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After many years I have learned what my mother tried very hard to instill in me, which is to live life to the fullest and her favorite phrase, "Savor the Moment." This year I will turn 56 and her words of wisdom are finally sinking in.
I raised my children for many years as a single parent and dedicated myself to that enormous and honored job. I made the same sacrifices all parents make for their children. I had a little less to work with monetarily than many, but I tried my best to make up for it in the quality time I spent with them (I hope they feel that way).
Now that my children are all grown up and blazing their own trails, I find myself with time to think back to the things that once gave me joy. Besides watching my children grow up, the best time in my life was myself growing up and being able to enjoy the things I had an interest in. When I think back to those memories, warmth and happiness are the best description.
I now have an opportunity at 56 to recapture those years and explore the things that made me smile and captivated me. I love the arts both creating and appreciating art created by others. I also love swimming and gardening. A few summers ago I took up swimming again, and felt rejuvenated, like youth had poured back into by soul. I plan to go back to swimming this summer.
My parents gave me a museum membership for my birthday last year, which was a wonderful gift that I have thoroughly enjoyed. The membership allows bring a guest, so I am able to share my gift with good friends and family. I also recently signed up for an art class, which I have been dreaming about doing for years.
I recently took up gardening and invested in a potting bench. I was inspired as a kid by my grandmother, who had the most beautiful garden that she nurtured with such grace. I have very vivid memories of my grandmother and I in her garden that I cherish. Now I feel like she is with me while I am in my developing garden.
I am loving my life right now and I owe it to many people who have inspired and encouraged me, my mom, dad, children, and aunt, especially for all their loving support. But the thing that resonates most is my mother telling me to "savor the moment."
By Cathy Heller from CA
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As a senior (you can be one as early as 55!) you will find that there are many benefits in terms of classes & activities at low or no cost available to you. Check out what is offered locally. When I can get across town, I have gone to the Santa Monica Emeritus College classes, which are totally FREE & of high quality.
I am always telling people that happiness is what you choose to make out of what you have. A person can choose to be either happy or sad and it is much easier to be happy.
Cathy, this is wonderful advice. Thanks for sharing your story with us!