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.