Reflections at, not quite, 43

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 27, 2003

Certain milestones in our lives—anniversaries, graduations, retirements and such—are always good times to pause and reflect on what we’ve learned along the way.

My milestone for this particular week is birthday No. 43.

On September 25, 1960 (a pleasant Sunday morning, my mama recalls), I arrived in this world.

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Sometimes it is hard for me to believe I have been on this earth nearly four and one-half decades.

There are times when I feel like the wide-eyed, timid seven-year-old I once was, or the dreamy, awkward, sometimes sullen, teen.

All the ‘Angies’ that once were still live somewhere inside of the middle-aged me.

Other times, when the weight of the world seems to fall heavily on my fibromyalgia-ridden shoulders, I feel very aged indeed.

The only way to avoid getting older, of course, is to die prematurely. I don’t particularly care to fulfill that evidentuality.

Older, I shall certainly get; but also, I hope and pray, I will grow wiser, more compassionate, more insightful and ever younger (at heart).

I do think I have learned some valuable lessons along the way. Here’s a few I would like to share.

1. Travel when you have the opportunity.

I know it’s a clich, but travel really DOES broaden your horizons.

I do not regret a single moment or dollar spent on the journeys I have taken, even when the destination was not exactly what I expected or the trip itself was fraught with troubles (you can learn from your disappointments, too.)

2. Take time to be considerate.

It doesn’t take much effort to pause and hold that door open for the next shopper; it will only take a couple of extra seconds to smile and share a greeting along the way.

Good manners are important.

Displaying yours could make the positive difference in someone else’s day.

3. Acknowledge others—children, the elderly, the handicapped, the ‘outsider’ looking in.

There are a lot of ‘invisible people’ out there who need attention.

4. Be grateful.

Sure, some days life can seem more like a bed of prickly thorns than lovely roses; Just remember there is always something and/or someone that’s a blessing you should be counting.

5. Don’t be afraid to love.

We sometimes get hurt, disappointed, even deceived by those we choose to love. It makes us want to wall up our hearts and cut ourselves off from potential pain.

But the loss we experience from such self-containment is ultimately more damaging to our souls and spirits than any suffering genuine love brings into our lives.

6. Laugh!

It’s truly the best medicine.

A great sense of humor is one of the most attractive qualities any human being can have. Be able to laugh at yourself, and you will never lack for a source of amusement, I assure you.

7. I close with the wise and witty words of the wonderful Rosalind Russell performing as ‘Auntie Mame’: &uot;Live, live, live! Life is a banquet—and most of you poor suckers are starving to death.&uot;