WHAT’S IN A NUMBER?

From left, Route 66er, birthday girl, me, hostess – plus Libby and Chewy

Birthdays mark the passage of time, and with each celebration of my friends, I wonder why do we bother with numbers? It seems to mean less and less. This weekend marked one such celebration when I realized I was surrounded by vital, thriving, funny, and loving women and men who were all hurtling toward seventy–some had even surpassed that milestone.

The image of seventy in my youth meant something different than it does today as I’m looking down the barrel at it. It seems unimaginable that the majority of my friends are now over sixty, and in a few short months, I will wake up in bed next to a seventy-year-old man! Not one of those folks fit into that former image of what I imagined life at seventy would look like.

Then it meant closing in on an ending. Today, it means starting something new or doing something just because we can. It means saying whatever pops in our head and being allowed, in most cases, to do it without censorship.

Here’s a sampling of some of the folks at the party yesterday.

The birthday girl turned sixty-nine yesterday. She was late to the party because she’d just biked thirty miles earlier in the day and rushed home to shower before arriving. Last month, we hiked six miles with her over rough terrain in south Georgia when we visited an elephant refuge. Last week she visited the Smoky Mountains and hiked miles along the Appalachian Trail. Besides that, she laughs often.

Another friend will turn seventy in August. She plans to celebrate by taking a month to drive Route 66 from Chicago to LA as a way to celebrate her life and experience new and exciting places. She is active in the community and travels as much as she can.

The over seventy hostess will turn seventy-five this summer, and she was busy planning how she would celebrate. She just came back from a tour of Italy and travels extensively with friends and family. She gardens and works out at the gym nearly every day.

My husband will turn seventy in October. He’s outside right now building a fence in our backyard. The spring garden is planted, and next month he’ll go to our cabin in the mountains and put in the summer garden. We kayaked last weekend, and each morning, we walk around our neighborhood. He also golfs and does all the heavy lifting around the house. And he still enjoys acting like a kid. Yesterday, it was making some letters on his shirt fold over so it displayed the word, “sex.” The only one at the party who noticed was the birthday girl, and she laughed at his silliness. I rolled my eyes, but secretly was proud of him for having fun.

Another woman I met for the first time yesterday, but I hope to see her again soon. She delighted me. On her seventieth birthday, she took her grandsons to the Grand Canyon. Recently, she won first place in the bench press in the Senior Olympics here in town. She had us in stitches about her travels and life as a septuagenarian.

Not only are my friends active, they are fun. We have the best stories to tell–decades worth. And as we age, I swear we become even funnier with each telling. Maybe it’s because as some memories fade, we’re no longer afraid to embellish to make the stories memorable for someone else. Who cares? It’s the essence of an experience that really matters in the end.

I know too many “kids” in their thirties and forties who seem older than my friends and me. They are bogged down with life and worry about every little detail. Will it rain? Is that road too narrow? How much do I weigh? When will we earn enough? I suppose I might have been that way at one time when there were too many responsibilities and too many people depended on me getting things done and getting them done correctly.

So what’s in a number? Very little these days.

By the way, I turn sixty-five in December, which means I was the baby at this party.

New Release – From Seed to Table

From Seed to Table is my new eBook on gardening, harvesting, preserving, and eating food from the garden. Along with giving advice on gardening, it’s also full of recipes for fresh vegetables. Please stop by Amazon and take a look: http://www.amazon.com/From-Seed-Table-Harvesting-ebook/dp/B00CW1TLFK.

cover - lst draft

Checking on 2013 Goal Progress

By Patricia Zick @PCZick

At the beginning of the year, I posted my goals for 2013. Here we are three months into the year, so it’s time to see how I’m doing once again. I highly recommend checking on the goals. I’ve never done it before this year, and I’m finding it’s a great motivator that keeps me moving.

Writing Goals for 2013

  • Launch Trails in the Sand. I published it on Amazon and have a print copy ready to proof. I plan to do a big launch for the novel by the end of January.

Update: Trails in the Sand is available on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon. It’s also available on Nook through Barnes and Noble. So far, sales remain slow.  There are eight reviews on Amazon – all five-star  Several review copies are still out, and I’m waiting for more reviews to appear. I decided to sign up for a blog tour with Worldwind Virtual Blog Tours so I’m busy writing guest posts for the tour, which begins on Earth Day, April 22. The tour lasts one week. Also, I signed up for World Literary Cafe’s Shout Out for April 22. I’ll report in my next update on whether I feel these two things were worthwhile.

Goodreads GiveawayNow - Feb. 28
  • Finish Safe Harbor. I started this novel in 2007 but stopped when I decided I needed to find a wildlife officer to interview. I left for the big Route 66 trip, which led to the creation of Live from the Road. When I returned from Route 66, I took a new job with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and became very familiar with wildlife officers and experts. Now there’s no excuse not to finish the almost completed draft. I start by pulling out the spiral notebook where it’s housed and giving it a read. I always recommend that writers let pieces incubate, but five years isn’t what I meant.

 Update: I’ve read through the draft, made notes, and decorated my bulletin with character cards. I’m rearranging chapters now and and filling in gaps. I’m starting on Chapter Five this week.

  • Publish a book of essays on my travels. I already have a name: Odyssey to Myself. I have most of the pieces written in various stages. It’s a matter of pulling it all together into one cohesive story of my travels from 2004-2009 as I discarded an old life and moved into a new phase.

Update:  Nothing to report here.

  • Pull together all of my gardening blog posts from my blog “Living Lightly” into a book. I see it as a primer for gardening and preserving produce. Again, I have all the pieces here and there, I just need to pull it all together.

Update:  This book is coming along nicely. I’ve written the first four chapters (Introduction, Year Round Gardening, Winter, and Spring). I’ll be starting the chapter on Summer this week. The drafts of the first four chapters are on my husband’s desk awaiting his proofreading pen.

  • Read the pile of books on my desk, both fiction and nonfiction. Reading is an essential part of the writing journey. How fortunate for me to have a career that requires reading for improving my craft.

Update:  I read another eBook and finished In the Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez. I started reading Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver this past week.

  • Establish myself as a bestselling author. Every year this one makes it to my list. Here’s to 2013  being the year it happens. For me, this goal refers to making a living as an author. I want to be able to pay more than the electrical bill each month with the proceeds from my storytelling.

Update:  Stay tuned.

How’s it going for you in 2013 so far?