Friday, June 24, 2011

Birthday Musings At 60

Today Is My Birthday!

Today I turn 60 years old and life is grand!  My 30’s and 40’s were full of change, and my 50’s was a period of settling in and reaching the point where I’m currently at.  I am a retired teacher, but really, I rarely use the word “retired” because it has connotations that don’t describe me at all.  Basically I quit teaching, but receive an income.  YIPPEE!  I’m lucky in that I had a career, which I adored, and loved going to work almost every day for 23 years.  But now I have the beauty of time to reinvent and explore at this most awesome period of my life.  When asked, “So what have you been doing since you’re not teaching any longer?” I have had a hard time answering.  But the true answer for me is simply, “I’m doing life.”  I see myself now as an artist, crafter, reader, gardener, yogi, and friend.  I have a gorgeous extended family, which includes my handsome and talented husband, two grown and amazing step children, their wonderful spouses, and two unbelievably smart and adorable grandchildren, whom I LOVE.

Appearance, Food, and Health

With age have come the inevitable changes in appearance and health.  Also, unfortunately, there are some new and very annoying aches here and there.  The following is a bit about how I deal with all of this agey stuff.
A nice decision for me, and please don’t take this as frivolous, was letting my dyed hair grow in grey, white, and silver in my late 40’s.  Oh my….. So liberating!  I wear it long, and basically have very little upkeep.   I believe less is definitely better!  All the makeup I use anymore is lipstick and brow pencil (where did the eyebrows go?).   My clothes are simple, but I like to dress arty and fun.  Most days you’ll find me in jeans or skirt, top, and some dangley earrings.  I believe that staying in shape is extremely important, now more than ever.  I don’t worry about the extra 5 to 10 lbs put on over the past 20 years, just as long as I stay toned and look nice in my jeans.  Most every day I walk in the morning with my husband and practice yoga for about an hour in the evening.  I plan to start swimming a few days a week for extra cardio, which is fun for me because swimming was the only sport I excelled in as a child.  I miss it and want swimming to be a regular part of my life again.  As for food, when I’m eating in a good restaurant…. I eat the bread, have the dessert, and enjoy the wine.  I NEVER apologize for eating.  By apologize, I don't justify eating good food.  I hear, and have said statements such as, "I'm eating this because I didn't eat any lunch, I don't usually eat like this", etc.  We've been so conditioned all our lives about how we look, and feeling guilt towards food.  I see it as a form of insanity that's been subtly, and not so subtly imposed upon women.  During my younger years I felt empowered by being very thin.  I'm sooooo done with all that! 
I do indulge by having one glass of a nice red wine, and a Dove’s dark chocolate every evening.  I see it as medicinal…… I try to eat natural and healthy…. We keep our dinners very simple; fish, fruit, and salad.  I love making soups, salads, and quiche.  There is a small suburban farm across the road, so this time of year dinner usually depends on what’s for sale in their little farm shed.  A common summer dinner at my house may include fresh green beans (lightly cooked) tossed with new potatoes, garden chives, bacon, and topped with some fresh rosemary from my herb garden.  Also, anything that includes home grown Missouri tomatoes.  I do crave, and have, fried chicken and the weekly pizza.  Never any soda!! (well..... there is the "not so occasional" trip to Starbucks)

My Valuable Time
I’m very protective of my time, and try and use it wisely.  I had been substitute teaching some since my “retirement”, but now I feel that that part of my life is finished.  I need this time to explore, create, and engage.  I’m thinking a nice little part-time job may be, at some point, in my future….. but not quite yet.
I am learning to give myself permission to do what I want, and I’m sure you understand, that can be difficult for women.  By “what I want” I mean I may take an afternoon in my studio, put on a movie, and rug hook.  Maybe instead, I’ll work on pastels, or a new rug pattern.  I may spend time sitting on the screened porch reading the current book choice for the book club I’ve joined.  Of course, there’s always time for lunch out with friends, and the occasional flea market fix.  I believe housework is a bit over rated………..
I’m currently involved in two different art groups.  One is with my drawing and painting friends, and the other is with rug hooking pals.  We’re getting ready to explore where rug hooking can take us artistically.  Very exciting!  I’m a strong believer in collective group energy.  So much of art is done alone.  A group gets me out there and in touch with like-minded artistic souls.  I also get to meet new friends through book and art groups. 
Home and Stuff
Our house is very old.  It was built in 1929, and is rock with a red metal roof.  We love it, and I can't imagine living anywhere else.  Our home sits on an acre and a half of woods.  We're visited daily by various wildlife that, most amazingly, thrive in the city.

