Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!
I am 60. Sixty years old! Finally, legally SOLO at SIXTY! And happy about it! But geez…how did I get to be 60? I certainly don’t feel 60. Nor do I act 60. And I sure hope I don’t look 60! But 60 is the new middle-age, right?!?! And 6 and 0 is better than 5 and 9 any day in the sports world! (Just ask my Tar Heels!)
“I will never regret getting old. I know too many people who never had that privilege.”
Remember when 60 seemed so old?!? Back when we were 20? I don’t really remember my 20th birthday, though I do remember my 18th birthday when I thought it was going to be all about me since that was a biggie – back then 18 was a BIG deal! But my birthday was all about my older sister because she was getting married! They are celebrating 42 years of marriage TODAY! I am so proud of them. Thankfully, my cheerleader friends made my 18th birthday very fun at our Fall Sports Banquet that year. I remember how special my 30th birthday was – I brought my younger daughter home from the hospital on my 30th birthday. Best birthday present ever! I worried over my 40th birthday – we had just moved to Charlottesville several months earlier and I thought I would have no one to celebrate my 40th with me. I had celebrated all of my girlfriends’ 40th birthdays in NC because I was the youngest. But up here I was one of the oldest! Low and behold, my dear neighbor (yes the one who moved to KY) and my girlfriends decorated my yard with lovely pink flamingoes, signs, and toilet paper. It was wonderful! My mom and her sister, my Aunt Jewelle, drove up to surprise me at a birthday lunch my neighbor had planned for me. Love my girlfriends! And my 50th? My sweet older daughter planned a surprise party for me with my girlfriends at my sister’s house when she still lived up here. So I have celebrated all my “BIG ZERO” birthdays in grand fashion. And I have never fretted over aging. Thankful for it actually.
“Age is an attitude, not a number.”
But seriously, I am so happy to be 60. To be where I am in my life’s journey. I have been through and learned a lot in my 60 years. I have loved and lost, endured heartache and survived, built a wonderful life for my family and now for me SOLO. And I have grown. I have discovered who I am beyond being someone’s wife (ex), mother, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin. I am me and I love who I am today. Although I loved being in all of those “roles”, I have truly enjoyed discovering who Leslie is. I learned how strong I can be when needed. I learned to turn heartache into happiness, devastation into opportunity, and everyday life into fun and adventure. And I also know the best is yet to come.
“Know that you are the perfect age. Each year is special and precious, for you shall only live it once.” Louise Hay
So what have I learned in my 60 years? Well I am still learning, but here is my TOP 12:
- Change happens and it is ok. What seems like the end of the world may be the beginning of the best part of your life.
- It is ok to splurge on yourself. Have your nails done. Have someone else clean your house. Buy those running shoes in every color and plenty of Lululemon pants!
- You can live without a man in your life, but not without your sisters and girlfriends. Sisters and girlfriends are there for you and support you no matter what.
- Most people would rather have your time than a gift. I always tell my children that I don’t want a gift; I want them to write a letter to me. And I save and treasure every one.
- Forgive those who have wronged you. You don’t have to forget, but do forgive. Not for them, but for you! You only hurt yourself if you concentrate on who has done you wrong because honestly, they do not care, or they would not have hurt you in the first place.
- You slow down when you age. And it is ok. Not running those 7 minute miles anymore! (Did I ever?) But I am still running and active and that is the important thing.
- Always be kind. You never know what the other person is going through. Just always be kind. We need more kindness in this world.
- Senior Discounts are GREAT! “Are you a senior?” “Depends on how much the discount is!” “Oh, yes, I am a senior!”
- Always use sunscreen. And wear a hat in the sun. And if you can’t reach that spot in the middle of your back, get a Bendable Body Wand!
- Be truthful. The truth ALWAYS comes out. Own up to your mistakes immediately. It makes life easier.
- Look forward in life, not backwards. Your future is so much more important than your past. “There’s a reason the windshield is so big and the rear view mirror so small.”
- “There is always, always, always something to be thankful for.” Look for it.
“Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that people who have the most, live the longest.”
My 60th birthday has been the best yet! And like a broken record, I have to repeat myself with “what a great weekend I had”. My sister and brother-in-law came for the weekend. My daughter’s 30th birthday was Friday, my 60th Monday. Saturday we celebrated together at King Family Vineyard with a “Cheers to 30 Years Plus 30 More” party! What fun to share the afternoon with our friends and family! And what a beautiful November afternoon it was. We set up outside and celebrated with wine, appetizers, and cake for hours! It was lovely to have my friends, who all know my daughter, and my daughter’s friends, who all know me, celebrating together. Like I said before, my kids have the nicest friends! And so do I!
And then there was Monday… my actual birthday. OH MY GOODNESS I cannot begin to tell you how special I felt! My team decorated not only my office, but our floor for my birthday. (I posted a video on SOLO at SIXTY’S facebook page). The time they spent getting pictures chronicling parts of my life, mounting and hanging them, not to mention all the “60” decorations, meant the world to me. Yes I cried. Because, not only did they get pictures, but they all know how much I love inspirational quotes and they found very special ones for me and posted them on my windows and hung them from the ceilings. And all were two-sided with separate sayings. This took a lot of thought, preparation, and effort and I appreciate it more than they will ever know. I continue to brag about the team I work with. I am so thankful for and love them!
My birthday was topped off with dinner out with my younger daughter to celebrate our birthdays followed by our tradition of getting Gelato (pumpkin for me, hazelnut for her). Perfect ending to a perfect birthday.
“A birthday is just the beginning of another 365 journey around the sun. Enjoy.”
Let’s not forget that November is our thankful month. I was blessed beyond imagination with so many things to be thankful for this past week. And with Thanksgiving tomorrow, we all need to stop and be thankful for all of our blessings. I wish for all y’all a blessed Thanksgiving. Enjoy your families and friends and let them know how thankful you are for them, because as we all know, tomorrow is not promised to any of us.
6 thoughts on “Go Go Go Go Go Shorty…It’s my birthday… (50 Cent 2003)”
Happy birthday, Lovely. I look forward to Wednesdays to read your column.
Dwight Sparks The Old Contest Director
Love the pictures! Very nice my friend. Happy thanksgiving.
Sent from my iPhone
Leslie, I LOVED this message! What a great perspective on birthdays and aging…you are still a 17 year old girl to me!!
What a fabulous spirit for a wonderful soul. I loved this.
Love it. Happy thanksgiving les!
Sent from my iPhone
Happy 60! You are so right about some folks not getting the privilege to age. My beautiful sister died at only 49 years old from brain cancer. I am nearing the 60 milestone myself and I thank God everyday for each year that I am blessed with. My beautiful sister Sara Jo did not get to even see 50. She missed seeing her baby granddaughter and her great-grandchildren. Life moved on, but I miss her each day and think about all those years that were lost. God’s blessings and wishing you many more decades to enjoy your family and friends!