I celebrated a milestone birthday last week. It’s hard to believe that I have reached this age; where did the time go? I don’t feel old, in fact, sometimes I feel like a kid who doesn’t know what to do when I grow up! I have grey hair, wrinkles, arthritis, aches and pains, but I still feel young at heart. However, there’s no stopping the clock!
I didn’t want a big party, just a quiet celebration with my family. My daughter and son-in-law came from Oregon, and my sister, nieces and nephew-in-law came from San Diego to help me celebrate. I was thrilled that they made the trip! Sadly, my younger sister and her family were ill and had to miss the festivities, but they were with us in spirit. We went to the Future of Flight Museum, had lunch at Cabernet and IPA, drank wine, played games, watched movies, talked and laughed. It was a perfect weekend.
As I reflect on the years, I realize how wonderfully blessed I am. I have a terrific husband, daughter, son-in-law and a beautiful home. I am very grateful for my sisters and their families, they are loving, supportive and fun to be with; they are all very dear to me. I love to travel and have had the opportunity to visit many countries around the globe. And I have many friends; I am eternally grateful for them. If one counts their riches in friends and family, I am very wealthy indeed!
I am also grateful to have had a successful career, it certainly isn’t what I envisioned! When I was in my teens and twenties, I thought I wanted to be a dietitian. I got a BS in food science and nutrition, but never went on to become an RD. Instead, a project management position fell into my lap which I accepted without regrets. Project management is a tough profession, often it’s like herding cats. But I work for a wonderful doctor who is supportive and encouraging, and am glad I chose this path.
As with most of us, I have learned some lessons over the years, many of them at the “school of hard knocks.” There is a sign in my entryway which is spot on. It points out the importance of forgiveness; a key component of healthy relationships. It is vitally important to acknowledge when you are wrong and apologize; I have had plenty of practice with this! Luckily, most of the people in my life are not grudge holders and are accepting of apologies. On the flip side, if you’re on the receiving end, give grace by acknowledging and accepting the apology, letting go of the offense and moving on. Blogger Marcie Lyons said “if you don’t heal what hurt you, you will bleed on people who didn’t cut you.” Powerful words and excellent advice about moving on and not living in the past.
Life is often filled with painful situations, heartache, sadness, difficult people and challenging relationships. Many of us have been in a relationship with someone who caused deep and lasting wounds. Deceitfulness at the hands of someone who claims to love you is very painful indeed. How do you move on when people say cruel, slanderous things or spread rumors and make false accusations? Not easily, that’s for sure. Having a strong support system in the form of trusted friends and family helps. Meditation and alternate nostril breathing also help. It is true that time heals, at least for me. People who choose bitterness and conflict over peace and forgiveness are very sad and need to be kept in our prayers and meditations.
As I enter my seventh decade, I’m going to work on being grateful for each day and being present in the moment, rather than always thinking ahead. Another goal is to improve my listening skills. There is an old Native American saying: “Listen or thy tongue will keep thee deaf.” Listening is a skill, and one that can be improved, thankfully, since it is an important element in a healthy relationship.
I am fortunate, thankful and grateful to have lived this life. I hope to retire soon and have many goals, plans, and things I want to accomplish during my retirement years. Through joy, pain, sorrow, hardship or whatever comes my way, I’ll attempt to be present in the moment and appreciate and learn from every experience. Bring on the next chapter.