Birthday reflections: aging gracefully with family, love, and health

“We’re only here for a minute. We’re here for a little window. And to use that time to catch and share shards of light and laughter and grace seems to me the great story.” “A Long River of Song,” by Brian Doyle.

One advantage of moving so many times over the years is the number of people with whom I’ve come into contact and who have become such good friends. The disadvantage, of course, is losing touch and the sense of community that I try to develop in each of our new homes. Each year, the birthday wishes bestowed upon me from friends from the different times and places in my life show me how important fellowship and community are to my well-being.

Peruvian adventure, meeting Indigenous children at festival.

My younger son called to wish me birthday wishes as he walked along the canal near his home in Paris, a seemingly normal call that actually is the result of amazing technology. He always asks what I think about the coming year. In perspective, two years ago on my birthday we were figuring out how to live during the early phases of the pandemic lock-down. Last year on my birthday we were still in an apartment in Asheville, waiting for a house to be constructed (well, still the same this year although we may actually move in next week), wondering when book club would go from Zoom calls to in-person gatherings (which we are now able to do), engaging with non-profit organizations (again, via Zoom) as we (Women for Women, a local women’s giving circle) considered grant funding, and continuing to cancel vacations and family visits due to the pandemic. During these past two years, my grandchildren, the loves of my life, have grown, now six and three-years-old, they are imaginative, creative, bundles of energy.

Birthdays are merely marks on the calendar (as I politely decline to say how old I am, knowing perceptions of aging are slow to change) but they do give us an opportunity to take a breath, to answer those mostly unanswerable questions about living life, to reflect on the past and contemplate the future.

The landscape has changed so drastically the past few years; it is a good time to assess where we are/where I am/what I hope to achieve. First and foremost, family and friends, old and new, being together; sharing stories; recognizing the changes of the past few years; holding our breaths as we take baby steps to reconnect; being caring with one another; remembering that each one of us has experienced these years differently.

Big Sur 11-miler, 2017

We hope to make Asheville, NC, our home (permanently?): community connections and engagement are front and center; continuing to nature long-time friendships while I seek to make new ones; staying healthy and engaged (yes, that includes running, even if it is slower than I’d like); figuring out my place in this rapidly evolving world; writing; being the best mother, grandmother, and wife I can be; traveling near and far; giving back to my communities through my philanthropic work with women and girls. I have so much I want to do. I am so fortunate to be able to do what I love.

Auckland, New Zealand, Mission Bay, Ficus Tree, March 2015

1 thought on “Birthday reflections: aging gracefully with family, love, and health”

  1. So many blessings in this reflection, those add up to a life well lived. Add to this your contributions to the larger community, there is hope woven into gratitude.


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