70th birthday

counting down sixteen weeks to seventy

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Sitting here at my computer, my little fingers are really having a hard time getting started with this post. It’s not my usual post. I mean when I talk about food, post a new recipe and write something about it, my fingers fly on the keyboard. Not hard to get started or find words. When I describe adventures I’ve taken, places I’ve visited, experiences I’ve had in new countries through travel in the good ol’ USA or around the globe, again, no problem with making my thoughts, firing in my brain, come through my fingers and hammer out on the keyboard.

This Post is Different

But, this post, well, I’m having a hard time because I don’t know how to begin. I want it to come out the right way as you read it. Not sound self-righteous, self-effacing, self-indulgent, self-proclaiming or any other kinda ‘selfie’ thing. I want it to convey what’s in my heart and mind. I want it to inspire and help you reflect, maybe think of yourself in the present or the you in the future.

And, probably another thing about this post, well, once I write it and you read it, I’m committed to it. That’s the thing about putting it in writing, you’re closer to getting something to happen. It’s like a dream becomes more of reality. And, then when you take it a step further and share it with someone, you’re more committed. But, think about this, when you share it with your thousands of folks who follow you on social media and this website, ok, then the die’s been cast. So, here I go, let’s just put what I’m thinking about on the table.

Birthdays

Yes, I’m writing about birthdays.  See birthdays have never been a big deal to me. I reckon growing up in West Virginia with a single Mom who had four mouths to feed planning some kind of ‘birthday’ just wasn’t a priority. Heck, Mom was lucky to have enough wind in her sails to do everything that a single parent struggles to do including getting an education herself.

70th birthday
Freshman Queen Marshall University. I’m 17.

I’m not talking about each year’s birthday, but birthday milestones. In fact, I had to Google ‘birthday milestones’ and read more to be able to better understand what this meant. One thing was that after the age of 60, you usually start celebrating every 5 years as ‘milestones’ rather than every 10 years prior to 60. Hummmm, news to me!

Birthday Milestones

My ‘sweet 16′, a birthday milestone, brought no hooplah. It was just an other birthday growing up in those coal field mountains. There was nothing life changing for me when I turned 21, yet another “birthday milestone”. I was married and working my buns off with juggling two paying jobs, teaching school and slinging hash at night as a waitress, and also working towards a doctorate degree.

Then when I turned 30, I had that doctorate degree, two children and with another on the way. I’d lost a son between my second and third pregnancies. It was painfully difficult, but I stayed focused because there was a lot on my plate. Starting a private practice in my late 30s meant that I became an entrepreneur responsible for everything as a small business owner. I simply flew by the seat of my pants!

At 40, I was bustin’ my chops trying to help work to make ends meet and raising children who by that time, all boys, were a handful. Good boys, but boys are a different breed than raising girls. I’d see that during those formative years with my girlfriends who had little girls.

70th birthday
Yes, the big hair and shoulder pads of the 80s!

Then at 50, the boys were gone, all fortunately going to college. Yes, it was the decade of being an empty nester with my husband, Ben. It was the decade of pulling together who I was now going to be during this decade. And, being gratefully thankful, my business venture flourished with these educational private services being embraced by the community.

70th birthday
Pinning on son, Andrew’s, bars. Graduating from West Point.
The 60s

What  you’ll read is just a reflection in a tight condensed version of the past ten years in my sixties. Just a cliff note review. Nothing else. Nothing more.  Most of what’s happened has been totally unexpected. There was no business plan, no goal setting. There was simply a desire to be happy and share my God given gifts of life with others.

When I turned 60, a designated milestone year, there was some fanfare for it being a ‘big’ birthday.  Ben totally did a 360 and splurged on me with a beautiful watch and some pearls!  Yes, he took me to the Chanel store in Boston where we were living. I was in shock. He was so sweet saying, “You only turn 60 once, choose what you want.” I suppose that is a big birthday. Not quite in the style of Mick Jagger who certainly showed that turning 60 didn’t slow him down. As the website Confetti shared, “Playing to a crowd of 80,000 fans was part of famous granddad Mick Jagger’s 60th birthday celebration. Proof, if any were needed, that you’re never too old to rock ‘n’ roll.”

