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thanks to http://sotirov.com/2006/09/02/
Happy Birthday Birds on a Wire Blog! 

Enjoy the cake and the festivities (with a little help from two of our grandchildren).


Wow, it’s been a year since we started this conversation, and so much has happened. 

First of all, I envisioned this as a place for women to come to talk over their joys and concerns. How sexist of me! Thank goodness, men have joined us, adding their voices to the discussion.

So, little by little, we’ve evolved into, into, into … what? When I finally decide what  this blog is all about, I'll let you know.


Almost 3,000 people came to this site during the past year, from every continent, from every corner of the globe. The Birds blog has been mentioned in at least one news story (well, I wrote it!). We’re blogrolled by some of the best in the business, included in three directories, and reffed by at least 10 other blogs. Who knows where this will lead?  
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I’m not sure where we’re going, but I do know where we’ve been.

Over the past year, we’ve talked about relationships, families, things we love and things we hate. We’ve looked at what it means to be a survivor in a dangerous world.

You and I have had a few laughs and shed a few tears together. Last fall, we recalled some of the most memorable events of our lives, including the assassination of a president, and the end of 20 years of Cold War, with the fall of the Berlin Wall

Didn’t want to leave you out of our trips to California, New York City and all over New England, so I sent you postcards 

I’ve told a few stories about amazing people I’ve met, and some great music I’ve heard. Life is full of joy, so we’ve shared some of its best moments.  You came to my birthday, and we all went to Obama’s inauguration together. 

A number of us have talked a great deal about some big issues, especially health care reform.  

I’ve handed out a bit of advice (since no one else will listen to me!), including these evergreens:
            Enjoy yourself
            Be mindful
            Be proud of who you are
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And you’ve shared your own through your comments and emails. 

Not surprisingly, Birds has evolved. It’s moved from being a text-based scroll to a multimedia publication. What’s next, Facebook? Twitter? Could be. Let me know how you feel about those platforms. 

All in all, it’s been a great year. Thank you, readers, for keeping me on my toes. Thanks for you suggestions and complaints. Most of all, thank you for all you’ve contributed to this little community of readers and thinkers and doers.  

En avant! Here's to another year of Birds on a Wire Blog! 

Paula


 
 

Here is a T Mobile public art event, produced for a series of commercials. Whatever. It made my day, and probably will do the same for you. This was shot at Liverpool Street Station, London.

 
 

This is how I spent my birthday -- surrounded by blooming bulbs (and other plants). How lucky to be born on the first day of spring! 

 
 

Some of you have already reached this milestone, and I know others are hoping the world blows up before it happens to them, but  -- if we’re lucky enough – someday we all turn 65. My big day is right around the corner.

Omigod, how could someone so young get so old?

It’s not like this date with destiny slipped up on me, exactly, but still, I’m having a hard time processing what should be just another birthday. After all, we’re only a day older on our birthday than we were the day before, right?

The undeniable proof of my impending old age is imprinted like a watermark in the Medicare card that arrived by mail recently.

There it is. Looks just like the one my parents carried around, all red, white and blue. But if you tilt the card ever so slightly into the light, you’ll notice the words “very, very old” are woven right into the paper!

When my husband turned 65 a few years, I handled his Medicare sign up and paperwork, efficient new wife that I was. It wasn’t hard to do, just time consuming. I read the stuff Medicare sent in the mail, outlined his options, picked a drug plan and Medigap provider, then sent out all the forms. Bingo! He hardly noticed the difference between his old health plan and Medicare, except now he has a lot more jingle in his pocket after every office visit and pharmacy run.

Was I jealous! My health insurance cost more than $600 dollars a month, and I was way too healthy to enjoy it! Once I married Dave, left the rat race, and started taking better care of myself, my health turned normal for my age, as they say.

How I longed for the day when I could get Medicare, too! Of course, I was blocking what cliff I had to go over to qualify. 

Truth be told, I’d been sucking money out of the system for years. My 40s and 50s were medical disasters, but that's another story. The high premiums I paid in my 60s were simply part of payback time.

Six months ago, my mother’s slow decline into the netherworld of Alzheimer’s consumed large amounts of my energy and time. She lived in a nursing home 350 miles away, and it might as well have been 3,500.

Ignoring common sense and my husband’s pleas, I drove down and back on a single day to see her, every few weeks. It was such a grueling trip, I spent only two or three hours with her, so I could complete the six-hour trip down and six back up north without losing it on the highway. 

And then it happened, just before Christmas. Almost silently and with as much grace as a person can muster in her condition, she slipped out of this world. Dave and I were with her and in that instant, everything in my life changed.

Since her departure, I’ve had a hard time completing tasks, even small ones. I’m told that’s normal. 

Life oozes by, one day at a time.

I still haven’t written to some of her relatives and friends, but will, someday. I keep saying I must write thank you notes to some kind folks who helped us through the difficult times. What’s left of her stuff sits in piles in our extra room, remnants of a life that seemed so permanent, so important, I couldn’t imagine the earth spinning after her death.

But, it did.

And, now I see how it will continue to spin, even after mine and yours. And, that’s the way it should be.

Which takes me back to turning 65. It's just so predictable and so ordinary. Somehow, I guess I thought I would follow a different path. How and to what, I don't know.

But, maybe for the first time, I’m ready to admit to myself that most likely, I’ll finish out my life the old-fashioned way, like she did.

With little drama. Few people around me. Barely any noise or fanfare.

One day, I’ll breathe, then not breathe, and be carted off within the hour by a strong young woman who’ll clean my bed to make it nice for the next old lady.

And, that’s okay, because it’s the way things are and are supposed to be. The longer I live, the more normal are my life and my expectations.