Becoming 70 ~ Not over any hill yet

19 02 2016

Recently, for some reason – Could be my upcoming 70th birthday? – I’m surrounded by reminders of age– a topic I’ve not actively entertained since reaching that milestone of official “adulthood” at age 21. (Although I did have a bout of depression when I was 25: quarter of a century. Yikes!)

But now. Approaching 70?! WTF??!! That’s old.

“Fifty is the new thirty.” “Sixty is the new forty.” But seventy??!

Seventy.

Others’ perceptions of aging — or my reality?

One of this year’s many Birth Month Celebrations on Becoming 70. Or, as my daughters put it: Approaching 21° C

At 70, my life is certainly not “over.” I inherited longevity genes. My mom died at 96 – healthy until the week prior to her death. Lucid ‘til the last day, she reminded me to pay her estimated taxes. Her mother died at 98.

I plan to live every day until the day I don’t.

Zipline over Mexico’s Copper Canyon during my five-day solo train trip a few years ago. “I could not, at any age, be content to take my place in a corner by fireside and simply look on.” Eleanor Roosevelt

I am, however, noticing disturbing bodily evolutions: in rummaging through family photos – I am my mother – my nose becoming a hook, the errant gray hair on my chin mole, neck wrinkles, crazy knots on my knuckles, thick around the middle…. Not that these are totally bad things – but – for God’s sake – -this was my mother. She was old.

I’ve lived a fulfilled life of joys, a few disasters (lessons), and exceptional adventures and memories. Yet – at 70, I’m not resting on these dubious laurels and contemplating past glories from the comfort of my rocker. I’m busy creating new memories in my glorious Now.

Let’s do another 5K run/walk – ride a river raft through the Grand Canyon – or do another just-for-fun Mud Run. Maybe climb another Colorado 14er.

Takes me a tad longer now, but I can still do it.

I travel. A lot. Maximizing standby flight “mom privileges” through my daughter with American Airlines — and particularly relish the quality time  with my incredible Granddaughters.

“There is a fountain of youth: It is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” Sophia Loren

There is a fountain of youth: It is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” Sophia Loren

I’m taking language classes, practice yoga and Pilates, and regularly trek up/down the hills of my city.

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I have a younger partner/boyfriend/significant-other. And yes. Peter, my Boy Toy, and I are sexually active. (Shame on Kaiser who stops providing pap smears with annual check-ups at age 60!)

Peter and I plan to fly to England to visit his sister, take a river barge, and explore Europe. We want to visit Viet Nam and Thailand. We’ve driven across magnificent Mexico several times and, this year, we will experience more of its off-the-beaten-track side roads and mountain paths astride his Moto Guzzi motorcycle.

We have intelligent, well-traveled, interesting friends of diverse ages and nationalities with whom we regularly share stimulating conversation as well as travel adventures.

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We laugh. A lot. Every day.

We live on the side of a hill in the vibrant city of Guanajuato in central Mexico. With seven universities and Festival Cervantino, the largest music and arts festival in all of North America, Guanajuato has an abundance of young energy. Yet, my hero is the lady hobbling up the callejón/alley using her walker.

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Ten years ago, to honor my 60th birthday, I got my first (and only) tattoo. Not certain what “act of rebellion” I’ll do at 70. Perhaps I’ll use my travel benefits to circle the globe.

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Tattoo to celebrate Becoming 60.

No. I’m not ignoring the possible physical limitations of the future. I am not, however, defining myself by them.

To date, each of my decades has surpassed the one before. I’m not over any hill yet. I’m just approaching the pinnacle and anticipate exploring the adventures and peaks ahead.

Exploring peaks. Literally. This month, to experience the hundreds-of-thousands of Monarch butterflies in Michoacán, Mexico, friends and I rode horseback up the mountain Cerro Pelón  and then, at around 10,000 feet, hiked the last kilometer which was was too steep for the horse.

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? Satchel Paige

Inside, I’m the same me I was at age 30, 40, 50.

Or not.

Actually, I’m an ever-improving version of me.

