home alone on my birthday

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time to think on my birthdayThis morning I awoke, yes, home alone on my birthday, and found myself one year older—63—it sounds so eerie to me! It’s kind of a strange birthday, too, because I’m home alone. Ben’s spending time with his Mama who’s not doing well, all the kids are scattered about with their lives, the three grandkids in college are probably still sleeping after a big Saturday night and Halloween parties, and family and friends are up and about getting their Sunday morning, October 28th going. The weather’s changed to chilly here in the South, which reminds me of birthdays growing up in those majestic West Virginia mountains in Southern Appalachia.

I always get excited about my birthday, which I now celebrate for the entire month of October—and when I say ‘celebrate’ I mean I indulge myself in little things throughout the month like—coffee weekly, sometimes several times, from DD, an extra pedicure and manicure, buying magazines at the checkout, trying new wines from World Market, and, yes, picking up a new glittery bobby pin for my hair among other things.

So, as I was lying in bed with just my kitty, Callie, I thought ‘what am I supposed to feel like being 63?’  I mean am I supposed to feel something that tells me I’m ‘old’ or ‘older’?  Because if that’s the case, it ain’t happening.  I did a mental scan of my body—no aches, no pains, well, maybe a nudge in my lower back, but that can be stretched out, no grey hair thanks to L’Oreal and a great stylist, 20/20 vision thanks to a great ophthalmologist and the miracle of cataract surgery and implants, not many ‘age’ spots thanks to wearing sun block for the past 40 years and limiting my time in theTime to Think on my Birthday sun, not that many face wrinkles thanks to among other things like good eating not ever smoking, Time to Think on my Birthdaystopping the sunbathing, no sunbaking, in my mid 20s, the wonder of new laser treatments among other things, a healthy and pretty much toned body thanks to moderation in eating, staying active whether it’s climbing steps rather than an elevator or escalator, parking a distance from the entrance to a place, so I can get some extra steps in, riding my bike, hiking, and just incidental life exercise like cleaning my house, folding laundry, scrubbing toilets, sweeping, carrying in groceries…you know what I mean…it adds up daily, have all my original teeth, well, minus the front one I lost in 5th grade playing chase at recess and running into a chain link fence as I was laughing, thanks to flossing and my Sonic toothbrush, good dental care, and good eats.

Then I thought, yep that marketing ploy about age and 63 being the new 43 (just subtract 20 from whatever age you are, and that’s the selling point), but then I paused and said to myself, no, can it be the new 33?  Because I truly feel no different in my mind, soul, spirit and body than I did in my 30s.  At this point, I got up and decided to take off my rose-colored glasses, get down to the nitty gritty and look at this 63 year old woman.

Time to Think on my BirthdayI promptly went to a full length mirror with good natural lighting coming through the windows.  I stood tall, mountain pose yogi, and looked at myself.  My eyes looked a little tired, maybe I needed my first cup of coffee, maybe it was from the only 4 hours of sleep, the excitement of awaiting my birthday and I couldn’t get to sleep. The first thing I noticed, my upper arms.  Despite all the work with yoga and resistance training and upper body workouts, there’s evidence there of gravity taking its toll.  Not really noticeable drastically, but still some creeping crepe of the skin underarms, chest and thighs coming on—yep, sagging skin, the pits is all I can say, that starts as menopause sets in.  And, women everywhere at this stage of their life know what I’m talking about.  Then I breathed deeply, pulled back my shoulders, elongated my spine, grabbed a pencil, backed up to the wall, made a mark.  I measured.  I’m 5’4 1/2 ” not 5’ 5 1/2 ” like I was 30 years ago—another sign of getting older—you start to shrink.  Another pit of aging—the Benjamin Button syndrome.

I felt my chin, yep, the dreaded little whiskers—every few days you pluck them out using a 15x magnifying mirror and splinter tweezers—a constant reminder of getting old.  Every now and then there’s a bristly white one—would I be like the bearded woman in the circus if ITime to Think on my Birthday didn’t pluck?  Then I looked at my eyebrows—the dreaded The Sign of Hertoghe or Queen Anne’s sign—those with a unibrow in young age, be thankful, it will thin out with age.   There’s no denying I said to myself—a contrast from my 30s when the eyebrows were full, dark and had a natural arc that never needed plucking.    I ran my fingers through my hair, while it’s always been fine, it’s now really fine, as in not as thick fine of my 30s—does that make sense?  Does to me—maybe it will to you, too, when you hit 63.

