Monday, June 20, 2011

Blowing out candles

Today I am 49.

On this birthday, I bounded out of bed with a smile on my face.  I feel better than I have in years; I have the greatest family on the planet, I love all the creative things I'm doing, and I'm optimistic about the future.

Back when I was in high school, I spent the summers working as a nursing assistant in a nursing home.  I think it was one of the greatest learning experiences of my life. 

I remember in particular one lovely, quiet woman.  She groomed herself beautifully, and read the entire newspaper every day.  She would wait by her door at meal times for one of us to offer her an arm to escort her to the dining room.  I don't know that she needed us for stability as much as she had simply earned the right to have that special attention.

I loved to spot her waiting.  Escorting her slowly down the hall was a break from the otherwise hectic pace of work there.  I know we had many brief pleasant conversations, but there is one that stands out in my memory.

She stood at her doorway and smiled.

"It's my birthday today."

"Happy birthday!  How old are you?"  [Let's remember I was in high school - this probably wasn't the nicest thing to ask.  I certainly wasn't the only person who remarked on her longevity though.]

"I'm 107."

"That's amazing!  Do you have any advice on how to live so long?"

"The first 100 years are the hardest."

So today I raise my glass to that dear patient (whose name I have forgotten) and her witty advice.  According to her, I'm almost halfway through the hard part.

6 people stopped folding laundry to write:

Michelle said...

Beautiful Memories! And Happy Birthday!

Pokey said...

A wonderful memory, and a great day for a birthday! Many birthday blessings, pokey

owlfan said...

Happy birthday! I hope you have a great birthday week.

Branlaadee said...

Happy Birthday! And I believe that was great advice from her. What a lovely woman!

Virginia said...

Happy birthday! I turn 50 later this summer. Inspired by your former patient, I'm looking forward to the next 57.

Melissa said...

She sounds like a remarkable woman.

Happy birthday to you!!

LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs