04 June 2014

5 Years and 500 Posts Later...


5 years ago I retired, moved to Italy and began this blog to chronicle my journey into elderhood. It never occurred to me how monumental it was to move to a different culture and learn another language while retiring from my beloved profession of nursing and beginning my next life stage. This is the 500th post on my blog, which is monumental in itself, and what a journey it has been! Since I've also decided to move back to the states, I wanted to take stock of where I'm at and what these years have taught me.

Top 5 accomplishments: 

1. Ran my first marathon and chose running as my exercise. I've continued to run 3 times a week and love it. Why did I wait so long to give myself this gift?

2. Started this blog not knowing the first thing about the blogging world. I figured it would be a way to stay more aware of what happened on my journey and provide information from afar to my family and friends. Along the way it introduced me to a world of people also trying to be more aware and writing their insights down to highlight, share and preserve them. Imagine friendship with such people. Another gift.

3. I embraced my wanderlust and it opened the world to me. I explored Italy and Europe and realized how big and beautiful our world is. I've come to feel like a world citizen. Making friends in so many countries sweetens this gift.

4. Discovered a world of conscious crones to inform and inspire me, through good freinds as we age together as well as other elder bloggers. Makes me proud to be an elder and eager to find new ways to serve my community as an elder with experience and wisdom to share.

5. Closed out the first decade of family gatherings with the young women of the next generation of my family and their children. I hope this is a gift to them because it certainly has been to me. I came to New England from 14 years in California and realized I had lost connection to my east coast family. I longed for bonds with them as adullts and from that simple wish grew a closeness so much more satisfying than I could ever have imagined. I'm forever grateful to them and my sister-in-law, Georganna, (and Peg in the early years before she died) for joining me in this adventure. 


Top 5 things I learned:


1. You know what's sexy? A real conversation! The greatest gift is the long-term love of 40 years together, 40 years of conversations, that takes our differences and turns them into the deeper understanding that opens up a whole other world. I love that. I'm grateful to be on this journey with my Honey. 

2. Grow plants, flowers and herbs and spend part of each day caring for and appreciating them. Read poetry and good books daily and cherish them. Let them change your mind and your heart. Go to coffee, call or write to someone daily to reach out and connect. On good days, do all three.

3. The older I get the more important family becomes, the more insistent their pull. They are written on my heart. Time spent with them and appreciating them makes me happy and nurtures me deeply. 

4. Eat locally grown organic food and exercise regularly. It's delicious and keeps me healthy. It's great for my body and best for our environment. Changing the world starts with me.

5. Find a purpose and dive in. Something that matters to you, that gets your juices flowing, that makes you glad to be alive. Then do something with it, in it or to do with it each day. Feels good and it matters.

Addendum: After 68 years and all this travel, the only philosophy and political view that makes sense to me is that we are one. We need a bigger world view that encompasses us all in all our diversity. I want to be involved in finding solutions that work not just for us all no matter where we live but also for our children's grandchildren. "You only are free when you realize you belong no place- you belong every place- no place at all." Maya Angelou


That was then and 
this is now:
                                                                           

    The grands

           2009








                                                       



               




                       2014                        











                                                                           
                                                                             

                The family
                     2009


                                                                              2014



My granddaughter's shirt says it all- love (and add a little sparkle!). It makes the world go around and makes the journey sweeter. 
For all that has been- thanks. For all that will be- yes.

p.s. One of the things I haven't learned is how to even up blog photos that are side by side!

16 comments:

  1. First-- what a beautiful family and grand kids. I have so enjoyed your pictures of them now and earlier. Then thanks for sharing your epiphanies. What a big move to make. You are an intrepid person with loads of verve and warmth and creativity which will keep you as young as your running! Thanks for the post and the 499 before. Take care, k.

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    1. It was surprising to go back to '09 for photos and see how we've changed, especially the kids. Can't stay young but here's to aging gracefully.

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  2. I look forward to what the next five years will bring you, both in travels, lessons, and life in general. You are definitely not standing still, Mary! :-)

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    1. I'm looking forward to it as well. Tempis fugit so I can't stand still.

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  3. Wise words and thoughts, Mary. It appears you are not wasting one minute of life. Congratulations on the 500th post. Keep 'em coming!

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    1. 500 seems like a great accomplishment.

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  4. Congratulations on an important milestone!
    How we have all grown during these years; and blogging has helped us connect and share our milestones.

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    1. I like that about blogging and it's not limited to any geographic location.

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  5. What a wonderful journey, Mary. I so enjoyed reading about your blogging journey and your life journey! And the pictures are wonderful. You have such a good looking family. Here's to the next five years! Cheers.

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    1. I'll raise that glass with you- here's to the next 5 years!

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  6. Wonderful pictures! Beautiful family! Will they all move back to the states with you?

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    1. They live in Trinidad so moving to Florida will get us closer.

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  7. A wonderful journey, Mary--you are an example to us all of how to meet this period of life gracefully and find all its hidden gifts. Loved the pics.

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    1. Your kind words make my heart happy. There are so many gifts at this life stage. It was fun going through the photos, too.

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