Saturday, November 16, 2013

*Milestones Become Touchstones

Inside of card:
Welcome to the years where your birthday
means nothing!  Enjoy it.  The rest of
the milestones kind of suck. 
There are birthdays, and there are BIRTHDAYS! Those wonderful milestones we anticipate from birth... turning five so we can go to kindergarten, turning sixteen so we can drive, turning eighteen so we're officially an adult.  Now that I'm pushing 53, I'm considering what I have to look forward to. Hmmm...

When I hit 45, AARP leaflets started filling up my mailbox. You can be an official member when you hit 50. Oh, boy, now THERE'S some good news. I'm already late to the party!

I'm still not old enough for the senior discounts at Chuck-A-Rama, but apparently if you look old enough, you get it anyway.  That was a sad day, indeed.  

After paying my "entrance fee" to the cashier at the Disneyland of Eating, and I happened to ask the young college-aged lad how old I had to be to qualify for the discount.  

"Oh, I already gave it to you."  Gasp.  

BUT I'M NOT OLD ENOUGH, I wanted to scream. I joked with him, sort of, about being careful how he puts that to potential OLD FOLKS; it could be considered offensive. He didn't get it. Like any kid his age, he just figured he was doing me a favor by saving me some dough.  I tried not to get all huffy about it.

The government benefits to the aging are the dangling carrots of Medicare at 65, and Social Security at 67. I can hardly wait. Seriously. After 30 years of teaching, receiving a monthly check that is just a little more than half of my regular salary is no cause for celebration. The insurance thing is a nightmare for anyone, especially those of us on a fixed income. Gloom and doom,  I tell you.

Bridger noticed last year that Eagle Point Ski Resort offers a great perk for we those of us in the rapidly aging category. I started skiing when I was 47; I'm pretty proud of that little fact.  I'm not the best, but I have so much fun.

"Hey, Mom!  You've gotta keep skiing until you're 65 so you can get the senior discount!" my then 15 year-old told me.  Yes, this remark was made on the day that I was sitting in the lodge with my ski pants down around my ankles so I could ice my knee after tearing my MCL in an AN UNFORTUNATE TUMBLE down the Wolverine run.  Some intermediate routes are best left to the intermediates and advanced skiers. I'm just an advanced novice skier. Live and learn. If I have anything left of my arthritic knees when I'm 65, I will proudly demand my senior discount!

There aren't very many widely accepted milestones left for me to anticipate. This last year, I had a few little items checked off of my bucket list.My retirement was a biggy. I had my first pedicure.  I hiked the Navajo Loop at Bryce Canyon. I had my first and only two hour massage.

So as this 53rd birthday approaches, I will have to make some milestones of my own. This year I have some goals, which at my age, are kind of like milestones. Perhaps they're more like touchstones. A touchstone is something that is used to judge the quality of other things. I will see the Grand Canyon.  I hope to see the New England states, especially Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts. There are so many little states all scrunched up in the northeast section of the map, but those three have been calling my name. Going to Virginia this year to reconnect with my family and childhood friends would be good for my soul. I plan to submit my writing for publication this year. I want to go on a cruise, my first ever.

Since there aren't many more milestones about which to dream, I will gather touchstones. A touchstone will remind me I am alive and living well. These experiences will assure me of living life to its fullest every day I am given the privilege to live. I will seek the ones that bring me happiness and joy, so that I can be assured of living a life of quality.


  1. Oh, Denise ... this entry is SUPERB! Life is a journey, and what a joy it is! I think the over 40 things to look forward to are the BEST YET ... figuring out why we are on the planet, and life is so much more than money in the bank. I especially was happy to see Massachusetts on your list. Check out flights to Boston and we'll do Maine and Vermont together! With our cameras!! Someday?

    1. YES! I might even do a road trip so I can take my time, and drive along the "eastern seaboard." Love that term. YES! Meeting you has solidified my commitment to that goal set long ago.


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