I’m trying to clean out and do with less.  I no longer need/nor want many new clothes and other "stuff".  My house is an eclectic mix of finds, art, and those special pieces that have always been with me.  Most of which I can’t let go.  But….there’s always room for more art and homemade goodness from friends!
Emotional Journey
I’ve been letting go of past hang-ups, resentments, jealousies, and anger that held me hostage.  No time for that any longer.  Getting rid of those pesky uncomfortable feelings gives me so much more room to breath!

Of course, not everything in my life is easy and fun-filled.  I have two immediate family members who are extremely ill, and other problems that can be quite worrisome and draining for me.  More reasons why it’s so important to stay healthy and have my own private time to use as I please.
If you’ve been a follower of my blog, you know I don’t usually share much personal information about myself.  As my 60th year approached, I've felt extremely reflective.  I decided to get these thoughts down and out there to share with you.  Thanks for any time you may have taken to read all or part of my musings at 60.  Maybe it will bring some of you "youngsters" out there relief that 60 is not so bad, and can be really quite wonderful.  I hope and plan on an awesome seventh decade!
p.s.  No, I’m not blogging on my birthday.  I put this piece together over the past week or so.  On the 24th my computer will be silenced.  I plan on spending the day with family and friends, some cupcakes, music, and wine out in the gardens.


summersundays-jw said...

Oh, I need to spend more time with you. I read every word & loved it. When I grow up I want to be just like you. Hope you have a wonderful b'day. Jan

Alice ~ Folk Art Primitives said...

HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I love this post ~ and thank you for sharing some things about Dulcy!! Everything you write is so true ~ it's a great place for us all to strive to be ~ you sound very 'peaceful' and that's wonderful! You've learned some things and unlike many of us, you put them into practice! Hope you're enjoying your day and looking forward to the second 60!!! Your online friend, Alice

April DeConick said...

Happy birthday! Thank you for a very inspiring post.

deb52 said...

Happy 60th birthday... I am debbie little wilson, printmaker, married to Ken Wilson, used to be jeweler.. I met you at a show Jim and I were doing (maybe in Kansas City?)..
At any rate... a mutual friend of ours, Chris Magisano recently posted your etsy site on Facebook and I fell in LOVE with your hooked rug work... gorgeous, beautiful and stunning.. after I told her this, she sent me your blog link and here I am.
I am so glad that you shared yourself on your birthday blog because I learned that you are as gorgeous, beautiful and stunning as your hooked rugs.
I will be turning 60 next year and you gave me a lot to contemplate as I head there...
I may have to get one of your pieces soon... I am enchanted with your work and you!
Hugs to Jim...

Julie Whitmore Pottery said...

Dulcy, you are really something.
an inspriation, and girl you look fantastic! That husband of yours looks pretty good too. ;>)
Happy birthday

Kim said...

Happy Happy Birthday, Dulcy! I've been a reader for a while and I just love you. This post makes it even more clear...I want to be just like you when I grow up! ;o) I hope your day is extra special!

Woolly Mammoth Woolens said...

What a great commentary on getting older. I have found that getting older has opened so many new doors and makes life much more exciting.

Julia said...

Happy Birthday dear Dulcy. Thanks so much for so freely sharing of who you are with us. I so appreciate it. I just think that you are living my dream.

Although you never revealed much about yourself in past blog post, it has been easy to pick up on your gentleness and peaceful mind. I always admired you and I knew that you had your priorities straight and lived a wholesome life.

This must feel like the best time of your life.

I'm so thankful that I got to connect with you through your blog. A big birthday hug. JB

Pixie said...

Dulcy, what a wonderful post, and thank you so much for sharing such intimate thoughts with the rest of us. You look amazing for 60 and i hope that i will feel like you do when i reach that age, i am 44 and really only at the beginning of changes, i am peri menopausal and my hair i have had to colour from the age of 20 as i started going grey very young, and i do worry about how physically i am changing and also my appearance, so your message in this post for me has made me feel so much more positive about the uncertainties to come.
Thank you. x Pixie

p.s Good to hear someone else likes a small glass of wine in the evening, i too think of it as medicinal ;)

Pixie said...

Oh also .......

Charlotte said...

Happy birthday to you. I hope I am as forward looking at the same age.
Ditto on the grey hair, mine started at 20.

Michele said...

What a lovely post. Thank you, and Happy Birthday, Dulcy.

Kim said...

