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Thursday, August 18, 2011

31,536,000 Seconds

They all add up. Every second counts.

This past week, I hit the 31,536,000 second mark in my lifetime.

It's been a rough summer here. Some of you know a little more on that than others. The Reader's Digest version is that between fun times at the lake and a terrific vacation in the Carolinas, my world went a little haywire.

In addition to managing my health issues and concern about Gyppy (who is doing well, by the way), I returned from vacation and one week later, 10 of my colleagues, friends and partners in broadcasting were laid off. Budget. Had to be done. It could have been any of us. And the thing is, we all get that. Except that is little comfort.

Good grief, they are more stoic than I am. The Survivor's Guilt has worn me down. But then, knowing something was imminent was equally anxiety-producing. Without going into more detail, my heart aches for each and every one of them, but in particular those who have families requiring medical attention, kids in college, or are simply of an age where finding a new job is hard.

(In fact, may I recommend an outstanding post by Dr. Kathy McCoy on retirement and rehiring when you've hit the boomer years.)

What mask do you wear?

Happy Girl? Miss We'll Get Through It?

After this week, I just want to turn my head, look away, so I can't see the pain and they can't see it reflected in me.

Amidst all this, I turned 60. Now, the logical part of me does not see this as old. I know the most extraordinary 60-and-70-and-80-something people in the world. They inspire me. Sixty may not be the new 40, but it isn't a death sentence.

Yet, I've been having a really hard time with this one. Maybe it was the lead-in, with the extreme stress and the litany of deep concerns. But I'm sure it's in part because you realize that if you make a continuum of years, even if you expect a long life (and I have bad genes in that pool), the marker clearly shows more space on one end than the other. Lop off a few years for the slow-down -- well, it means there is a lot of living to cram into that space.

My cousins started the ball rolling with an early celebration in Cleveland, where we stopped on the way to SC.

Cousin Mark's girlfriend Jaime made an incredible cake, Duff-worthy!

The entire family was there and they serenaded me to a series of birthday songs, "Happy Birthday," "Jolly Good Fellow," "The Gang's All Here" and "Roll Out the Barrell" -- my first time ever for the birthday songs live!

There was food, presents, fun -- but most of all, lots of love. And spending time with the cousins who are more like a brother and sisters to me.

As we spoke about my birthday in the weeks leading up to it, Rick said, "What do you want? A party?" I said, "No. I'm too tired and can't handle one. Just a quiet dinner. Let's go see 'The Help.'"

So, he set a table on the patio on a warm summer night, and we had the best wine ever! A 2006 Morgaux Grand Cru Classe, Cafe Tertre, delicious red. (Highly recommended!).

We had a delicious dinner and then, about dessert time, I noticed that a huge group of my friends had gathered. (They're sneaky devils -- I didn't even hear them come in!)

Surprised? You bet! Happy -- yes. By then, I was so happy, I was glad to share this day.

Somehow, Rick managed to pull in friends from so many of my walks of life. If they were in his address book, he found them! He did such a good job, but most of all, I was touched by his kindness and thoughtfulness.

We won't talk about the days after when I got awfully sick! Because even as I was laying in bed with chills, I thought, "I am the luckiest person in the world."

I am beginning to make my way around the Blog World, catching up with you. I've found it interesting that so many posts seem to be relevant to what I've been experiencing emotionally these days, and I've found great strength. Thank you. Thank you so very, very much.

22 comments:

Linda said...

Well...I wish I had known! I understand about turning 60 and how it effects you. I did that two years ago! It's a bit unsettling to get used to how time is marching on. I would love some of that wine, btw! Happy Belated Birthday...actually 60 deserves a month or longer.

Jeanie said...

If we are lucky enough to keep having birthdays we have to celebrate them and it looks like yours was well celebrated.
I'm so sorry about the other stresses in your life.
I have been in my 60's for 4 years now and so far I can't complain.

christinemyoung said...

jeanie ~ this is such a beautiful post, so full of the life you live. what a wonderful sweet surprise rick put together for you :))) may this new year be filled with all your heart desires ♥

Marilyn said...

Jeanie, I didn't realize it was a big birthday year. From your pictures you don't look like 60. What a lovely birthday in spite of all the other struggles with work and then getting sick. I wish you many more years of happiness and JOY. You are doing great!

Becca said...

You have had a multitude of things to contend with - I certainly know how they can mount up and leave you feeling pretty low sometimes.

But this post is so YOU in that you've given us only a peek at the things that saddened and worried you, but plenty of good and happy things to share as well. I'm so pleased that you had those moments to relieve some of the weightier things on your mind.

