After All These Years

I’m well aware of the fact that I’m not young.  Or even middle aged.  (Although I refuse to change the name of this blog to “Fumbling Through My Final Years.”)  I’ve reached the point in my life where everything on my body that could possibly go south has done so.  Not only has it been decades since I’ve had to show my ID to purchase alcohol, but when I buy a bottle of wine at the self-check out lane and the screen instructs me to show a valid ID to the nearest checker, I simply wait until they look at me.  The clerk always  approves my purchase with a speed that is almost insulting.   Especially since I wear a face mask at the store, which I had (mistakenly) believed hid most of my wrinkles.

I often spot toys from my childhood at antique stores, along with other assorted items that were featured in the houses I grew up in.  If I want to confuse a member of the younger generation, I just use terms they’ve never heard of, like party-line telephones, penny candy, house dresses, Hi-Fi stereos, etc.  And most telling of all, I’ve reached the age where I consider “the younger generation” to be anyone who is at least ten years younger than me.  If that isn’t a sign of old age, I don’t know what is.

But like most people who find themselves on the wrong side of fifty, I tend to feel much younger than my actual age. Not physically, of course, because in that way I actually do feel every single one of my sixty-two years, but mentally.  Because on the inside, I’m basically the same person I’ve always been….just a little more experienced, if not actually wiser.

fullsizeoutput_5e0cWhich probably explains why, every once in a while, I don’t “act my age.”  And the holidays are a perfect example of one of those times.  I’ve always loved Christmas, and all of the decorating, baking, gift-giving and general cheerful chaos that it brings.  My holiday decorations have long since passed the tasteful stage, and  now look mostly as if the Christmas department at Sears exploded in my living room.  And the basement family room is where I put out the truly tacky stuff…..

But if there’s one advantage of growing older, it’s that we sometimes have the ability to indulge our inner child, and that’s what I do each year at Christmas.  I bake all of my favorite cookies, even if some of them grow stale before they can be eaten.  I put up two big trees instead of one, just because I like them.  I buy gifts for the people I love and then wrap them, because that’s so much more fun that just shoving them into a gift bag.  I donate to toy drives and food banks because sharing with those who need it makes me happy.  And every year I display a few special decorations that were gifts from loved ones who are gone, because the memories they invoke make the holidays even more special.

I’ve heard it said that Christmas is for children, and that may be true.  But there’s still a child in each of us, and personally, I believe that Christmas is the perfect time to invite that child to come out and play.

110 thoughts on “After All These Years

  1. I love that last paragraph! I hated holidays growing up, because my mother made them horrible. When I met and married my husband, within a 3 month period!, I soon discovered that he’s had a more normal American upbringing. When it was Easter he’d spit chewed up carrots all over the kitchen floor, and he’d throw oats on the roof for Santa’s reindeer. So he basically changed my life. I fiercely love Christmas, though, and perhaps it’s for the child who never got to enjoy it!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m so sorry that your childhood Christmases were bad…but so glad that your husband helped show you how to enjoy them. It’s never too late to enjoy Christmas as a child, even if the first time we do it we’re actually adults. Thanks for that comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. First you made me laugh, and then you made me happy about the allowances we get, at our age, to truly enjoy our slow coast after the big hill of 2020! may we all stay healthy and happy and grateful for the simple gifts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Allan! You’re so right, aging is mandatory, but maturity is optional. Of course I want to be mature when it matters….but for fun times like the holidays, it’s time to tap into our inner child, I think. The holidays will be different this year, but they can still be fun!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this Ann. I like to bring my inner child to play all year round, not only at Christmas. Why just the other day I was flying on a swing and hanging off a monkey bar! Enjoy all the extra touches, gifts, giving and fun details that make up this season. 😊

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  4. “…Sears exploded in my living room.”. That’s about right for most of our memories. Love it. The photo is warm and inviting. You’re right about that child inside of us. It helps to keep Christmas in our hearts all year long. God’s grip – Alan

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I have no use for the Christmas decorations that are refined and tasteful…..tacky are so much more fun, and nostalgic. And anything that keeps Christmas in our heart all year is a good thing, I believe. Thanks for the comment, Alan!!

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  5. That is a thought provoking post, summing up not just the bygone years but a way of living left behind. I loved the sprinkling of humour. Going by your definition, I qualify as the younger generation, but it’s is a slippery ground I stand on, the wrong side of fifty. Of late, I too have been trying to invoke the child in me, the youth in me, the reader in me, and the scribbler in me to no avail. What is this restlessness, this breathlessness, I seem to ask myself on this slippery slope. Is it the onset of that fumbling you have spoken of somewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment! I’m sorry that the child in you is in hiding at the moment, but I hope you find him soon, and I really hope you find the scribbler in you again too, as your posts are always so very well-written. And take comfort in the fact that even if you are on the wrong side of fifty, you’re still a member of the young generation as far as I’m concerned. You’re years away from the “fumbling” stage!

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  6. I love this post, Ann. Age is just a number. If I’ve learned anything at the age of 61, it’s how blessed I am to be able to do the things I love. I never thought I would sing again and play my guitar. But when I started to (after 30 years), it changed my life. I feel like a young girl and I’m so thankful!
    You love Christmas rituals and I’m sure there are other parts of your life where this philosophy continues.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good for you for taking up music again after a thirty year break! I think it’s so important to do what we love as often as we can…it keeps us young at heart. Christmas is another example, but you’re right, this is a philosophy that works in so many areas of our life!