70th birthday
Clash of the Grandmas Food Network Show Age 66

And, that’s what I love about those last words, hey, you’re never ‘too old’ for a lot of things. The only thing that can hold us back are those preconceived notions about being a certain age!

Moving to Boston meant leaving our comfortable southern home on the water where we’d lived for 20 odd years, to a small apartment on Beacon Hill in Boston. Ben and I were on this three-year amazing adventure with his new job. I’d always wanted to ‘live in the city’ and I jumped at the opportunity. Maybe some women would have done otherwise at 59, but I saw this as a challenge to my spirit and soul. I had no idea what to expect. Little did I know what lay ahead were months of abject sadness that bordered on depression to exalted exhilaration. All of this was because I’d left my snuggly warm predictable cocoon, yes,majorly stepped out of my comfort zone.

70th birthday
My three sons. Rare to get a picture with all three!

By this time, Ben was in his late 60s, and our ‘golden’ years were still blazing strong with professional work. There was no slowing us down. I had to find my way on this new venture because the very last thing Ben needed was a bellyaching miserable wife. Muscling through things is something I learned from Mom. There were no pity parties only figuring out ways to make something work as she always did. I also knew that Ben had a plate full working at the intense job he’d taken. And, who wants to come home after 12-14 hours and see a whiner?

Instead of doing what I’d done all my life in SC, I decided to take the road less traveled. Muscle it out like Mom and figure out to make this work. I was not going to throw in the towel and head South. So, without further adieu, I signed up for acting lessons and decided to pursue stage work and other artistic performances. I’d done some stage work at our local community theater and loved it. Therefore, on this 60th birthday, a new journey began.

Reviewing the 60s Era

My 60s. I’ve always said that I’m a ‘child of the 1960s’ (and 1970s) now in my 60s.’

70th birthday
A Child of the 1960s and 1970s.

And, this decade was a jam-packed. Writing and reviewing this decade is kind of like a journal for me and something that I can leave as a sweet legacy to my children and grandchildren.

All three sons got married. Our family kept growing. During my 60s, we had four new grandchildren that came from my three boys. I mean we already had four grandchildren with Ben’s two girls  (and I was technically a ‘Grandma’ in my late 40s and 50s), and by now they were in their late teens and 20s. During my 60s, I totally reinvented myself from Dr. Alice, school psychologist and educational therapist with a thriving educational practice, to ‘Ally’ the foodie. It all started in Boston during those three years, and I continued this venture when we returned to South Carolina.

Highlighting the 60s Decade

This was a decade defined by so many new experiences as a result of pursuing my passion for food, which I’d loved since I was knee high to a grasshopper growing up in the coalfields of West Virginia. I began entering and winning cooking contests. I was cast on food shows like Food Network’s “Clash of the Grandmas”, Hallmark Channel’s ‘Home and Family TV’, the ‘World Food Championships’ TV show. New opportunities began coming my way. I’d become the brand ambassador for Dole Packaged Foods and True Aussie Beef and Lamb. The incredible people I’ve come to love in these two companies is a treasure. Trips to the Rose Parade, cooking demos at ‘Live on Green’ in Pasadena, an exciting journey to Australia as a member of the Australian Meat and Livestock Association’s delegation. Then came the cool Grandma thing!  I’d be ‘crowned’ GE Appliances ‘Great American Grandma‘, the new face of GE appliances! And, how about being on Robin Meade and HLN’s Pop News, yes, you can catch the ‘mention’!

70th birthday
GE Appliances Great American Grandma

Social media became a mainstay in my world. Jumping into Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and launching a ‘brand’. Honestly, I had no idea what I was doing. It was like a wild west frontier and I had to navigate it and learn how to make magic with it. Ally’s Kitchen and my boho living, took off racing. I had to learn so many new skills to continue this journey as it gained momentum, the back end of a website, food photography and more. All of these skills were self-taught like my cooking. Yes, I was spending hours and hours in my pursuit of this passion. The Internet and social media were my vehicles to connect with folks around the world and to share joy and add sparkle to others’ lives. I was going to take advantage of it.

70th birthday
I’m 69 in this picture. Sixteen weeks before my 70th!
More Unexpected Happenings

Other crazy achievements and opportunities start to sprout. It was like I was just getting my stride in my 60s. A cookbook (Ally’s Kitchen: A Passport for Adventurous Palates). My own magazine debuted, ‘Ally’s Boho Living‘. One of my many recipes graced the cover of Food Network Magazine, the first-time ever a reader’s recipe was placed on the cover. A featured spread on my recipes for Easter in ‘Taste of Home’ magazine.  My Dole Packaged Foods partnership started taking me to the iconic Rose Parade where I did cooking demos at ‘Live on Green’. And, on one of my 60s birthdays, I got this crazy fun birthday greeting from Lestheto Africa!

The decade of the 60s brought also fabulous global (out of the continental 48) travel, sometimes these sojourns lasted as long as a month each. Israel. Morocco. Italy. China. Australia. Canada. Alaska. Singapore. Hong Kong. Caribbean Islands. France. Poland. Croatia. Germany. Belgium.  Annnnnnnnd, my new Medicare card came during my 60s. Forget the 50s and getting invited to be a member of AARP, Medicare opens a whole new threshold in living. And, I was uber surprised and humbly honored when I was selected by the national headquarters of my college sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, as one of the ten women nationally to receive the ‘Real. Strong. Woman. Of Distinction’ award.

And, I can’t overlook some of the milestone physical achievements of my 60s, like hiking the Grand Canyon from rim to rim and riding 150 miles in two days to raise money for MS research.

70th birthday
About 62, raising money for MS. Biking 150 miles in two days. A highlight of my life.
About to Begin the 70s

Now I’m soon staring at another milestone birthday, my 70th. It really sounds kinda ‘old’ in terms of years to me. But, I can assure you as I share with you this momentous upcoming birthday and my deepest feelings, thoughts and emotions, I don’t feel like I’m almost 70. I mean in the last decade century, you recall that 20th century, most of the family and friends that I knew who were ’70’ were really old. Maybe it was that I was young and completely out of tune, but not only did so many of these folks look old, but they acted old, which, to me, makes you ‘look’ more tired and old. I mean if you’re old but have the spark still in you, that dazzle in your eyes, lilt in your step and joy in your heart, it oozes out. For me, I don’t think you look ‘old’.

Many of these people I recall in their 60s plus seemed to have witnessed a loss of zest, playfulness, a joie de vivre for life. Oh, save one dear person. I did have one Auntie, we called her Lily Belle, and she broke the mold on youthfulness well in to her 90s. Despite her white hair, wrinkles and small wiry body that had lived nearly nine decades, she was a fashion diva (her granddaughter would raid her closet as a teen!), full of spunk and always was the person full of passion and happiness.

70th birthday
Auntie Lily Belle in blue and Mom in pink. Two girls chattering away!
Misconceptions of the 70s

If you think that seventy years old is “over the hill” well, think again. As I said, I feel like I just grasped my stride in my 60s and this momentum is only gaining as it’s done for others who are role models.

I mean think about it, at the young age of 70, Ben Franklin was helping craft a new country as he assisted in drafting the U.S. Constitution. Nelson Mandela became President of South Africa at 75. And, what about Helen Hayes. She won her second Oscar at the age of 70. Israel’s Prime Minister Golda Meir was sworn in at 70.  In 1945, the iconic crusty 70-year-old Winston Churchill steered the United Kingdom to victory in World War II.

Grandma Moses started painting at 76. And, her works are now in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. Betcha didn’t know that John Glenn went into space at the age of 77. Roger Roget (ever heard of him?) invented the Thesaurs at 73. Jessica Tandy of ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ movie fame, won his first Oscar for that performance at the age of 80. And, Christopher Plummer won his first Oscar at 82 for Best Supporting Actor award for his work opposite Ewan McGregor in the film “Beginners”. 

And, if you think these are only ‘famous’ people or that these things are only reserved for ‘others’, then think again. Take a look at these remarkable people that you’ve probably never heard of who made up their mind that they weren’t ‘old’! And, hey, I just started my practice of yoga at the age of 60!

70th birthday
Addicted to the practice of yoga.

Words of Wisdom

Age cannot stop you from flourishing unless you want it to. No truer words from Mission.org! And, as the author of this article,  in continues to write:

  • If you have a magnificent obsession, go for it. Do it for your side hustle. Do it for your spare time.
  • Whatever it is, if it lights you up, do it. If it empowers you, act on it. If it makes you sane, pursue it.
  • At the end of all the outside forces right now, you will be happy you started at some point.
  • Your magnificent obsession will serve you well. Only if you will give it chance to prosper.

I’m truly looking forward to blazing the trail of my 70s decade.

I plan to celebrate the entire month of October! No, I retract that statement, I’m starting right now!

Another first thing that will happen is that I’ll start drawing my Social Security. WhoooHoooooo!  Yep, I’ve put into SS for over 50 years, and now it’s time to reap some of those benefits.  As this EHow article points out, “Waiting until the age of 70 maximizes benefits with payouts equal to 132 percent of the full-retirement-age payout entitlement.” Yayyyyyyyyy! Glad I waited. Kinda like playing roulette whether to take earlier!

The Sixteen Week Countdown

So right now as I talk with you, there’s about sixteen weeks until my big seven decades on this earth bash. (I’m really not planning a bash. For me, just clinking a toast with a good bottle of wine with family and friends is a bash!) But, there is something that I’m going to be doing as each week towards 70 ticks off.  Here’s what I’ve decided to do and share with you. I want this to, hopefully, be about ‘us’, not just me. We gain strength and inspiration from others and in numbers. I want YOU to chime in. I want your input. I want your ideas.

Part of getting old(er) can sometimes mean ‘getting stuck in our old ways’. While some old school and traditional things are certainly good, a lot of times, we have to be flexible, resilient and move to the new way of doing things, understanding things, accepting things, in order to stay young, in mind, body, soul and at heart. That’s really hard to do because we like our predictability. But, I know that unless I embrace this belief, I’ll be missing out on a lot of cool things to come in my 70s.

70th birthday

 

sixteen weeks to seventy goal

My goal is to do one thing out of the ordinary hopefully (and, that’s a big operative word) each week for the next sixteen weeks. When I say ‘out of the ordinary’, it’s something that I’m gonna challenge myself to do. It might be something really big, like this week I rode my bike 30 miles and hiked seven miles, or it can be something super small, but momentous, like eating an anchovy! (Not a fan!)

I’m going to share these things with you, so if you want to stay in the loop, be sure to sign up to get my posts and newsletters! And, if you’re turning one of these ‘milestone’ birthdays, by all means, let me know some of what you’re doing to honor it!

So, there you have it. After all this discourse, that’s what I’ve decided to do. Each week I’ll do a pithy post and the title will be the same with only once change. The week number. And, the first one is THIS WEEK!

TITLE: counting down sixteen weeks to seventy: week 1

Final Thoughts

I think there’s something about this 70th decade that has hit me square in the face. It’s like looking into the eyes of the tiger. Not, for one second, that I think that whatever I want to do (well, within reason, I ain’t gonna be hiking Mt. Everest!) will be compromised or curbed due to age. I suppose it’s the fact that I’m hitting head on the final about 30 years of my ‘runway’ of life. Yes, these will be the latter decades (sorry, I don’t mean to sound morose or sniffy, just a reality), and I’ll be lucky to hit that octogenarian 100 marker. Here’s the reality of my problem. I don’t think that I have adequate time to accomplish and do evvverrreeething I want to do! Yikes, dear Jeeeebeeezeeee, give me more time beyond 100 and let them be halfway vibrant!

I can unequivocally say that I’m looking forward to my 70s (do I really have any other choice? lol!). Women of our age are the new gladiators of forging unforeseen quests in record numbers. What an amazing tribe to inspire us along the way and the women (and men) who come decades after us. To all my groovy, cool, hip, jazzy tribe out there, regardless of age, keep being your amazing selves. Knock down walls when you see them and let others know that the best is yet to come. Instead of looking forward to being 21, embrace with zeal the idea of looking forward to 60 and 70 knowing that these can be your hippest decades!