Since I’m in a reflecting mode, I’ll honor a few of the life-altering shifts of recent years. My catalyst for major change originated with a motivational seminar which led to Master Mind groups, introspection, study, and gut-wrenching work to release ridiculous guilt. This allowed me to become the “Inevitable Me” whom I love unconditionally. Then — making the leap to sell my Colorado home and possessions to move to Mexico — enjoying being an unencumbered single woman living in a beachside paradise – then saying “Yes” to sharing the remainder of my life with the man who is truly my joy, inspiration, and soul mate — and moving to Guanajuato, a city snuggled within the Sierra Madre mountains of central Mexico.

And now?

Among the activities, I’m gifting myself time to appreciate each day’s abundance and joy.

Peter and I relish “kitten time” with two little darlings we rescued from the back of an abandoned pick-up truck. Mimi Mews (my Muse?) will snuggle down, mew a bit, pummel my neck with her soft paws, then stretch her little toes. Very endearing. But, even ten years ago, I would probably not have paused to allow this, let alone appreciate it.

Mimi Mews

Mimi Mews

And flowers. We enjoy our Pot Garden on the patio. No, not that kind of pot, although we did have a healthy plant prior to harvest.

Yes. Life is different now than when I was 30.

It’s better. Much better.

"You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old." George Burns

“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.” George Burns

“You’ll learn, as you get older, that rules are made to be broken. Be bold enough to live life on your terms, and never, ever apologize for it. Go against the grain, refuse to conform, take the road less traveled instead of the well-beaten path. Laugh in the face of adversity, and leap before you look. Dance as though EVERYBODY is watching. March to the beat of your own drummer. And stubbornly refuse to fit in.”
Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass





Simplicity

22 09 2015

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We’re in Mahahual, Quintana Roo – practically the southern-most point of Mexico before entering Belize – working with a little piece of beachfront bliss I’ve had for over 20 years.  (Tales to tell once this project is complete.)

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There’s a reason August-September is “low season” in Mexico’s Riviera Maya and Costa Maya areas – hot, muggy with an abundance of mosquitoes and other biting insects. But the peace, beauty, tranquility, and lovely people are unsurpassed.

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This charming chapel sits at the town’s exit to the south….

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It seats 10 – 12….

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Rather than gilt and gold, this chapel of the people features pottery and plastic.

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Gifts from those who have few possessions but much devotion and love….

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Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Clare Boothe Luce





Publicos Baños

25 01 2015

Bizarre travel plans are dancing lessons from God.

Kurt Vonnegut

For the past year or so, Peter and I have been traveling across Mexico – driving from Sonora, the northern-most state, south through Sinaloa and Nayarit to our home in Guanajuato in the central mountainous area…journeys to the artisans of Michoacán…Puebla…Oaxaca…through Tabasco, Campache and Chiapas…across Yucatan and to my other home in Quintana Roo on the eastern coast. Are some of these areas “dangerous”? Yes. According to “national alerts,” and certainly if you listen to USA mainstream media. We travel in daylight (usually) and stay “aware” of our surroundings – sometimes on the major highways, yet more often on the minor roads, bouncing across the frequent topes (speed bumps) through countryside and villages. DSC_5218 Most recently, we traveled from Guanajuato to the southern coast of Oaxaca: Bahia de Santa Cruz. About a 20-hour trip. Our route took us through the Colonial cities of Puebla and Oaxaca; Matatalan, famous for mezcal and pulche; San Martin Tilcajete, world-renowned for exquisite alebrijes; and mountains thick with evergreens juxtaposed against stands of bamboo and banana trees, washed-out roads, and beautiful people.

Trip Route

Trip Route

I haven’t been blogging. But now…time to share –

The beauty of this diverse country.

The idiosyncrasies.

The people.

My impressions.

I hope you enjoy these journeys, as well…. From the Only In Mexico department –- Peter and I are driving through Tlacolula, a small pueblo in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, when we smell roasting cocoa beans before even seeing the Chocolate Shop….

