories are burned into my brain. That Blue Jay game? I remember nothing. I don’t know who won. I don’t remember the year. Nothing. But I got one great picture and it was blown up and framed. I love it. It’s art. It seems I either have a picture or memories. I prefer the memories.

This year I have decided to again go outside my comfort zone. I am going to take my three hour walk every Wednesday and stop for a new book at a bookstore I found. Buying books is nothing new for me. But for the next year I will buy 52 books. And they can’t be mysteries. Because that is my genre. What I love. In a book, a movie, a play. No matter. I love a mystery. I’ve read all over the map but this year I think I’ll branch out and expand my horizons. At least in the story book scene. I read six books in one week in Mexico. I can surely read a book a week. But a non mystery? We will see. My girlfriend asked if I was going to get rid of a book a week as well. That was funny. I read them, then I put them on a shelf. I took 700 books out of my house once. To the cabin. To my kids. To charity. And you know… you can’t tell.

As the years go by I never really seem to notice how much time I have. I just live as if I am going to live forever. As if there is lots of time. I think when my husband died reality slapped me hard in the face. Now I look at the years ahead and think about all of the dreams I had in the past. Truth be told, I have actually been quite content with the way my life has gone. There are very few items I want to do. It is a short list. I have gone through phases where I jump into things. I enjoy them. And I move on. I guess now I measure things more along the line of how capable am I from a physical point of view. My friends and I often talk about our age but I don’t think we realize how old we are. But we are getting older. Things hurt a bit more. Recovery time is longer. Yet I still want to hike the Chilquot trail. Kayak some rapids instead of my boring lake and stream paddles. Maybe run a bit. So we move stuff up a few years. I figure I’ve got a good ten years of more physically demanding stuff before I move to chair yoga.

I think the thing we need to remember is that Ferris Bueller had it right. Life does move pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around, you might miss it. Although there are things we all love to do, we sometimes get into a rut. Because life is more manageable if it is on a schedule. But as we age there is less time to learn new things. Kids, work, family and friends. They all take up a lot of time. We put things off until someday. But we have all heard that song by CCR. Better learn it fast. Better learn it young. Cause someday never comes. Life is about balance. Spending time with others but also making time for yourself. Doing the mundane but also trying something new and exciting. The last couple of years really changed how I think. I often took motorbike trips alone. My hubby at home. Waiting for text updates to let him know I was not dead. Even driving out of the country for a few days. He worried. But not that much. I felt safe knowing there was someone who was worried about me. So now my youngest daughter is my go to. I had surgery in January and they called my daughter afterwards to let her know I was fine. There is a bit of a loss there. I can still hop on the bike and fly away. Text my kids that I am fine. It’s different though. I feel too young to have my kids as my emergency contact. It’s just odd. But it is a change in the seasons. Its life.

So now I am taking one year at a time. I’m not going to wait for things. But I’m not going to rush around either. This new year I have a few chores. Finish the new garden fence. Fix the patio. But I think I’ll focus on the things that used to bring me joy when I was with my husband. Our weekly pool hall visits. The long walks in the river valley. Sitting on a patio with a cold one and a book. Bike trips. Golf. But also the stuff he didn’t really like. What I always wanted him to do with me. Rollerblading. Hiking. Horse back riding. I am so very thankful that this body has been as kind to me as it could be. I am fortunate. It still treats me quite well. When I get to that last age when its hard to move around, I hope my mind stays with me. That’s when I will enjoy the gentle part of life. I’ve always wanted to learn to play Bridge.

Tomorrow I will start the day. Meditate. Green tea. Have a bite to eat and head to the gym for awhile. Maybe finish emptying a few closets. Get rid of a few things. Read a bit of the new book. Go hit some balls at the golf dome. Have a wiener roast with the Grandkids. I may not get much done this year. In fact I am sure I will leave so many things undone. The yucky things . Like filing stuff away. Paperwork. But I will go for that long walk every Wednesday. I will buy a new book each week. God willing I will read them. And each new day I will try to show gratitude for this blessed life I live. This year that will lead me from 62 to 63 is a book with 365 blank pages. As day one comes to a close I see the beautiful memories painted there. The calls and texts. The walk. The river. Watching my granddaughter play hockey. Her 3 brothers running around as boys do. The long call from my son. It was a good one this day. I’ll give it a red star. And as the day ends, I wish you all a happy new year. Because I have learned that no matter when you chose your new years, the feeling is magical. The day is special. Filled with awe and wonder and a sense of excitement over what is to be. The day doesn’t matter. The magic comes from within. Every day begins a new year. Every single day.

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