I hope you start to feel lighter and happier and that things begin looking up in your world :) Much love and peace to you always!

Joanne Huffman said...

When I turned 60, I decided that my birthdays for zero and five would be celebrated for the whole year (my birthday year) and the rest of them will be celebrated with birthday months. This doesn't mean constant parties, but it does mean doing many small things that make me happy to be where I am in life.

Jennifer Richardson said...

understand those emotions
and sending big hopeful wishes
that this next jaunt around the sun
is your brightest, sweetest
adventure so far!
-Jennifer

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Thanks so much, Jeanie, for the nice mention of my blog! And for your lovely post on turning 60 (loved the childhood pix!). It really is a milestone and a wakeup call to get a lot of living into the remaining years. I'm so glad you had such loving celebrations, including the surprise party your wonderful husband organized. How great to celebrate with friends from all phases of your life!

Stefanie said...

I love to read your post and see the lovely childhood pictures.
You looks wonderful, Jeanie, so happy and young!!!
I´m glad to see that all your friends celebrated your birthday with you !
I wish you all the best!
Stefanie

Retired English Teacher said...

There is much richness in this post. I barely know where to start with my response. I am amazed how much you childhood photos look like the beautiful, vibrant person you are today.

The situation at work must be very difficult. Just be thankful you didn't have to make those decisions.

60 is good. You look great. It is a hard birthday when one thinks of the time we have left, but I've learned that each year during my sixties has been a wonderful journey of self discovery that I did not experience when I was younger.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

I tried to ignore my 60th, but those closest to me celebrated with me and I came to realize how lucky I am just to continue having birthdays! I love the photos of the childhood you and the birthday you, both glowing and full of life. Sorry about the health issues and work situation; those are both very draining. Hope you are on the mend.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Happy Happy Birthday! It looks and sounds like you had a wonderful celebration, despite the not-so-great circumstances of life. That Rick, he sure is clever. It reminds me of the end of the first Sex and the City movie where Carrie gets married and tells Big she just wants it to be the two of them - but he invites her best friends to join them for brunch, and it was JUST what she wanted. I am so glad you got to celebrate with family and friends. And I must say, I did not realize you were turning 60 - you sure do not look 60! :)

Again, Happy Birthday!

Barb said...

Jeanie, When I see your wonderful smile, I always start smiling, too. You sure don't look your age, and I hope you don't act it. Happy Birthday - wishing you a year of good health and adventure ahead. PS You had that wonderful smile a s a little girl, too.

Arti said...

What a young 60 year-old you are, Jeanie! Happy Birthday and enjoy and celebrate the whole year through. You're such a cheerful soul since baby... and your smile just keeps on growing. Wonderful post and thanks for sharing with us!

Bella Rum said...

You've had a lot to deal with. I'm so glad that you had a lovely birthday, and I know exactly what you mean about feeling lucky even when you're at a low point... maybe even especially when you're at a low point. I feel that, too.

This is a terrible time to lose a job. I hope all of your colleagues find employment soon.

Take care and happy birthday! Adorable pics!

Leann said...

Hi Jeanie

Happy Birthday! Sounds like you had a lot of love surrounding you on your special day.

Just stopping by to let you know that I rec'd one of your tags in Karla's swap. It's beautiful! So glad to meet you!

Leann

Bree said...

Happy Birthday! Look at those little girl curls. So cute! your hubby did a great job mixing both your desire with a party. Amazing birthday cake.

anno said...

What a lovely surprise! The older I get, the more I understand just how important it is to mark those birthdays, to celebrate your life and the relationships you've cultivated. So glad Rick made sure you celebrated in style. Hope you're still feeling the glow...
xoxo Anno

karlascottage.typepad.com said...

You are as much of a beauty at 60 as you were at 6! what gorgeous hair.

Quiltmoose - Dagmar said...

HAPPY belated BIRTHDAY, Jeanie!!! I see you have celebrated decently :) Best wishes for a happy and healthy upcoming year of your life. Let's hope you've left all your health issues behind. Take care!

Love,
Dagmar

jet1960 said...

As you can see I am catching up backwards. Sorry to hear of the layoffs. I know how you feel, although with us it was the whole hospital closing and we all were without jobs. You worry most about those can afford to be without a job the least.

As for your birthday, you are the youngest and most beautiful 60 year old! I can only aspire to be so youthful

Cindy said...

LOVE the last photo of you! You are beautiful and you have the best smile...60...its only a number. We might have to give the wine a whirl...we drink it for medicinal purposes over here..LOL.

Hey gurl, happy belated to ya!

-c

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