Friday, January 1, 2016


Yesterday I headed out for a walk. Not planning on a long walk, just a walk, but I think about things when I walk, solve problems and maybe sometimes it is even a meditation. Suddenly I found that I had walked through Rice Village and was starting to walk on the wonderful jogging/walking trail around Rice University. All the way around the University is almost three miles plus what I had already walked and I'd still have to get back to my son's house. Oh well, I thought, I'll go a little further and cut across the parking lot to head back.

My thoughts were about 2016. I just had a birthday and I'm starting my 80th year. Eighty years old. It is hard to believe. I remember when I thought 80 was old, really old and the people I knew in their 80's acted old. Do my kids, my grandkids, think I'm old? I dare not ask. Especially the grandkids. I might not like the answer. But here is the thing, I don't think I'm old. Yes, I do make some concessions for some things I use to do in my 40's, I'm not climbing ladders or moving bedroom furniture from one room to the other by myself, but I don't feel old. I feel healthy and happy.

When I thought about how happy I am, I remembered a TED talk I recently watched. It was a 75 year study of men from Harvard and men from slums and it had followed them for all 75 years asking questions about their lives and how happy they were. It wasn't money or fame that made them happy but it was family and friends and community that brought them happiness. I'm glad it wasn't money! I'm so blessed to have family, friends and community.

While I was striding along, I also thought about how good it feels to put one foot in front of the other, legs  strong, arms swinging, feeling the cold wind on my face and seeing the trees and traffic and other joggers and walkers. Last week a friend asked me if I was going to be younger in 2016. He was teasing about me writing about the book Younger Next Year. It will soon be three years since I read that book and I have to tell you I AM younger now than I was before I took some of the recommendations in the book to heart.

I really don't have time to be old. I still have so many things I want to do. Just this year, I want to join the Shootapaloosa friends I made last year in Port Aransas in Galveston for another B-12 shot of creativity, maybe a trip to Big Bend National Park with long, long-time photography friends, a trip to Nashville and beyond and hopefully a trip to Ireland. I bought a travel book on Ireland today. I'm doing some repair and remodeling work on my house and this year I want to finish the project I've been working on in Port Aransas. That project needs to go to the publisher.

So I'm walking and thinking and wondering, what word would describe how I am feeling about 2016 and the word I kept seeing in my head was JOY.  It is going to be a joyous year. And then, I realized that I'd passed the parking lot that I was going to cut across to head home. In fact, I'd almost gone all the way around the University. I laughed and kept walking. I walked 6.5 miles. Not too bad for someone heading toward 80.

PS I'm not sure how the picture above will look but I'm trying to coordinate several devices to add a photo. I think it may be dark but I can't tell for sure. I felt joyful looking at it as I walked along the walking trail. It isn't dark or dreary to me at any time of the year. At any rate it is a part of the campus at Rice University and I've always loved this forest of oak trees in the middle of the city.


  1. hi billie,

    HAPPY 80TH BIRTHDAY!!!! THIS MAY SOUND SILLY BUT JUST THINK OF 80 AS THE NEW 60 ;-) i turned 61 in october and am overall healthy and hoping to have ma ny years ahead.

    enjoyed reading your post. i think the picture is beautiful, i love trees too.

    we enjoyed a great vacation on kaua'i with our kids and daughter-in-law. it was our first christmas together in 5 years.

    i'm planning a lot of short trips in the next 6, months then we move back to the states at the end of june. living in japan has been a wonderful experience but we'll be ready to move back this summer.

    i hope all your plans, trips, goals for 2016 will be fulfilled. stay happy and healthy, and keep thinking, young! after all, we're as young as we feel.

    God bless you,

    teresa in nagoya

    1. When you are back in the USA maybe you will find time to visit San Miguel. Happy New Year and lots of wonderful travel adventures in 2016.

    2. haven't been in mexico in almost 8 years. i definitely want to go back.


  2. If you're starting your 80th year, that means you just turned 79. Let's not rush things along here. Belated birthday greetings from the middle of Mexico.

    1. Felipe, but I am rushing into this glorious year. petal to the metal. Full bore. Let it all hang out. Going for it.

  3. Happy belated Billie. You considerably raise the bar. I understand totally what you say about not being old. We aren't, thus it's an adjustment to make physical concessions when/where need be. Because of you I read Younger Next Year, and then sent copies to my sisters. We are all 3 getting younger, and all 3 continue to thank you. Happy New Year - may it be the best year yet.

    1. Talk about being joyous....this comment makes me even more joyous. So good to hear that in some little way I made a difference. We know that infirmities will come somewhere along the way but how wonderful to feel good today.

  4. It is time for all of us to be young together.