Jolting me out of this was the ringing of my cell phone and the house phone—the barrage of well wishing Time to Think on my Birthdaycalls began—Matthew, Ben, Alex, Nicholas, Andrew, Jennifer, baby Nicholas, Lynn, Kathryn and my beloved Mama Helen, Ben’s nearly 90 y/o mom who’s laying in the hospital with a broken hip and awaiting surgery, who called and sang to me ‘You Are My Sunshine’—I got tears in my eyes as she sang it to me not once or twice but three times. After hanging up, I thought to myself,  my signs of aging are my badges of honor of a life well-lived, a legacy of wonderful children, grandchildren and family and friends, good and bad choices, a myriad of trying and triumphal experiences, and a seque into a new voyage for a baby boomer who’s journeying soon from the ‘middle age’ bracket to the ‘elderly’—it doesn’t’ seem quite possible—but, it’s a reality—and one thing I definitely know about this reality is that I have the power to re-write my elderly years and write my own ending of what I want to be, feel, look, do, and happen at 64 and beyond.

The power lies right in me—this is the best birthday gift ever, and it comes from God.  My job is to use it.  xox ~~ally 10.28.12




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  2. I have never seen a more beautiful 63 year old. :). Happy Birthday I truly enjoy your blog and recipes. The cheesecake is my favorite!!

  3. Dearest ally,

    A very happy birthday to you.

    In fact you share your birthday with my niece.

    Congrats and god bless.

    • Well, a big happy b’day to your niece, too…good people born on the 28th…thank you for coming to visit, and the door’s always open! xo

  4. Awwww Ally! So much to learn from you! You are amazing!! Happy Birthday!!!! Love ya! Bia

  5. First of all, happy birthday! This was a beautiful post, true, honest and heartwarming… I wish you many years of birthday months, and glittery hairpins in your future!!! Xoxo

  6. Sweet Ally, happy Birthday my friend. You are always such a positive influence on everyone you come in contact with. Your outlook on life and how you live by example truly make you a lady among ladies. Just thinking about you, when you drop into the Bohos with a Hey or post a fantastic recipe, I always find a smile creeping to my face.
    You could look like a hag and you would still be beautiful on the inside. You just have so much beauty bursting from within, it shows on the outside too.

    • Oh, Joannnnnneeee! You have brought a lump in my throat…thank you!!! It’s friends like you that must make my life much more wonderful on a daily basis…like you say our BT, seeing everyone there is like having a virtual kitchen where we all sit, sip coffee or wine, eat chocolate, biscuits, chicken, or whatever anyone has brought to our table…you inspire me, my dear and, for that, I am grateful xox

  7. Hey Ally,
    Your post is Beautiful- as are you, inside and out- and has me choked up.
    So thankful for the wonders of modern day technology that we can all still keep in touch.
    My mother’s BDay was Oct. 23- she is 91. One of her birthday parties is on my FB page. She is amazing!
    I know your day was a happy one- sorry I missed sending you well wishes on your day.

    Love you,
    Maggie (Margaret Humphreys)

    • Oh, Maggie! Just having you here and leaving this heartfelt beautiful message is a huge gift to me!! Your dear Mama, 91…hope I can still be around kicking, laughing and having a FB party, too…thank you so much for sharing your love, laughter and life w/me…that’s a treasure…LU2!

  8. Happy Birthday, Alice! You are an inspiration to all of us. I agree with you. We only have one life to live and I want to enjoy it as much as I can. It’s great that you celebrate the whole month. We are getting older whether we like it or not. I try to set goals every day and enjoy life to its fullest! Thank you for sharing. You have a great talent for writing. I enjoy reading your blog! XOXO Barbara

    • Barbara…I love that you set goals every single day and make the most of the 24 hours you’re given…that’s the same w/me, and we know that the gifts we’re given must be appreciated. I’m so very grateful for your support, since the get go of launching my FB page and website…you’re the best!!! xoxo

  9. HAPPY Birthday, Ally! What a wonderful (and realistic) post about the way you were vs. the way you are, and discovering you’re one and the same (never mind the chin hairs, etc. — they come with the territory, lol!) You’re as upbeat and beautiful today as you were in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, & 50’s… okay, I’ll stop counting. 😉 I understood completely when you said you felt like you’re in your 30’s… Age is affected by attitude — and yours is positively inspiring! Happy Birthday, luscious, lovely, lively Ally. xo!

