A Family Centenary celebration coming up next weekend.

“Live your life and forget your age” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

A week this Sunday, hubby’s Mom in England will celebrate her 100th birthday, and all the family will be there cheering her on at her party for 140 people at the village hall. She’s always as bright as a button, and I’ve never heard her complain about getting old; in fact her age is a source of pride, and she’s so looking forward to getting the Queen’s telegram. Last week the woman in the cake shop, was very surprised when this sprightly woman walked in to order her own 100th birthday cake.  She has lived on her own, in her double storey, three-bedroom house since she was widowed twenty years ago, and does all her own cooking, with friends often calling in to have tea with her. Her favourite pastime is playing scrabble on the computer, and she is a daunting opponent in the competitions she takes part in. She bakes really delicious cakes, and until a few years ago, used to enter them in local competitions and often win first prize. For her 90th birthday, she baked and decorated a delicious Pavlova, and dozens of friends and relatives came to her party.

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Five years ago, she and my Mom accompanied hubby and I on a trip to the USA to visit our son and family. These two old ladies, were so excited and cheerful on the flight over from England. It was such an adventure for them both; the first time they’d been to America.

They walked their legs off all around New York city, taking in the sights and sounds and never complaining of being tired. The two of them shopped up a storm at Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and Banana Republic.

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and posed for photos in Times Square.

We took the ferry across to Ellis Island where the new immigrants to the USA used to be processed, and then we were off to see the Statue of Liberty. What a thrill that was for them both.

A two-hour car journey took us down to Washington, where we stayed for a couple of days, going to see the White House, the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials and other historical sites. Once again, the two of them put their best feet forward and enjoyed every minute. They were like excited teenagers, and it was such a joy to be with them.

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The reason I’m telling you all this is that it’s my birthday on Sunday, and every birthday that comes around I remember how I sobbed my heart out at my 21st party, because I would never be young again. Hubby had to take me for a walk around the block to calm me down. What a silly young thing I must have been, with not a thought in my head for all the wonderful years still to come. I suppose I must have believed then that youth was the most important thing in life, but I was so wrong. Life experience is worth far more than transient youthfulness. The years since my 21st have been full of wonderful achievements with the addition to our family of two precious children and five gorgeous grandchildren. Talents which as a youngster I didn’t realise the value of, have been polished and used. I’ve watched with pride as my children grew up into responsible, successful and happy adults. Many people have come in and out of my life and taught me valuable lessons in the process. I’ve learned to be more caring for others’ needs and wants and have also experienced the love and selflessness of my family and friends towards me. It’s only as one grows older and hopefully wiser that one appreciates the benefits of not being young any more. Speaking for myself, I’m so grateful for the lessons learned over the years, and wouldn’t trade my life experience for the youth I had then.

It’s been said that “Life begins at forty,” but I believe that life begins every morning when you wake up, however old you are. You may have a job to go to; embrace it and be the best you can be. You may have children to care for; give this task the best you’ve got. A happy childhood is one of the most precious gifts that parents have in their power to bestow. Maybe you have a talent which needs a little nurturing to bring it to the fore; give yourself the chance to shine and let others have the benefit of it too. If you are already old, then share the wisdom of your years with those younger and less experienced than yourself. Life teaches us lessons for a purpose, and we can often find someone who can benefit from what we have learned. Aging isn’t something to be feared. As Gloria Pitzer, an American TV personality once said, “About the only thing that comes to us without effort is old age.” We can either plan for it by keeping ourselves healthy and fit and being wise with our financial planning for our old age, or we can just let it creep upon us unawares and give us a big fright when we suddenly realise that it’s too late to do anything about it.

Every day is a gift to us and whether we’re young, middle-aged or downright over the hill, we can always “Seize the day” and run with it. Well maybe not literally run, but you know what I mean. When you’re young, live your life as though there IS a tomorrow, so that when you’re old, you can live as though there’s NO tomorrow.