Happy Birthday Dulcy. I loved reading this post and having you share more with us. You have some great life lessons in there.

Mary Stanley said...

All good wishes for a Happy Birthday, Dulcy! Loved reading all about you and your life so far. Being over 60 myself I know what you are talking about! Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful art and life with us!

Maggie's Meltdown said...

what a great piece to commemorate this moment in time. i've been absent for awhile, trying to get my own stuff together and hope to come to the door more regularly. you have been a good friend and i wanted to take a moment to tell you that i am very proud of you, your work and how you have made this part of your life most enviable. love always, chris

Tammy Burks said...

The cupcakes and wine were divine! Just want you to know that I feel so grateful to have you in my life! You are a treasure!

Nancy said...

Dulcy, First of all a BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you precious friend...I hope your day was all you had imaged and more...

Your post has just blown me away.....It's so seldom you see such transparency and openness about one's life.....I so appreciate that about you......

I am so glad you have used life's lessons to get to the point you are now.....which is beautiful in all respects...You have inspired and motivated me in ways you will never know.......Yea for 60......a wonderful and freeing time of life.....

Big hugs and blessings,

Cathy G. said...

Happy 60th Birthday dear friend! What an inspiring post to all who read and know you through your artwork and blog! Thank-you for sharing so much of who you are in the "spoken" word! As a faithful follower of your blog I have always admired your gentle spirit and appreciation of the beauty and nature that surround you! You are a beautiful soul inside and out!
May the Universe continue to bless your path as you live so graciously in the moments to come!
Cathy G

susan jenkins said...

Happy Birthday Dulsy! Really beautifully written, I loved every word and smiled as I read. You look wonderful and I also believe attitude is everything! Being busy and productive you have all of it covered! I too believe these are the best years of our lives.
So well said Dulcy, thank you for sharing!

XX Susan

Jennifer Richardson said...

Can I just say how INSPIRED I am feels an honor just to
"know" you!
You are more beautiful
with your fresh, natural
uncomplicated loveliness
than I can find words to express.
Altogether gorgeous.
You do life so very, very well
and it calls to places inside
of me in fearless ways.
I appreciate you.
I really am grateful that you are:)
Fantastic share....thanks.

Kathryn Glover said...

Dulcy. I didn't know it was your BIG DAY until 11:58 PM yesterday, but I did beat the deadline on FaceBook. You look so wonderful and sound so together. I turned 60 a little over a year ago and also, found myself with resolutions and revelations. Your figure is perfect. I am not so desciplined. You are so wise and comfortable with yourself and so earned your time for YOU now. Isn't it so enlightening to spend the days creating? You are so talented, too. I always love hearing from you and seeing what you are up to. I love who you are and wish you decades more to enjoying your life.

Cherrie said...

Happy Belated Birthday!

Sassafras and Winterberry said...

A very Happy Birthday...a bit late! Your post was just wonderful. You are living in just the same way I am aspiring to live. I'm hitting my 50th this year and it's all about changing my life to suit me better. When I read the part about your hair...I just smiled...I so want to let it go to it's natural gray too! You are an inspiration for me!

brenda said...

I love your post! So great to read your thoughts and views as you turn 60... What a wise woman! My Mother turned 75 on June 24th! I will be turning 50 on July 5! A year of milestone Birthdays... Happy Birthday to you Dulcy! Blessings to you!

Julia said...

Wow Dulcy, I in turn am humbled by your precious comment on my blog. I value our friendship.

I'm a Sagitarian and I say what's on my mind and how I see things. Truth is very important to me so I usually mean what I say.
I'll be 65 in November and I know inner beauty when I see it, and you are beautiful inside and out. Have a wonderful day . Hugs. JB

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

I loved this! It seems that the older I get the more I am into self acceptance of my flaws and shortcomings. Finally cutting myself a little slack! lol Simplicity is appealing more and more to me also. You look great! I'm looking at the big 60 next Dec.
have considered more and more going gray, but my daughters and grandkids have a fit about it!
Hope your birthday celebration was full of joy!


Debi said...

It was refreshing to read this. Happy Birthday Little Friend. I like what your comment of "living life". I think that's my new phrase of what I'm doing now. That's what I hope to do going forward. Debi

Unknown said...

Happy birthday! I too turned 60 this year and retired from teaching! It is a time of great change and refection as to how I will spend the rest of my life. A little scary and lots of fun trying to figure things out!

Татьяна Белозёрова said...

You are wonderful and amazing person. A beautiful woman. Look you great!