60 Firsts, Celebrating 60 Years on Earth!!

Milestone birthdays can be tough depending on your perspective on aging! I started counting the days to 60 well before Christmas. It was on my mind because if Tim was here he would without a doubt have thrown me a big event as he did for my 50th. I think my friends were really worried about what kind of day my 60th would be without Tim, BUT not only for that day, but for the entire month my friends kept me wined, dined and busy with incredible activities! I will never forget the extraordinary things my work family and my friends did for me! It was indescribable in so many ways! I decided to use the month of January as a stepping stone to bigger and better things to come in 2019! I accomplished my goal of experiencing 60 new things throughout the month and I’m happy to share my results!

Watched Old Movies I’d never seenDr. Zhivago with Omar Sharif, Maltese Falcon with Humphrey Bogart, Double Indemnity with Fred McMurray, Farewell to Arms with Gary Cooper, One Way Passage with William Powell, Dream Wife with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, Young Mr. Lincoln with Henry Fonda, Lured with Lucille Ball and George Sanders and The Public Enemy with James Cagney.

Tried restaurants I’d never been to – The famous Occidental on my birthday with my girls Louise and Jan, Jose Andres Fish at MGM with Tim’s best friend Joe, Ivy City Smokehouse and The Hitching Post with my friend Kirtley, two restaurants Coton and Rye and Hearthside at Lansdowne with my bestie Kris, and an amazing French café Toutdesweet and a really cool place called Dog Haus I found after work one evening.

Foods I’d never tried – Puerto Rican soup on New Year’s Day, kumquats, clams, fried cod fritters, a citrus scone, rockfish with onion and jalepeno, a whiskey and blood orange cocktail, a Filipino rice coconut muffin, vegan caviar, candy salmon, gluten free crusted lamb chop and bourbon poached figs.

New Places – Bowled at Lucky Strike in DC with my work fam, walked the upper level exterior of the MGM casino from which you can see many miles of DC and VA, spent the weekend with Kris at the extraordinary Lansdowne resort in VA.

New Self-Enrichment Activities – Had an 80 minute magnesium massage, signed up for Noom a healthy eating and motivational app and program which has already resulted in a 6 lb weight loss, took a meditation class and a yoga class, began reading Michelle Obama’s book Becoming, attended Evensong and Benediction Services at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, walked down and back up the 9 flights of stairs at the office for a new exercise routine with the work fam, listened to an Opera on Sirius XM, registered to participate in an upcoming Virtual Dementia Tour to experience in a simulation what Mom goes through on a daily basis and enrolled in a Writing as a Spiritual Practice course at Virginia Theological Seminary which ends in March.

Cool things – Had a cool birthday surprise from my work fam who decorated every inch of my cubicle and gave me a surpise luncheon, hung out with my cousin JoAnne at Mrs. K’s for a great dinner, Purchased the LEGO 60th edition set, went to a gender reveal party, joined “Meet Up” and attended a meet up on LEGO Serious Play, earned my Africa Badge on Fit Bit for walking a total of 5,000 miles since joining Fit Bit in 2014, reactivated my Rosetta Stone account to finally try to learn Spanish, brought ice melt and a snowblower to survive this winter, picked out and purchased new paint for my kitchen, brought a new storm door for the kitchen, brought a pair of purple boots for my presentations and got a pair of mandala sneakers for free, wrote and delivered two programs which included a LEGO Serious Play session for 34 people that can be used for other Intergenerational organizations, joined the county senior activity center and selected two activiies from my 60 and Better catalog, applied to three speakers bureaus in attempt to make speaking my permanent gig in retirement and published my coloring book I created with Mom called Colors Flowing from My Mind! I ended this incredible month by spending 3 awesome hours at dinner with Gayle Fisher-Stewart, who before she became an Episcopal priest was Tim’s supervisor on the Metropolitan Police Department in DC. I never knew Gayle back then, but thrilled to have her in my life now!

January may have only been 31 days, but I learned so much about my family, my friends and myself and I grew in ways I’d never anticipated. I can’t wait for the rest of the year to see what else 60 will hold for me. So much more for me to discover and enjoy! Onward and Upward!! Thank you to everyone who made my birthday month one of the BEST ever, I love each of you with all my heart!!

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Coloring the World with JOY!

It’s been a while since I’ve written but I’m definitely back!! Going into the third week of January, I’m wondering how many of my friends have already abandoned their New Year’s resolutions. I typically don’t set resolutions and didn’t so this year either! Instead I try to focus on JOY throughout the year even on the days I don’t feel all that Joyful!

This week there was so much to be Joyful about, especially the fact that the Coloring project I’ve been working on with Mom since last fall will be published in the next few weeks. Most thrilling about this project is that the title even came from Mom! While we were coloring one Sunday afternoon she said “I feel like the colors are flowing from my mind”. I knew there was a book title in there and it gave me so much joy!! I told Mom that we were coloring the world with joy and she said “we need that”. Mom has never been more right!

Given all the upheaval in the world today I’m trying to apply the coloring the world with joy to all of the people I interact with. Last night I went to a party at church and chatted with many people. In the crowd I saw a couple I used to be close to but hadn’t chatted with in more than three years. Not only had we not chatted, but on the two occasions we had seen each other over the last few years we didn’t even acknowledge each other when we made eye contact. I never understood why or what had happened to our friendship.

Then last night one of those individuals approached me and said “I hear you’re doing big things and speaking all over the country, what are you speaking about?” There were so many things I thought about saying in response, such as “where have you been?” or “why are you speaking to me now?” But I didn’t. In keeping with my Coloring the World with JOY, I answered his questions and smiled as his spouse joined our conversation. As we parted there were hugs all around, and I thought about Mom and that she would say “that was nice” about the encounter with my old friends.

I don’t have any expectations going forward that I’ll be great friends with this couple again. BUT I was willing to let them into my circle at that moment and it felt good even though I had hurt feelings about how our friendship had ended. This morning I was making some LEGO scenarios for an upcoming team building session. As I put the LEGO people together I realized that Coloring the World with JOY means not closing off our circle of friends and leaving people on the outside sadly looking in feeling excluded. Extending JOY means extending our hands and hearts and allowing people into our circle even if we disagree with them or don’t understand things that have happened in the past. In the moment last night I chose to extend my Joy to others and three weeks into 2019 I’m incredibly hopeful about the Joy I will give and receive for the rest of the year! I’m wishing all of us much Joy!