Yes, many a fine tune IS played on an old fiddle!

Old fiddles, unite!

Violin and red rose on black background.Try as I might, I couldn’t find the indisputable origin of the proverb “Many a fine tune is played on an old fiddle.Celebrating70 is all about making the very most of growing older and this little “ditty” seems to support that mission! In a culture that values youth, it’s good to be reminded that as old fiddles we do still have value in this big old world. If we don’t truly believe that, who will, my friends??

Now, we could argue all day about just when we become a metaphorical old fiddle. Heck, I’m 71 and really – on most days anyway! – I don’t feel like an old fiddle. To define old fiddle, we first might have to answer this question: How old is elderly? Hmmm.  Is it 65? Is it 70?  It definitely depends on who you ask. When I Googled “elderly” I saw some references to “early elderly” and “late elderly.” Does that mean there might even be “pre-elderly” or “post elderly” as well? Aye yai yai.

Whether I’m an old fiddle…or elderly…or any of the other what-could-be-considered misnomers, from the inside out I’m no different than I was when I was younger.

I’m smart.
I’m an honest person.
I’m kind-hearted.
I’m a loyal friend.
I learn new things.
I’m a good writer.
I have a great sense of humor. (At least I think so!)
I love pink and purple.
I read murder mystery novels.
I love to dance. (Old fiddles dance party, anyone??)
I make really great cookies!

Yes, I still play those same tunes! Maybe this old fiddle doesn’t look the same as I did “back in the day”…but I am the same. I’m me and I always will be. Call me what you will!

Something else comes to mind when a think of an old fiddle. My precious Grandpa, Pap, actually did play an old fiddle. Bless his heart up in heaven! Pap was a humble man who started working in the coal mines of Pennsylvania as just a kid. He went on to create a great life…and he always loved music. He could sing. He played the piano. He played the trumpet. And he played his old fiddle. Pap went to heaven at the age of 72. I do admit that seemed old to me at the time…

Pap played an old fiddle. Pap was an old fiddle I guess. Now I’m a proverbial old fiddle. And guess what. It’s not so bad!!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, many a fine tune is played on an old fiddle. Those who are young may not appreciate that. The old fiddles among us must stand tall and proud and be sure to remind this world of our true value…who we really are.

Old fiddles, unite!

“Someday we’ll laugh about this.” Why wait??

Rediscovering our “funny bone” is actually good for our health!

LAUGHING.jpgWhat makes us feel better than a good hardy laugh? Not much I’d say! A couple of weeks ago I went for the very first time to hear a few stand-up comics at a wonderful local venue. Oh my goodness, did I laugh!! I had been stressed all day and nearly cancelled on my daughter and her fiancé. I’m so glad I didn’t!  Those big old belly laughs were exactly what I needed.

I think Norman Cousins would have agreed! Doing research while he was critically ill, Cousins discovered that humor and healing go hand in hand. In his best-selling book Anatomy of an Illness: As Perceived by the Patient, Cousins wrote about the “triumph of the human spirit” in contributing to our healing.  Yes, ladies and gentleman, the healing power of laughter is very real!

I’ve thought a lot about humor over the years. A couple of decades ago I was one of only a very few people in the Fortune 500 company where I worked who thought that humor actually had a place in a corporate environment. I will never forget once at a big quarterly meeting when a kind-hearted human resources person stood to announce that there would be a lunch–time session on stress management that everyone was invited to attend. Well, now. The serious-faced, buttoned up, three-piece-suited vice president who was running that meeting immediately challenged loudly: “Raise your hand if you have time to go to a session on stress!”  Wow. Nary a hand went up. The message was crystal clear: No time for that frivolous pursuit.  So sad. All I can say is…Yay! I’m not in that environment anymore! Smiles galore now!

Now let’s get back to the healing power of laughter. Think about this: What makes you smile? For example, what movies always bring a smile to your face? For me one would be My Cousin Vinny!! I’ve watched that movie so many times and I still laugh!  Does a particular friend’s sense of humor always lighten your mood? Give him or her a call! Remember that laughter is not always about jokes. Smiles come for many reasons!

Go ahead now. Make a list!! Consider funny photos, jokes, quotations, songs, animals, people, television shows, memes, comics, etc., etc., etc. Everyone’s list will be different.

I believe it may have been Liz Curtis Higgs who said, “Someday we’ll laugh about this. Why wait?” Liz was right. There is truly never a bad time for a smile or laughter. Perhaps in the darkest of times is when a little smile or a bit of laughter will do the most good.

My advice to you today? Do whatever it takes to put a smile on your face! You’ll be glad you did!

Thank you, hands! Thank you, arms!

I couldn’t have done it without you!

Grandmother and grandchild kneading doughI’ll get right to the point today, everyone. Our body parts don’t look like they used to! Pick a body part, any body part. All together now….Waaaahhhh!!! Boo hoo!!! Sniff sniff!! (Onomatopoeia anyone?) It is what it is, and we’re not particularly happy about it.