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We’re looking for a restroom, and, conveniently, Tlacolula has a well-manned Baños Publicos. Definitely “well-manned” — three men, waiting to collect my 2 pesos (about 14 cents), dispense the allotted paper squares, and – get this –present me with a printed receipt. Building. Attendants. Electric lights. Running water. Allotment of necessary paper. And. Printed receipt. All for 14 cents.

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I love Mexico!





When Life Flows….

5 12 2014

When one manifests Joy, life flows — flow with it.

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My Love and I are now happily creating lives together in Guanajuato — a delightful 500-year-old city in the mountains of central Mexico. Thus, as delightful as it has been –the time is right to release my beach condo and the life I created in Puerto Morelos on the Riviera Maya of Quintana Roo.

So. Following an afternoon of camaraderie on the beach, I’m meeting with my friend and Realtor, Kim Temple, to list my condo-home. Kim looks and is, very Professional. Business-like. Somewhat serious. Explaining procedures — when Jenine, a friend from the beach afternoon, knocks on the open door – “Mary? You here? Robert and I just met these people who are looking for a place to buy in Puerto Morelos. Can we come in?” Of course.

With great flair, enter Robert, Jenine, their two new friends Sandra and Tony – originally from Belize and now from Washington state – along with their taxi driver Cesar – all enjoying beers. Being out of beer, we break out wine. Jenine is enthusiastic and animated — showing, describing, sales-pitching my condo – ousting our friends Steve and Nelly from the guest bedroom. They join the party.

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Admist the pandemonium, washing machine repairmen arrive.

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Noisy, joyful, chaos ensues.

Poor Kim.

We decide to meet tomorrow – papers so far unsigned. Kim leaves.

The party continues. More wine. The taxi driver does a Beer Run. Music with Peter on guitar, Robert on harmonica. Stories. Laughter.

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As our new friends get up to leave, Tony collapses.

Oh my.

Too much partying throughout the day?

He’s dragged/carried to the couch for TLC, ice pack, and water.

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The party continues. Tony recovers.

The party morphs to El Bistro for homemade Italian.

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Did the condo sell?

Not yet.

But it will — with joy, ease, and grace.

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When one manifests Joy, life flows — flow with it.





The Camote Man

9 06 2014

“Enjoy the little things in life,

for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.”

Kurt Vonnegut

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Peter and I had about given up on seeing The Camote Man again – when – while enjoying each other, wine, and emerging stars following a pink-sky sunset– an unmistakable screech penetrates the far-off cacophony of barking dogs and the occasional enthusiastic drummer .

“As the lights come on in Guanajuato they are reflected into the night, and we call them stars….” Dennis Pekus

As the lights come on in Guanajuato they are reflected into the night, and we call them stars….
Dennis Pekus

Each Mexican entrepreneur has his own distinctive marketing technique – The lute of the afilador who sharpens knives at your doorstep. Clang-clang on the tank by the gas company rep. “Aaaagggguuuuaaaaa” sings out the water guy. And – amazing to us – is not only listening but watching these men effortlessly heft their wares throughout the severe slopes of Guanajuato, over 6000 feet above sea level. How does that wiry little guy carry four of those five-gallon water garrafónes?

One of many callejones of Guanajuato.

One of many (steep) callejónes/alleys of Guanajuato.

This night, The Camote Man is obviously below us on a better-populated street: Calle Sangre de Cristo. We live far above, near The Panoramica which encircles this historic city. Will he venture this far? We start whistling and yelling to the universe — and anyone else who’s listening: “Arriba! Arriba! Up! Up!”

It was a couple of months ago when we first experienced the taste sensation – not to mention, the visual delight – of a camote (sweet potato) wood-fire-roasted in a Stanley-Steamer-looking device — coals glowing — pushed amidst the callejónes.

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We are in luck this night. The whistle intensifies. Adults and children emerge from darkened doors, 20 pesos in hand, to receive a steaming camote dripping la leche condensada azucarada and canela. We pass on the sweeten condensed milk but request extra cinnamon – then retire inside to slather on mounds of butter and pour more wine.

A delectable camote for only 20 pesos -- about $1.50 USD.

A delectable camote for only 20 pesos — about $1.50 USD.

 Life is grand. We are grateful.

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