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Interesting Fact: Did you know that the average life expectancy in the 1700s was 36!? And in the 1800s only 43.3? In the month of November, as our thoughts focus on gratitude, you should thank your lucky stars you didn’t live back then.

 

Tomorrow I will be 49. Actually, it doesn’t feel like such a big number. Not even half way to 100 yet, but if my life expectancy is 80+ years (hey, I gave up Diet Coke so that should add a few extra) then I am over half way through my life. Wow. That kinda freaks me out now that I think about it.

 

In any event, there’s this line from a song I really like:

 

Old, but I’m not that old
Young, but I’m not that bold
~”Counting Stars” by OneRepublic

 

This completely resonates with me at this point in my life. I’m old and young at the same time.

 

If I could make a wish on Saturday, it would be: Please let me be healthy and strong, in mind and body, to see my children grow into adulthood and all that might hold for them. College, careers, marriage, children. Whatever and wherever their lives take them. May they be happy.

 

Life can change in an instant. All around me, in my own neighborhood, I’ve witnessed how nothing is written in stone. Cancer, infidelities, job loss, aging parents, a car accident, a heart attack. I don’t mean for this post to be a downer, but I think its important to acknowledge the dark side of life so that one can embrace, nay, have mad gratitude for all the things that are right and good.

 

Here then is what I’m thankful for. It’s actually a short list. This is what makes my heart beat with joy each and every day:

 

–A devoted spouse (I love him and he loves me. I know how lucky I am as I watch other marriages dissolve before my eyes.)

–Healthy, happy children (My joy and love and light — I’m so very blessed to be their mother. I’ve watched others struggle with infertility and can’t imagine the pain they must experience. I’ve watched friends with sick children who have chronic illnesses you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.)

–Friends, family and community (These are my people, my tribe. I couldn’t navigate my day without them at my back.)

 

For me, it’s all about connection. Belonging. In the end, isn’t that what we all crave? To love and be loved in return?

 

To be sure, I have many other things to be grateful for (house, food, car, etc.) and I don’t discount them. I am grateful for it all. Has my life been perfect? No. Of course not. But ultimately I am grateful for this wild, crazy life of mine. Where it’s taken me, where it will take me, all the people who have been on this journey with me and all the people I’m still to meet.

 

As I move forward into the last part of my life I want this to be my mantra: “Do not take anything for granted — not one smile or one person or one rainbow or one breath, or one night in your cozy bed.” ~Terri Guillemets

 

And, celebrate every moment, but especially on your birthday :-)

 

From me to you, here and now…
Barbara

(PS. I’m grateful for you, too, dear reader.)