One year ago I wrote about turning 60 and made a list of places to go and things to do that were important or fun. In the course of writing that column, I made a promise to myself to celebrate life each and every day for the rest of my life without waiting for a birthday. As my family and friends sang Happy Birthday to me a couple of weeks ago, it hit me: I had kept my promise. A smile beamed from my heart and spread across my face.
Have you ever noticed that when there are a lot of changes in our lives, we look for something stable, or comforting, to help us over those hurdles. Family and friends have always been that grounding force for me. With most of my family still in Florida, it is a bit challenging to see them and squeeze in time for fun. The last few trips home for family reunions have only been for two or three days, which isn't long enough to recover from the jet lag.
After returning from my family reunion in Jacksonville on July 14, my boyfriend asked where I'd like to go for my birthday. Back to Florida was my answer. First stop was Orlando for dinner with my cousins, nieces and friends. We spent almost four hours talking, laughing and eating while a typical summer thunderstorm raged outside. The torrential rain did not dampen our spirits in the least and the spectacular lightning was our own fireworks display.
The rest of the week was spent on the beach in Jacksonville. We biked the shoreline from Atlantic Beach through Neptune Beach and past Jacksonville Beach with just enough of a breeze to keep us cool. After parking our bikes with the valet (there is no open parking), we cooled off in the pool at One Ocean Resort. My Aunt Melba and Uncle Cecil are in rehabilitation centers. They are quite alert but have had a few issues this year. What a gift to sit with them if for only a little while and share the afternoon. Lunch with my brother, Doug, was also on the agenda. We've had our conflicts over the years but he's still my brother.
Thank you to my cousin Lisa for an awesome celebration. Great food, great wine, great company and we ended the evening dancing. What better way to celebrate life. Shing Xiong said it best: "In the end, it's not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away." A big thank you to Gary, my new love, for sharing those moments with me.
Reach Gail Davis at RuhenstrothRamblings@yahoo.com, or (775) 400-1265.