    • Oh, Kimby! Yes, we are cut from the same bolt of DNA!! I see how you find joy, pleasure and positive musings even in raking leaves, so please know, my dear, that your writings have a definable impact on me…never stop!! xoxo LU!!

  10. Well said, my beautiful and always thoughtful friend! I’ve lost count of the numerous ways you’ve inspired me since our friendship began. I look in the mirror at 41 and have those same thoughts you mention. I certainly don’t feel like I’m in my 40’s and like to think I look at least a few years younger…I’d be happy to just take 36 or 37…that’s not unrealistic, right? 🙂 Oh, and I cracked up at your comment of the 15X magnification mirror. Were you reading my mind?! I just posted on my wall earlier today talking about how scary those were. And I’m so sorry to hear about Ben’s mother. I hope everything goes well and that she is blessed with a great recovery. Once again, Happy Birthday and I hope you’ve had an amazing day! With Much Love, Tonya

    • Tonya! Yes, I saw the 15x mirror, and I cackled thinking, dang, it gets to us all!! As I said to you, you have a young and youthful spirit…it’s nice to still get carded and be able to pass for a teenager even, which you do! Our friendship is one that I, too, have earmarked as very special, and to think, w/o FB living only a short distance apart, we’d probably never have met…what a loss for me! I’ll keep you updated on what you’ll be facing as you enter each new decade of life…things like this used to be hush hush, now we tell it all!! lol!! Hugs and love, Ally

  11. Beautifully written. And, might I say, you look mahvelous, darling. I like to think that we just become better friends with our clothes as we get older. Nobody but the one who really loves us and doesn’t seem to mind the gravitational changes gets to see the “underneath.” In clothes we can still look 30-something! And, yes, every year notched, every bit of giving and nurturing, every hardship overcome is an “earning” of the benefits of being more comfortable, more secure and more “in our own space.” Celebrate yourself–and all the people in your life who love you.

    • Rebecca…thank goodness for the clothes…I’m thinking of inventing something sheer for the arms, so we can still wear sleeveless in our 70s and 80s and not have the full blown crepe!! lol! You’re so right, my friend, about earning our benefits…you know well how much I adore and admire you b/c you’ve given me snippets of happiness each and every day w/your support and love…here’s to more exploring of our space! xox

  12. Make me cry! I want to hug you 🙂 Thank you for giving each one of us a reason to rejoice–for all the good in our lives. It’s your birthday and we get a gift.
    Love you Ally!

  13. You are STILL GORGEOUS! Hang on and live it up! Don’t think about it and continue acting the way you feel inside. This advise comes from a person who is -20 uh 50, yeah that’s the ticket – 50! Enjoy every moment and LIVE. LIVE right up to the hilt! Grab life and don’t let go! LOVE YOU Ally! <3

    • I’m grabbin’ on w/YOU, Mary!!! Get outta here, girl…YOU, my dear, are the amazing role model!! Love you for all you are, do, be, will, can…you get the idea xoxo LU2!!

  14. Happy bday! You are blessed! Great post. I am 62- that’s all

  15. Have a very Happy Birthday. Praying that the storm passes you by.

  16. You are truly an inspiration, someone with a spirit that could make the whole world shine bright! I look forward to meeting you soon, and giving you a big hug! I forget my age all the time, so that truly shows it is just a number. You are only as old as you feel, isn’t that the saying? Sounds like you are younger than me right now, ROCK ON!!!! Happy Birthday Beautiful! Sending love and ((((hugs)))) Terra

    • We’re gonna meet, the old fashioned way, soon….in PERSON!!! Yayyyyyyyyyyyyy!!! Yes, we’re as old as we feel, and sometimes I probably embarrass my boys by acting like a teenager…well, w/good sense!! {{{{hugs love and sun salutations}}}}} xooxxo

  17. Happy Birthday to a pretty lady! If u hadn’t told your age no one would know! Enjoy your day!

  18. Happy Birthday AllY. I hope your day is wonderful!

  19. Priceless

  20. And with that said, We all reply, “AMEN!”
    Love you Ally Girl!

    • And, I think, I hear the choir breaking out in “Aaaaaa men…Aaaaa men…” swaying and clapping! How I adore you, Lynn…you always make me smile and happy…some day…we meet!! xoxo LU2!!

