24.7 to go, but who’s counting

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Praying for the clock to slow down starts to sink in after your third decade. Most people dread moving forward as each year brings you closer to the “older generation”. You’re no longer cute and hip, you’re now mature and wise. The first time someone calls you madam or sir it hits you like a bullet in the chest. You find yourself doing a lot of reminiscing, remembering great stories from your youth, remembering your vibrancy, bravery, adventure and even stupidity.

This week I transitioned into my 7th decade. Yup, I crossed over into 60. This was the first time it actually bothered me. It’s a wake up call. I suddenly realized that the last 20 years flew by and the next 20 years are so much closer to that final curtain call, that a feeling of panic suddenly took hold. According to Stats Canada, I have 24.7 years left to live. Sure I’ll try to smile through, but that churning feeling in the pit of my stomach is not calming down. Logically I know that the signs of aging don’t suddenly escalate at the strike of midnight, but it sure does seem more noticeable. Aches and pains are more pronounced, my skin is doing weird things, reading is impossible without magnifiers, the odd rogue hair appears on my chin and what was once taught and smooth is now pitted and rolling it’s way south. My advice to anyone celebrating a milestone birthday is don’t invest in one of those magnifying mirrors. It will scare the crap out of you, even without your daily dose of Metamucil. But when all is said and done, it’s far better than the alternative – not turning 60.

Now that I’m a week into this new decade I can look back on the incredible celebration I experienced to get here. It was truly one of the best moments of my life and I’m sure I will reminisce about it for years to come.

It was Friday after work, the last day in my 50’s. I was relaxing and watching the Young Party busand Restless while my husband was buzzing around preparing for the big birthday bash the next day. We were having 37 of my nearest and dearest to help me break through into a new decade. Marshall rented a huge party bus to take us all to an upscale restaurant in downtown Toronto where we would eat drink and be merry, then return to our home and party till the wee hours of the morning. Yes, even at 60 you can party hard, as long as you have an afternoon nap.

Finally, Marshall arrived back home from picking up last minute items. My sister Sarah was stretched out on the couch playing some bubble game on her iPhone and the storyline of Cane’s betrayal of Lily was coming to a head on the Y&R, when I turned my head, to see my cousin Dalia and her daughter Roni walk down my hallway towards me. What? All the way from Israel? Are you kidding me? How did they pull this off without me knowing a thing?

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At first I was speechless, a rare phenomenon, and then the tears welled up as the emotion took hold. I hugged and held Dalia and kissed Roni holding her face in between the palms of my hands. I was in shock, as was my sister. I had an immediate hot flash and then we hugged some more, laughed and deliberated about how they duped me, keeping this secret for months.

What a gift, to be able to celebrate with my Israeli cousins and all of my wonderful family and friends who came together to help usher me into the next decade. I was suddenly farklempt, overwhelmed with emotion and realized what a lucky person I am to be surrounded by all this love and to be able to enjoy every minute of it.

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Marshall always says, every day is a bonus day. He’s so right, and some days are bigger bonuses than others, but as the clock ticks down the decades, I must force myself to stop and deliberately take time out of each and every day to enjoy the important things.

Besides the obvious of appreciating my health, comfort level of living in a free country with publicly funded health care and of course, my loving family, incredible friends and cute little dog Winnie, it’s time to appreciate the things I often take for granted. The butterfly flitting around the flowers on my deck, the warm feeling of the sun on my face, the laughter of the adorable little kids I’m close to watching them change every day, the loud silence at sunrise listening to the birds chirping, the sound of thunder and how I feel its rumble through my belly, the heavenly scent that surrounds me when I open the patio door after a spring rain. I talk to strangers when I walk the dog in the morning. Believe it or not without exception each one, even the runners, answer and usually with a smile. Some even stop to chat about the weather, the dogs or neighbourhood gossip. I’m a morning person and maintain that it’s the best time of the day.

Today and everydayMy goal for this decade is to try to be less cynical, life is too short. There is much more good to focus on than bad. I will try not to take even small things for granted and appreciate moments that before I wouldn’t even notice. I will try not to let situations where I have limited control affect me (that’s going to be a hard one). I will wear every wrinkle, every fold, every dimple with pride (the rogue hairs however, will get plucked). I will try to smile through every ache, and try not to kvetch so much. I’ve lived a full life so far. I’m luckier than my mom was, she never made it this far.

EllappIn the words of old Frankie, “Regrets, I have a few but then again, too few to mention.”

I hope the best is still around the corner. God-willing, I have 24.7 years left to fulfill my bucket list.

Let the fun begin!