If my 70s are half as robust as my 60s, then we’re all in for one helluva magic carpet ride. As long as I have good health {am not blindsided by some rogue health issue}, keep eating healthy, stay active, continue to know that my mission in life is in service of others, be inclusive and included, cement as much positivism as I can, and realize that who I am and what my life becomes is divinely orchestrated. then I’m pretty sure that the best is yet to come. (Whew! That was a mouthful!) And, that all will be good.

70th birthday
Major hike summer of 2018 in Colorado.

No one says it better than Mark Twain as noted in this EHow article:

At his 70th birthday celebration, Mark Twain, who oozed wisdom, summed up the significance of the occasion saying:

“The seventieth birthday. It is the time of life when you arrive at a new and awful dignity; when you may throw aside the decent reserves which have oppressed you for a generation and stand unafraid and unabashed upon your seven-terraced summit and look down and teach–unrebuked.”

Thanks, Mr. Twain, I couldn’t say it better! xoxo

Me at almost 70. Me at about 16. And, I still have the bangs! xoxo ~ally

70th birthday

70th birthday

 

37 Comments

  1. Barbara Brookhart

    You aré a great story teller. I loved reading this. You aré a life changer and a great motivator. Thank you for sharing your life with us. Love you!

    • Barbara…you’re way to generous w/your compliments, but I’ll take them, and thank you!! For me, part of why God put me here on this good Earth, I think, is to share and hopefully lift. And, I enjoy writing very much. Thanks for taking time to read…that makes it all worth while, my dear friend! xoxo Love you too!!

  2. Jane Clower

    Alice, what a beautiful summation of a life well lived. Each day I email to those who have requested it a compilation of devotional messages and am always in awe as to how pertinent they are to the day and individuals. In today’s messages and from a book entitled A Thousand Paths to Personal Power by Robert Allen in a section regarding Character the life you are living was summed up these statements:
    If we live good lives,
    the times are also good.
    As we are,
    such are the times.
    St. Augustine
    ********************
    When life gives you lemons,
    make lemonade.
    ********************
    Study and
    grow,
    study and
    grow!
    The ability to do this is what makes us truly human.
    ********************
    Be thine own palace or the world’s thy jail.
    John Donne
    ********************
    The more you do,
    the more you find you can do.
    The less you do,
    the harder it gets to do anything.

    Thanks for sharing the opportunities you have grabbed and how they are thrusting you forward to keep living until you die. You are an inspiration.

    • My dear Jane…I’m so inspired by your beautiful comments and the statements you’ve shared regarding your ‘character’ of life. Reading these I think of my crusty, full of piss n’ vinegar, hardworking Mom…she used little quotes like this all the time as we were growing up. Things like ‘bloom where you’re planted’…kinda like if life gives you lemons. All of these are so true, and for me, they are cornerstones of living and life. I know your devotional messages send strong support and hope. I receive daily in my email Rick Warren’s daily devotionals. I would love to subscribe to yours, too. You can never have too much positive words and pithy lines to read every day and steer your life. Please let me know how I sign up for your devotionals! And, thank you, for taking time to visit, read the post and leave your loving message. xoxo ~ally

  3. Kathie Albright

    I enjoyed reading your post and envy your accomplishments in life. Keep up the great work .

    • Hi, Kathie…thanks so much for talking the time to read…I suppose the big thing I wanted to convey is that our latter years, 50+ can be our most productive! xo ~ally

  4. Linda Heatherman

    Alice, what a wonderfully written story! All I can add is that I will be 71 in 16 days and I can honestly say that the past year, even with the sadness of my mother’s death, has been one of the best years of my life. I’m looking forward to good health. loving my family and friends, traveling and going forward in this decade like never before. Love to you and may your first year of your seventh decade be your best. 🤗

    • Oh, dearest, Linda! You’ve always been a go-getter and trend setter! Your pottery and now your MK work, all in your 60s and 70s! Yes, our seventh decade is going to be good, BUT our eighth and ninth will be stellar, my sweet friend! Love you and am so very proud of all your panache! xoxo