I’m not here to sell you a magic potion, lotion, cream or device that will bring back the easy outward beauty of youth. We all know that can’t happen. I’m here today to help us all not simply accept ourselves as we are but, more importantly, actually love ourselves as we are…all body parts included!

Here’s an example. As we age women often have “a problem” with their hands and arms (think age spots and bat wings!). Not long ago as I pondered my old hands and old arms I suddenly realized how very, very thankful I am for them.

These hands once touched so many people I love who have gone on to heaven before me…my Mom, my Dad, Munner (my grandma), Pap (my grandpa), my big brother Tim. These hands once touched the silky newborn faces of my now-grown daughters and nearly-grown grandsons…and my arms encircled them and lifted them up when they cried. With my old hands I have made pies and cookies and cakes and other goodies for my family and friends to enjoy. These hands have felt the smoothness of a handsome horse’s back, the prickly stem of a beautiful rose, and the sweet softness of a beloved dog’s floppy ears. And so much more…

Yes, I am so lucky to have these arms and hands…and all the other parts of my no-longer-young body. I’m grateful that my old heart still beats, allowing me to be a part of this good life for however long that will be. That truly is a gift.

We’ve all heard the saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Well, this beholder is feeling new appreciation and seeing beauty where I didn’t see it before.

Thank you, arms! Thank you, hands! I love you, my old friends. Oh, the memories. I simply couldn’t have done it without you!

Happy Birthday to me! I’m 71 today!

Hello again from Celebrating70!!

Cake (XXL)I started Celebrating70 last year when I was 70 years old. How time does fly!

Today I’m celebrating my 71st birthday. What a blessing! So many times we lament getting old. But, heck, what’s the alternative, my friends? As someone once so wisely said, “Never complain about growing old. So many never get the chance.”

When we are blessed with the gift of life, we shouldn’t waste it!  Rather than regretting that we aren’t younger – been there, done that – we can instead focus on actually living the years that God is giving us. Gratitude will motivate us along the way.

At 71 what do I have to be grateful for? So much!  I have my daughters, my grandsons, the rest of my family, my good friends.  I have the ability to still work (Yes, I want to!) and the ability to walk (not all do…), to see (glasses, of course!), and to hear (okay, yes, with hearing aids!). And…I am grateful for watching the big snowflakes making their way to this good earth, seeing the flowers bloom in the spring (any time now, please!), or simply hearing the sound of my grandsons’ voices on the phone. Priceless. Though much less meaningful, I am also grateful for a steaming mug of good strong coffee, a slice or two of delicious hot pizza, sometimes maybe even a bit of yummy crème brûlée. You get the idea. Too many blessings to mention!

In a short article in Health.com entitled Afraid of Getting Older? Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Be, Dr Gail Saltz tells us that, “It sounds cliché, but please don’t forget that with age comes wisdom, experience, often a wider circle of loved ones, and more comfort and security in your sense of self.  Those are things worth looking forward to.” Yes, we do have much to look forward to!

On a somewhat lighter note…have you ever read the funny narrative entitled The Stranger in My House by Rose Madeline Mula? Click on the title to take a look. Let’s just say it made me smile…and I sure could relate! Probably my favorite part came near the end:

 “I thought she (the stranger in the mirror) couldn’t get any meaner…but yesterday she…had the nerve to come with me when I went to have some passport pictures taken, and she actually stepped in front of the camera just as the shutter clicked. Disaster! I have never seen such a terrible picture. How can I go abroad now?”

All I can say is…I don’t know which is worse: my passport photo or the photo on my new driver’s license. Is that really me????

Well, yes, that is me in the mirror! My beauty has drawn inward now. But I’m still me and will always be. Me…but even better!

So…Happy Birthday to me!

Pajama Dressing? Say What??

Am I the LAST person on earth to hear of this fashion trend??

PAJAMA DRESSING 5Imagine my surprise when I came upon a November 2017 article at people.com entitled 11 Pajamas You Can Wear To Any Thanksgiving Celebration, from Fancy Silks to Fleece Onesies.

Wait. Did that say “onesies”? Now that I’ve gotten my breath back, let me continue.

What exactly is pajama dressing? New Trend Alert: Pajama Dressing 101 at Cosabella.com let me know that pajama dressing is “simply wearing pajamas…as outerwear.” Yikes!

And…the article The Rise of the Pajama Trend and How to Style It in avenuemagazine.com tells us that “creating a fashion statement out of your nighttime routine is an up-and-coming trend.” Wow. It goes on to say that “the athleisure trend has been able to thrive in an ever-transforming fashion market.” Now I do “get” athleisure. Let’s just say few days go by that I don’t wear a pair of leggings!

A July 2018 article entitled How to Master the Art of Summer Pajama Dressing on glamour.com shares “styling tips…that have paved the way for lazy dressers everywhere.” Wonderful! My featured photo today comes from that article.

I’ve taught more than a few college students who wore pajama bottoms to an early morning class. I think I’ve even seen some fluffy slippers as well. Somehow I don’t think these students were on the forefront of the pajama dressing trend. Maybe I’m wrong.

