…another year closer to the ground, in more ways than one. Rather a depressing thought to have when you wake up on your birthday, but no one has accused me recently of being a cock-eyed optimist. The reality is, if you are (more than) halfway there, these thoughts do tend to flicker through, of maybe even dig in their little tentacles.
By the age of 50, most of us have lost our grandparents and one or more parent. Some of us have lost siblings, spouses, colleagues, friends and children. So while birthdays are supposed to be a celebration of life, they can also be a time to reflect on those that have gone before us, and how best to live our own lives for however long we have left.
My husband and I just got back from a short trip to Italy. We slept late, ate leisurely, wandered aimlessly taking in the sights, and generally just enjoyed life and each other. It was a far cry from our everyday lives of rushed mornings, busy days, wolfing down our meals whenever we can we fit them in, and being too tired at the end of the day to have any “quality” time together that doesn’t also include a computer, an ipad or a TV.
Being on vacation got me thinking of retirement, and how I would like to spend it. I imagine us somewhere warm and picturesque, sleeping late and lazing around the house in the morning together, with time to indulge in our hobbies, long walks with our dogs, and each other.
But I know that things don’t always go as planned. One or both of us may not live long enough to enjoy our “golden” years together. The economy or our personal fortunes could change in such a way that the type of retirement I picture is not an option. We could have to deal with one or more illnesses that make our golden years much more lemons and less lemonade.
But today is my birthday, so that means lemonade is in order. And maybe lemon cake, as well. And while I will always mourn those that have gone before me, and parts of my youth that is past, today I will do my darnedest to celebrate all that I have to look forward to, instead of looking back.
Happy birthday to me, and many, many more.