  5. Karen Brady

    Alice, You never cease to amaze me. I have witnessed many of your adventures beginning at Marshall and enjoyed the ride. You are always positive, inspiring, and hold the jar half full. A good friend last year reminded me never to cry because it’s over, be happy it happened. That is now my creed by which to live in my 70s. So many more adventures!!! Love you

    • Oh, Karen! What a great mantra! I love it…’don’t cry b/c it’s over, be happy b/c it happened.’ So true and certainly seeing the right side of the page. Yes, we’ve been besties for decades watching each others’ trials and tribulations, and it makes me so giddy happy to see how exuberant you and Pat are and how you continue to embrace your energetic lifestyle. Hey, girl, YOU are the trendsetter. Love you too! xoxo

  6. Karen Brady

    Alice, You never cease to amaze me. I have witnessed many of your adventures beginning at Marshall and enjoyed the ride. You are always positive, inspiring, and hold the jar half full. A good friend last year reminded me never to cry because it’s over, be happy it happened. That is now my creed by which to live in my 70s. So many more adventures!!! Love you

  7. Ally YOU are a beautiful inspiration! I fully agree and shout amen that dreams have no expiration date!!! I’m celebrating with you – xoxo

    • Stacey!! I can feel your love and warm wishes, really!! Thank YOU! You’re the kinda gal who will always have bold dreams and keep creating and inspiring well into YOUR golden years. I really never thought about it until now as I approach that big 7-0. Just something about this decade. Sending love xoxo ~ally

  8. Arlene Aiello

    What a great and inspiring article Ally! Your whole life has been amazing, and since I am in my 60’s the parts that resonate the most with me start there. I salute you for taking your life and making it fabulous ……….and sharing it with us. You are an inspiration and a warrior, and certainly do not look like you will be 70! I don’t know you personally but you certainly seem like someone I would pick for a friend because I see your beauty, inside and out. Keep on livin’ that fabulous life and taking us along on the magic carpet ride……

    • Arlene…your sweet words truly bring tears to my eyes. You know, life is just so amazing, and just b/c we hit certain ages doesn’t mean we still don’t keep that childlike awe of what we can accomplish, experience and dream. You are a Gladiator…keep being the strong and beautiful role model you are. We are changing the fabric of America’s ‘oldER’ generation! xoxo ~ally

  9. Anita Prince Browning

    Alice, that was a very nice and interesting read I learned a lit of things about you I never knew. For instance, I did not realize you had your doctorate. Girl, have you slowed down for a minute in this life. I’m very happy for your success, seems like you have worked hard for it, but at the same time enjoying yourself. My advice to you is to keep your sparkling and bubbly personality with anything you do. It’s what makes you so interesting and so much fun to keep up with. And honey, 70 is just a number. Enjoy your life to the fullest. I think it’s what the good Lord wants for us all. I think you still have loads to accomplish, so get to it girl! But above all, enjoy yourself in whatever you do.

    • Oh, Anita!! Thank you so much for this inspirational comment. I feel your passion when you say that 70 is just a big stinkin’ number, and THAT IT IS!! I suppose every other birthday, I didn’t really think, hey, this is the last portion of life’s runway you’re one. I do know, but we’re going to go out w/blazing saddles, girl!! xoxo

  10. I knew it was coming. In fact, knowing you are a scorpion, I remembered when we met, swapped a few particulars, one of them being our age. And then it hit me, while swimming lap after lap, my girl is turning 7….. WTF!!!! 😮 Every decade is humbling, until we are half way through that year and realize… oh hell, I got this! So girl… YOU TOTALLY GOT THIS! Now… can we move passed this and go on to give Grace and Frankie competition!!! Xoxo

    • Miss Pea!! So eloquently said, THANK YOU!! Yes, I think there’s something about this 70th decade that has hit me square in the face. Not that I think that whatever I want to do is curbed. I suppose it’s the fact that I’m staring head on the final about 30 years of the ‘runway’ of life. And, I don’t know if I have time to accomplish and do evvverrreeething I want to do! Yikes, dear Jeeezus, give me more time! lol! G and F have nothing on us. We’re blazing real world gladiators! xoxo

  11. Bravo!

  12. Joe Gollie

    Very good outlook on life Alice. I hope all continues to be great for you. You have always been a go-geter and full of spunk since our grade school years.