How things have changed! When I was in high school back in the dark ages we couldn’t wear pants of any kind to class – let alone pajamas. And, when I started working for a major corporation decades ago, women wearing pants – and I mean “real” pants – was frowned upon. Skirts and dresses prevailed. (All together now…can we say “panty hose”?)

Okay, let’s say all of us here at Celebrating70 buy into the pajama dressing fashion trend. Do you think the world is ready for our pajamas? Or should I say nightgowns? Does flannel “fly”? Can I throw on my robe when I go out if the weather is nippy? I mean fair is fair.  If younger women are wearing their silky pajama separates out and about, should we have the same fashion freedom? Here! Here!

Well…now that I’ve thought about it, the answer is no. To be completely honest I haven’t really followed fashion trends in quite some time…and I don’t think this is the time to start.

I’m going to “just say no” to pajama dressing.

Are you with me?

You’re old. You sag. Get over it!

Sophia Petrillo on The Golden Girls certainly has a way with words!

Sophia Petrillo SmallerI never watched The Golden Girls when it was in “prime time,” but I love to catch the reruns. And Sophia is my favorite!

As The Golden Girls Wiki on Fandom points out, “Sophia is best known for her wisecracks, put-downs and brazen remarks.” I do think “You’re old–You sag–Get over it” meets all three criteria! Let’s just say Sophia isn’t known to pull any punches.

The Golden Girls offers a comedic perspective on what “old age” was like in Miami in the late 1980’s. What totally amazes me now is that when The Golden Girls premiered in 1985, actress Rue McClanahan (Blanche) was actually 51, Bea Arthur (Dorothy) was 63, Betty White (Rose) was 63, and Estelle Getty (my Sophia) was 62!! What’s wrong with that picture?? I’m 70! If they were old, what am I?? Aye yai yai.

But I digress. Regardless of the ages of the actresses playing the roles, cheerful programming about aging women was and is a welcome diversion from programming that exalts youth and beauty above all else and minimizes the value of those of us who have celebrated many, many birthdays. While certainly there are stereotypes in The Golden Girls, the program balances happy times and sad times and also exemplifies the importance of sharing our lives with kindred spirits who will help us navigate our ups and downs with both humor and caring.

Moving on now from The Golden Girls…a 2017 HBO documentary entitled If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast is worth checking out. First of all, I love the title! In the article The Sunny, Funny View of Old Age, Sophie Gilbert describes how in this Emmy-nominated documentary “acclaimed nonagenarians including Carl Reiner and Betty White challenge stereotypes about life after 90.” Now I’m feeling a bit more youthful!

Sophia Petrillo’s harsh quip about aging aside, whether we’re mere septuagenarians or we’re current or aspiring nonagenarians, we can do ourselves the favor of maintaining a positive spirit and being grateful for our blessings.  And also – for good measure – let’s be sure to do what Oprah advises…“Surround yourself only with people who are going to lift you higher.”

Great advice, I’d say!

P.S. Thanks, Pat, for the great “tip” about If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat BreakfastIt’s a keeper!

Are you like Tigger…or maybe more like Eeyore?

And…who are the other characters in YOUR Hundred Acre Wood?

Winnie-the-Pooh-Characters TRY THIS.png

When I set out to write this post I simply thought it might be fun to think about Tigger and Eeyore, beloved characters from Disney’s Winnie the Pooh. Little did I know when I “Googled” this seemingly playful topic that so much has been written about the Winnie the Pooh characters!  Some of what’s written is positive…some not so much. And…I had absolutely no idea that the movie Christopher Robin recently opened in theaters, offering us a chance to get reacquainted with Tigger, Eeyore, Pooh and the rest of the gang!

In any event, I will take a light-hearted approach to the oh-so-compelling Tigger or Eeyore question.

Tigger is generally a glass half full type of person – optimistic, happy, energetic, outgoing, and fun-loving. Eeyore, on the other hand, is more glass half empty – pessimistic, gloomy, tired, shy, fearful…and also a very kind soul.  We may see a bit of ourselves in one or even both of them. Or maybe we’re more like one of the other Winnie the Pooh characters?

I found a quick quiz online that helps us discover which Winnie the Pooh character our own personality favors! There are only eleven questions (and you can easily “skip” one ad).  Click here if you’d like to give it a try.  While you may or may not agree with the outcome of the quiz –- Let’s just say I never thought I was like Piglet! –- it is a fun little quiz. Do keep in mind that each character has positive attributes!

Now that we’ve thought about which Pooh character we might be like, here’s another interesting question to ponder. Who are the other “characters” in your very own Hundred Acre Wood? I’ll bet your “world” includes some very interesting personality types. I know mine does! (Hmmm. Is a Negative Nelly the same as an Eeyore…?)

I’ve heard it said that as we grow older we become “more of” who we really are. Whether we’re like Tigger, Eeyore or another Pooh character, we always have the opportunity — the choice really — to interact with the world around us in a positive way. From my perspective, my friends, that is ultimately — always — the best approach!

Would you agree??