This week, I turn 80! This milestone has been a long time coming, but the pace has seemed to quicken in recent years. Change has been a part of that. Out with the hair dye. What color would it be? My natural hair color is pretty silver. Who knew! I noticed more people were opening the door for me and treating me differently, perhaps with a little more respect, if that is the term you use when someone calls you “Sweetie.” I was having fun as I watched for little differences.
The world has changed, and I have changed with it. My skin has developed, what shall I say, a little more texture, and the makeup I used to apply out of vanity I now apply out of necessity. My center of gravity has certainly shifted towards the equator.
When I turned 70, John and I visited our four children’s homes and celebrated in the finest restaurants we could find. At 78, I began planning in my mind a wonderful 80th birthday celebration, the guest list, the gifts I would give to others, the special venue I would treat them to. I still remember my 50th birthday surprise party fondly at Legend’s Restaurant in Norman. Perhaps some of the same guests would attend my 80th and family, and new and old friends. I had such big ideas and high hopes. My excitement built into great expectations. On my 79th birthday, the countdown to the big event began, but then came the spoiler. One month into my final year, we began to hear about this thing called Covid-19. My hopes, my dreams, my plans were set aside. I had a new goal and a new purpose. I just wanted to live until I was 80. The guest lists and venues were set aside.
So John and I isolated this whole year carefully. We have not eaten out in eleven months. We have only picked up takeout food twice. We will navigate this inconvenience. We will follow the rules and the protocols and do it right. On January 6th, the vaccine was finally here, and we received our first round of vaccination. Then on January 12th, I began to feel ill with fever, chills, and congestion. A reaction to the vaccine, I reasoned. On January 14th, I tested positive for covid. I began to feel my 80th birthday celebration might be a bridge too far. The next day, John tested negative. Figure that out! We had spent a year avoiding the world, and now we must avoid each other. I began to appreciate the true meaning of isolation. There is a Norwegian saying, “It usually ends well.” So far, that is the case for us. My symptoms have resolved. Ironically, after John testing negative, he has been sick with what we trust, and hope is a bad cold or the flu. He, too, is feeling better.
I am just thankful for each day when it comes. I try to enjoy every day without expectations and to flow with each situation.” The Psalm says we can expect three scores plus ten years, and with strength, fourscore. So I believe anything above 70 is just gravy. My 70’s have been wonderful, and I expect my 80’s to be equally fabulous! Even without the big party. I try to remember Life is good in all it offers and think about all of the gifts I have received in the most unexpected places.
LESSON: Every second is priceless; seconds turn into hours, hours turn into days. We have opportunities to tell people we love them and to send love to those who are absent. Love is the answer, but now is the time for healing if covid teaches us nothing else. Now is the time for forgiveness. Now is the time to tell someone we love them. We do not know what tomorrow may bring, and tomorrow may be too late.
GIFTS: I have had my first vaccination. I have the coronavirus-19, the worst part of which is hopefully behind me. I look forward to a second vaccination. Double immunity looks pretty good right now.
Perhaps soon in the months to come, we will see all of our children and grandchildren for an 80th birthday celebration, to get dressed up to find a newly opened restaurant, and failing that, we can celebrate at home with a self-cooked meal surrounded by the ones we love, making the memory of my best birthday ever!
I am sending love to you each one of you with prayers for your health and well being. !