    • Ohhhhh, my dear lifetime friend, Joe! Yes, we have been fortunate to both made it to this stage and age in relatively one piece. No one’s had a more demanding and interesting life than you. And, I respect all you have done. Yes, our outlook on life shapes so much of how we execute it. And, you’re doing precisely the same. Thank you, my friend! xoxo

  13. Sarah Burgess Wolfe

    You inspire me Alice. I have a tendency to”get stuck” in life. You are always changing, creating and moving forward. Mother was always like that into her 90’s. I have to try harder to change. I don’t like change but I do realize it is necessary . Thank you for sharing and just being you. Love you hometown girl!

    • My dear sweet, Sarah…yes, your amazing Mama was a trendsetter and vibrant into her 90s. You had such a fabulous role model. Getting stuck in predictability is certainly one way to compromise vibrancy as we age. Do little things every day that ‘scare or challenge’ you. Keep doing your yoga. Start riding your bike. Put up an easel and paint. Oh, so many things to challenge ourselves, even if we stink at it (which I do at soooooooooo many things!!). I think there’s something about this 70th decade that has hit me square in the face, Sarah. Not that I think that whatever I want to do is curbed or compromised. I suppose it’s the fact that I’m staring into the eye of the tiger and head on the final about 30 years of my ‘runway’ of life. And, I don’t know if I have time to accomplish and do evvverrreeething I want to do! Yikes, dear Jeeezus, give me more time! Love you, too, my dear Sarah.

  14. AJ Johannes

    You have not changed since you were 16!

  15. Jennifer Dantoni

    Ally…what about a skydiving trip? Go to vegas and race cars!

    If you go to vegas, hit me up, I’d love to see that…

    J. Dantoni

    • OMG, I DID win the Rotary Club driving contest when I was 16! You should have seen me curving and dodging those bright orange cones! Skydiving…hummmm…maybe! I just might race something in Vegas, and if I do, you bet your bottom dollar, I’ll see YOU! xoxo

  16. Barbara Bolling

    Interesting and inspiring! I love your joie de vivre, Ally! Looking forward to reading about your new adventures. 💜

    • My sweet Barbara…thank you…yes, our joie de vivre is like a magic elixir for life and especially as we move into those ‘oldER’ stages. It gives us flexibility and resiliency which makes us think we can still conquer the world! I just know that you’ll be that gladiator w/me! xo

  17. Mara McClain

    I’ve been saying since I me5 you that I wanted to be Alice when I grew up. Happy early birthday,

    • Mara!!! Thank you, sweetness! Oh, what precious memories we have over the years (OMG, the kids, no young adults, are remarkable and beautiful!). You ARE a female gladiator at heart. You’re living it. Never extinguish that zest for life! xo

  18. Oh I’m teary and inspired and so grateful for you my friend! I only recently found my footing, my purpose, after raising my girls and moving around the country a bazillion times. I thought I was late to the party once again, but you my friend broke the glass ceiling of age in this industry and make it look cool and hip and fun! I admire you so much and I can only hope to be as successful and vibrant and gracious as you are. Thank you Ally for sharing your story! xoxo Karista

    • Karista! YOU, my dear, are only on the cusp of what amazing things there are out there. The hard work and lifting is done. You’ve raised your amazing girls. Now it’s YOU and growing all the intrinsic God-given talents you have! Keep being your cool, hip, jazzy self. Knock down walls when you see them and let others know that the best is yet to come. Instead of looking forward to being 21, we’re forging the idea of looking forward to 60 and 70 is the hippest! xox

  19. Now that was outstanding! I just love your philosophy on “life” and age! I always did say “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “Wow what a ride!” Quote by
    Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967

    • Mary Mary!! Amen Amen!! YES, we will be sliding into home base proclaiming LIFE WELL LIVED!! YOU are a perfect example! Love you girl! xo

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