  21. Insightful and wise, funny and fun. You, my dear, are a talented, well-rounded, gifted, lovable and ever-so-youthful woman. You make me proud to be a woman too. Thank you for this, and oh, by the way, happy birthday.

    • Paula! My girlfriend w/the wicked sense of humor! Thank you, angel…gosh, what a badge you carry for us all, too…I know when I met you for the first time at RWoP in GA, I knew you were going to be a keeper!! xoxo LU!!

  22. I think you’ve captured what every person feels on thier birthdays whether it be in their 30s, 40s, 60’s etc.
    I hope you have a WONDERFUL day Ally xo

    • Mrs. BM! Ya thhhhink??? lol! Yes, regardless of where we are, we see where we’ve been…now all I can say to you now as a youngster in her 30s, look at your neck lovingly every single day, stroke it and know that it’s pricelessly beautiful!! xox Ally

  23. thank you…i needed this. i just turned 47 on the 22nd! happy birthday!!!

    • Kathi!! You’re just a young whipper snapper!! Now, take time to admire your upper arms and neck…gravity has a way to creating havoc for them in the next 15-20 years!! Thanks for the b’day wishes xoxo

  24. Alice, I’ve experieneced all those things in the way I look. But, I think I’ll just grow old gracefully! Looks aren’t everything, it’s what’s in your heart. You have really been blessed with family, friends, and so many activites that you enjoy, especially cooking. I have found that as I get older, I smile about all the good memories I have of my family and friends. And all the bad, has somehow turned into something good. My whole way of thinking has changed as I have grown. I hope I’ve become more wise with all the experiences I’ve encountered, and somehow has made me a better person. I try to stay away from negative people; they just bring you down and then you begin to doubt yourself. I love to help people, and don’t have any expectations of anyone. But, when someone does something special for me…I can really appreciate it. You and I are both so blessed! What we have been through has made us the persons we are today. It’s nice to reflect on these things in a peaceful environment! We all need to stop and smell the roses! Life is too short and too precious. Again, wishing you a very happy, blessed birthday! Just know you are really loved by so many. I have finally realized that I am who I am, and if people don’t like it, that’s OK too. God Bless you, Alice. Love you, Barb.

    • Barb…I love your words and thoughts…you are so right on all points…funny how it takes us a while to learn these things, come to these conclusions, but life and our experiences help us finally get there and have so much more peace, happiness and joy in little things…I know you and Tommy are loving your beautiful new home…a peaceful and serene environment in a slice of WV heaven. We are blessed, Barb, and I’m so proud and happy to call you my baby sister…Love you!!

  25. My Dear Ally, you are living proof that you can be any age and still be beautiful inside and out. Body checks are useful sometimes and what we put in them is just as important as what we put on them and you are living proof.

    I hope Ben’s mother makes a full recovery and once again Happy Birthday and may all your wishes come true. Thank you for sharing your day with us.


    Beverley xoxo

    • Beverley…you are one dear friend who, although separated by a big ol’ pond, I feel like I’ve had in my life for so very long…you are a soul that stays in my special friend box!! xoxo love you!

  26. Love your honesty in all respects … all the best for you this day and many more, Ally. xoxoxo Tears sprang to my eyes with your account of Ben’s Mother singing “You Are My Sunshine”.

    “Just Me”

    • Cindy! Only a real woman from Just North of Wiarton can spot a fake!! Thank you, angel…you’re a gem, and I so appreciate every strand on your beautiful head!! xoxo

  27. happy birthday my dear friend! i count myself fortunate to know you. xoxoxoxo

    • Whit, baby girl! Stick w/Mama Ally and I’ll keep you posted on the gravity changes…I’m the fortunate one…you be my surrogate littl’ girl! xoxo

  28. Ally you look Amazing for 63! I pray some day to look just as good! Have a fabulous Birthday!

    • Serena! You will, you are, you do! Thank you…it’s only a number…now wear sunblock and keep your glorious outlook on life! xoxox

  29. I had no idea you were 63 my friend, you look FABULOUS and your post was one I could really relate to!! I hope you have a fabulous day! HUGS Perri from Cooking with DIvas