November 2, 2017

Reflections on Turning 70!

By Mary Schricker Gemberling

My husband Gary always says that if a birthday ends in a 5 or 0 it is a significant one. As I approach the celebration of my seventh decade of life, or ‘the 40th anniversary of my 30th birthday,’ I most definitely feel it is a considerable milestone. But not necessarily one that I lament! I still happily celebrate every single birthday I can have, for I know many people who have not been so lucky. I have always preferred to live in the todays and tomorrows, but reflection on the past can be therapeutic.

If I were Marty McFly and could travel back in time, what changes might I make? As I look at both the blessings and adversities in my life and think about doing things
differently, I realize that changing any major decision in my past might alter the outcomes of today, and that I would not be willing to risk. My career as an educator was a rewarding one, and subsequently my years as a realtor were exciting and equally challenging. I have two sons of which I am very proud. They are good men of faith who have brought to our family daughter-in-laws and grandchildren who enrich our lives every day. About six years ago I married a remarkable man who is in every way my soulmate. The bonus is additional children and grandchildren bringing the total around our Christmas dinner table to 21; a blessing beyond words!

I have been fortunate to have many friends in my lifetime. There are those who I knew throughout my school years from kindergarten through college. Many from my adult years were neighbors or co-workers and those with which I shared my faith. But each and every one of them brought something to my life that I wouldn’t have otherwise experienced. If I had taken any other ‘road less traveled by,’ who knows if I would have been so lucky? One of my favorite writers C.S. Lewis said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You Too? I thought I was the only one.” Whether stated or implied, it is so true that friends are often a mirror of our own souls; that person we can confide in, laugh with, and help us weather the ups and downs of life.

Without a doubt, being resolute with my decisions of the past certainly contributes to my present day contentment. Although I have a few bucket list places yet to visit, I cannot say there are too many things I still feel a need to accomplish. The older I get, the more I realize I don’t want to be around drama, conflict or stress. I will not be defined by the vestiges of negativity whether it be politics, religion, or social
consciousness. I want a comfortable home, good food, and even better wine. I want the luxury of time to do as I please when I please and where I please. I want to garden more, read more, write more, learn more and laugh more. But most of all I want to be a positive presence in the lives of my grandchildren.

So what is “old” exactly? They say 50 is the new 30, 60 is the new 40; and 70 is the new 50! So then 90 must be the new “old”? I prefer Mark Twain’s definition: “Age is an issue of mind over matter; if you don’t mind it doesn’t matter.” In twenty years when I am writing this article upon the eve of my 90th birthday, I might admit to being old!

Mary, a former educator and Seniors Real Estate Specialist, is the author of three books; The West End Kid, Labor of Love; My Personal Journey through the World of Caregiving, and Hotel Blackhawk; A Century of Elegance.

Filed Under: Family, Personal Growth