Unpaved Roads and Curves: From 18 to 70

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It is a long winding road from 18 to 70.  There were curves, potholes and some of the roads were unpaved muddy messes when it rained that bogged us down for a time.  We lost people we loved and some of us almost lost ourselves.  It shows whether we like it or not, but it does not define who we are.  For me it brought me to faith in Christ.  But I don’t know most of you anymore, if I ever did, so I can only speak from my own perspective, but perhaps you can relate in part.

At 18, a strong Oklahoma wind could not only sweep across the plain, but could nearly tip me over.

At 70, aside from unrelated balance issues, I doubt that same wind could do more than mess up my hair.

At 18, that same wind could only lift my heavily teased bouffant Aqua Net helmet hair, but at 70 my short style lends itself to that same wind.

I was a tiny sapling, now I am a mature substantial tree, short but substantial, by that I mean I weigh 40 pounds more than at 70 than I did at 18.

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Reunion Fact: I am not crash dieting, investing in lip-o-suction, or trying to squeeze myself into a size three times smaller that I am. How about you? Are you still as svelte as you were at 18 or in fact have you slimmed down from your 18 year old body? That happens too.

At 18, I took ZERO pills daily, at 20 I took ONE Vitamin Daily in the morning…for about 4 years that was a Pre-natal vitamin, but I continued that regime for YEARS.

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At 70, I take this handful, daily some morning, some evening, some both and a couple once a week…my husband sets an alarm on his phone for 8 and 8…Most are supplements, Calcium, Vitamin D, Fish Oil, Multi-vitamin, but alas some are meds for A-Fib, Hypertension, and mild depression (probably because I have to take so many pills.)

Reunion Fact: I will be packing…Pills, Husband, and His Cell Phone, SO if you hear Taylor Swift singing:

“You should’ve said “No”, you should’ve gone home
You should’ve thought twice ‘fore you let it all go
You should’ve known that word, with what you did with her,
Get back to me (get back to me).
And I should’ve been there in the back of your mind
I shouldn’t be asking myself, “Why?”
You shouldn’t be begging for forgiveness at my feet…”
You should’ve said “No”, baby, and you might still have me”

Track 9, “You Should’ve Said No” Album

You will shortly thereafter see the Kisler’s popping a handful of pills.

Reunion Fact: This old body requires more maintenance than it used to.  Just saying, at 70 my body needs help. How about you?

At 18, my primary exercise routine involved walking and in the summer swimming.  I know, I know all you athletic folks were playing football, basketball, etc.  Hope you still are as agile and active.

At 70, I attend a three times a week class at Fitness Formula called Forever Fit with my husband and about 50 other senior ladies and 6 senior men…we are in the mid age range of the class with our oldest class member being 96 and the youngest in her 40’s (a mere child). imageEvery session we do the “Plank” twice for 20 seconds and then 40 seconds. I walk the dogs, I walk the husband and in Florida, we dance, ride bikes, and Terry plays tennis 3 times a week (he does that in Kentucky, too).

Reunion Fact: I do not intend to increase my current exercise strategy, because then I would not have time to sit here propped up in bed with the dogs and Terry, watching the Today Show and writing. How about you? What physical activities do you engage in regularly?

At 18, I had NO marketable skills, having avoided every business class offered in high school except typing…and believe me my typing skills were not marketable…so with financial assistance I went to college. I finally graduated after time off to procreate…from the University of Tulsa with a Bachelor’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology and a Master’s in Audiology. Even they required a modicum of typing skills…thank you, Lord for the computer with word processing and so much more. My degrees, professional skills, and ambition served me well for many years.

At 70, I still have NO marketable skills, am retired….really, I even let my Audiology License and National Certification lapse this year. So what do I do with all this extra time…I mean I really loved my job, especially the final eleven years. So I have really had search for what to do with the rest of my life.  SO,  I do whatever strikes my fancy fun stuff dance, read, explore, write, and do artsy stuff.

Reunion Fact: I plan to watch, listen, reacquaint myself with Frederick and all of you who attend and I hope to come home to write about it. How about you? Where did your job/career/education/ military service lead you? Are you retired or still working?

At 18 I had lived my entire life in one small government brick house on 18th street in Frederick, OK.

At 70, we live about 5 months in Florida and 7 months in Kentucky. Before coming to Kentucky where Terry  served 4 churches all in the West Area of Kentucky, we lived in his home town, Tulsa for 27 years. After having lived in parsonages for many years (Terry is a retired Christian Church, Disciples of Christ Pastor) we put a manufactured home on a plot of land on our daughter and son-in-law’s farm and then we bought a similar place in a retirement community in central Florida. Simplicity with a touch of adventure suits us.This world is temporary so why embellish too much.

Reunion Fact: I love our life and I hope you love yours. I long to hear about the places others have lived, where you are living now and how you got there. Isn’t that what reunions are about especially at 70? How many of you are like me curious about other people’s journeys and experiences?

At 18, I had resigned myself to the fact that I needed a career that would support me into old age, because given my track record….ZILCH! I had decided I would undoubtedly die a spinster.

At 70, celebrating 50 years of marriage this past February….not all of which were smooth sailing, I still have my man–although I almost lost him three times to a skiing accident, pneumonia, and cancer, 2 sons, 1 daughter, 2 daughters-in-law, 1 son-in-law, 7 grandchildren, 1 step-grandson, and 1 foster granddaughter. There are times I have wondered..in passing…whether being single would have been easier. NAH! or JK as my granddaughter would text..just kidding.

imageReunion Fact:  As we gather some of us will have never married, some are divorced, some widowed, and others like me are married to the person they married in the first place. Some will have suffered the ultimate tragedy having to bury a child, some have lost children down other rabbit holes in life, some never had a child to hold and love, and some will rejoice over children, grandchildren and some great grandchildren. Some will be bitter, some will be grateful, some sarcastic, and some accepting of the totality of 70 years on earth. What about you?

At 18, both my parents were still living.

At 70, I am an orphan. My Dad died in 1978 of throat cancer, he was 67. My Mom died in 2011, she was 89.

Reunion Fact: Some of us still have at least ONE living parent! Keep those longevity genes pumping!!!

Not one of us is the same person we were at 18. I am excited to see and embrace each of you, to discover WHO you are at 70 and to remember we were once 18 together at a time when the world was changing rapidly….and HEY!

REUNION FACT:  WE ARE ALL SURVIVORS!

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