I did this a few years ago and I think it is worth doing again just weeks shy of my 60th birthday.

*****What ever I expected 60 to feel like, this isn’t it.  Age ceases to mean much once you are an adult and have received all the rights and privileges that go along with age.  You are no longer waiting to be old enough to drive or drink or vote.  You are as young or as old as you feel.  That can change from day-to-day, if not minute to minute.

*****I’ve lived through almost twelve presidential election cycles.  They have only gotten nastier.  I sigh huge sighs and daily decide how many friends or relatives I should “unfriend on Facebook” until it is over.  No matter how many times either side has said, (think chicken little) if_______gets to be president, the world will end.  Our civil liberties will be taken away, so on and so on and SO ON…it hasn’t happened.  The world goes on spinning no matter which party is in power messing things up.

*****Family means a lot.  Extended and immediate.  No matter how much you disagree on a host of things (religion, politics, global warming) they are still your tribe.  They hold the same childhood memories that take you back to a simpler time.  They will pray for you, try to nudge you to join the NRA, say the craziest things in the name of their political or religious point of view.  But when your Mom dies or you Dad is sick they love you line no one else can.  They whisper memories and telling achingly funny stories that are family lore.  They help dry your tears.

*****Each year I forget how renewing the spring is.  I forget how beautiful that spring tree is.  How do I not remember how it seems like spring arrives overnight…just when you’ve given up.  Each year, the spring blue sky, the greening grass and the forsythia bushes are so brilliantly beautiful it makes the cold winter fade away.

*****Birds sleep later in the suburbs that they do in the city.  I know it surprised me too.  At my old house they would start “tweeting” around 3-4am.  Here in the ‘burbs they start their song at the much more reasonable hour of 6am.  At 6am the sound of birds is enjoyable. At 3 am…not so much.

*****The middle of the night, when you can’t sleep is a good time to…blog, do laundry, take a shower and endlessly check FB.  I know that because I have done all of those tonight.  (I mean this morning)

*****Whatever people say is bad for you to eat today will eventually better for you then what you substituted for the evil____(fill in the blank).  It is hard to keep up with all of it.  So mostly I try to ignore it until I am proved right, that chocolate IS good for you.  (And by the way, it is only a matter of time until milk chocolate is as good for you as dark chocolate…I promise)

*****Few things make me happier than…my great-niece and great-nephews.  They are such cool kids.  A nap with a cat snuggled in my lap, one paw resting possessively on my chest.  Chocolate…in almost any form.   A good book to read in the luxury of vacation day or on my patio after a  hard day at work.

*****I love junky magazines.  No better way to escape and numb the mind.  Some days call for it.  The Kardashians are the exception to the rule.  I could live without ever reading another story about them and their scary lives.  But the rest…pictures of glamorous gowns, stars with their kids, and stars recipes (right, like they cook) are wonderful time wasters.

*****If chocolate, naps and junky magazines are the worst of my vices I’m doing okay.

*****Some packing boxes are probably destined to never be unpacked.  They should be given to Goodwill without a peek.  If only I were that brave.

*****I got a new vacuum.  It picks up dirt, dust and cat hair in a horrifying amount every time I run the vacuum. I am trying to tell myself it is only because it’s the first time I have a bag less vacuum.  They was always the amount of disgusting stuff in my house I just couldn’t see it after it was sucked into the vacuum bag.

*****To be continued…

The sons of one of my best friends from college lost their Dad this past week.   I knew both their Dad and Mom from college, went to their wedding, visited them in Kansas and hosted them often in Chicago. They divorced some time ago.  Each went on to remarry and have older blended families. Their sons went to North Park University which was just blocks from my old house.  They were kind of “my kids” only better during college.  I made then “goodie” packages and they say I made chocolate chip cookies better than their Mom’s or Grandma’s.  I was their source for birthday cakes and the Red Roof Inn for their mom when she came to visit.  The boys helped me bring home new furniture and a freezer. I hosted both of their “Open Houses” when they graduated from college.  Both have since moved from Chicago.  They graciously agreed to be my Facebook friend.

Their Mom isn’t on Facebook so keeping in touch is harder and well, I had a lot going on this Fall and Winter.  Several months ago one of the boys wrote a Facebook post which he dedicated to his Dad who was going through a rough medical crisis.  I immediately Facebook messaged him and told him how sorry I was to hear the news and that I’d be thinking of them.  I then messaged the brother and said the same.  Bits and pieces came out as we “talked” via FB.  Inoperable brain cancer with a very grim prognosis.  I emailed their Mom and kept in touch with them via FB.  Last week one son wrote that his Dad had died early in the morning following Easter.  It was three months start to finish.  I was able to message both of them, remark how their Dad would sit through their NP choir concerts with the biggest smile on his face.  They said they were singing hymns before he died.  I told them I was sure their voices sounded sweeter than any angel choir to their Dad.

I don’t pretend to be in regular contact with them.  They are young and I’m…not old but a peer of their parents.  I wouldn’t be on the list of people they would call when their Dad died.  But just the same I love them and I was so thankful to know what was happening and offer what support I could, from afar.

You see, I’ve recently been there.  With sick parents and the death of my Mom.  It allowed me to be in contact with people I wouldn’t regularly be in touch with.  They sent words of support and comfort from near and far.  And during those days and months (and now) that meant everything to me.

They boys both wrote a brief tribute to their Dad on FB as a way of letting people know he had died.  Their words were heartfelt, raw in grief, rich in memory.  I did the same when my Mom died.  In those moments of fresh grief, FB offered me an outlet to tell those friends and family what my Mom meant to me.  So it was with them this past week.  And as people respond, those words are balm to the soul.  I know.

People talk about the “evils” of FB and social media.  And certainly it can be a huge time-waster.  People share political views which makes me crazy for every presidential election cycle.  I get plugs for the NRA (no, just no), video’s about every cute puppy out there.  I hear more stuff from Focus on the Family than I EVER want to hear.

Still, in times like these it bridges miles and sometimes the oceans between us and those we care about.  It keeps us in touch with the happenings, sad or joyful, of our friends , as they happen.  Not as a footnote in next years Christmas letter.

Peace to you Tim and Drew.  And peace to your Dad’s memory.

Life is Good

"It's ironic that we

forget so often how

wonderful life really is...

C'mon, let's be honest.

We have an embarrassment

of riches. Life is good."

-Anne Quindlen

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