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  7. Ann, I loved this post for more than 1 reason. Not only did it make me grin and giggle right to the end, I also loved the way Christmas is so meaningful for you. That even as you indulge the happy-bunny within you, you still have such a big heart to share with others – and you do – the food banks and toy drives, especially. Since I have another 2 weeks of work before I go on leave, I’ve been focusing more on getting most of the Christmas cleaning out of the way. But last week, I felt a nudge to pray a special Hope Rosary for those who need it. That the Light of Christ falls into hearts. Unfortunately, I got distracted as usual, and didn’t get on to it till yesterday and even then, I think I could have prayed so much better. Now, reading about your donations to the needy, I am determined to pray my Rosary from the heart to make Christmas happen for more people!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Caitlynn! I hope the next two weeks of work go by quickly for you so that you can enjoy your Christmas with family. And I love that you are going to pray a special Rosary for others this year…we all need hope right now, and that is a very generous way to share it! Thanks for you comments on all my posts. They are always so affirming and encouraging. I hope you realize what a gift that is to me, and how much I appreciate it.

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  8. I think that is something brings you joy, it must be indulged. Thanks for sharing your joyful noise.

    Some of my most intense emotional memories are related to Christmas when I was a child. They surface even now, some five decades later. For me, it’s gift giving and the treats.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right, Maggie. Now more than ever, we should indulge in the things that bring us true joy, as we could all use a lift to our spirits after the year we’ve endured. And I think there is just something about Christmas that evokes good memories from our childhood, which is so fun. Gift giving and treats are two of the best parts!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it almost makes up for the aching joints and baggy skin, doesn’t it? But there really is a freedom that comes with aging, as we often have more time and resources than we did when we were young, and we also worry a whole lot less about what others think of us. That allows us to have some fun now and then. And thanks for your sweet comment about my decorations!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Cheers to celebrating our inner child at Christmas with the children at any age in our lives! Such a sweet example you share by giving to others and treating yourself with fav treats and decorations. It’s a good feeling to see the Christmas spirit alive and well!

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  10. I liked this a lot. Your post was a gentle reminder that all of us should recognize our inner child once in a while. I like that you didn’t leave out the fact that you’re “more experienced, if not actually wiser.” There’s probaly other benefits as well but I’d have to think too hard to remember what they are. It’s nice that you’re still well-connected with your younger self, Ann. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, sometimes the benefits of aging aren’t easy to remember! But yes, we do need to recognize, and occasionally indulge, our inner child, I think. Because doing so makes us happy, and we really need more of that in the world today. Thanks, Des!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m right there with you, Ann. If we can’t indulge childlike wonder and appreciation at Christmastime, when can we? Although, to be honest, I’d kind of like to get rid of a few of our tackier things, so maybe it’s time for a donation trek to Goodwill?!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have some items that need to be donated as well. I have come to a place in life where I really need less stuff, because excess feels like clutter. Also, I was gifted things that I don’t really like, but felt I should keep because they were gifts. Really, we should just keep our favorite things.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I agree, Linda! We should just keep the decorations that we truly love, because otherwise it’s just stuff sitting in boxes to be dragged out once a year, and there’s no joy in that. You’d never know it to look at my house, but every year I do thin out my collection a bit and donate the stuff I no longer want. But then I replace it with other stuff, which may explain why my house is so crowded with Christmas decorations.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Definitely donate the decorations you no longer enjoy! Because I’ve gotten some of my favorite ones from second-hand stores and garage sales….you know what they say about “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure!” And tacky is always in the eye of the beholder, especially if that beholder has tapped into her inner child.

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  12. Good post! I am about the same age and have the same thinking as you. I look my age on the outside, but inside I am the same person as I have always been (with more life experience). Sometimes people post photos of “vintage” items and ask who knows what those things are. Haha I usually know, or maybe I even have one.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think the biggest surprise about aging is that we feel almost exactly the same on the inside. Who knew? Of course my parents and grandparents told me that when I was young, but I guess I didn’t really believe them. And I know what you mean about those vintage posts…I always know what they are, and often still own one!

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  13. You always make me smile and that is a wonderful thing! 🙂 You are so right. We must indulge our inner child and that is what keeps us ‘young at heart’. It is said that age is just a number, and I believe that to be true. Some people seem old at the age of thirty and some ‘elderly’ folks still seem to have that ‘magical fountain of youth’. The truth is that we must make the ‘magic’. And it is well worth the effort. Everyone ages. Why not just embrace the moments and celebrate each and every day? This is our life, and all the seasons and times are precious.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for letting me know that my posts make you smile, as that makes me smile! And I love your last line especially. Because you are so right, this really is our life and all of it is precious, even our “golden years.” I’m not sure when our society decided that aging is always a bad thing, because it is just a natural part of life, and while we do lose things as we grow older, we also gain some very special gifts!

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  14. Oh, always remember you’re a child inside yourself – I do! It’s how I get through life. 🙂

    As for signs of getting older… I came across a bookmark just yesterday to a multicoloured shirt on one of the shopping sites and had marked it “this is meant to be fancy-dress.” It was for people dressing up as hippies…. Oh boy, does that ever date me… my generation’s clothing is now the younger generations’ idea of dress-up costumes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, yes, I remember the first time I realized that the clothes of my youth are now acceptable costumes for themed parties, and it seemed very weird to me. But I suppose it’s only natural. And as long as we recognize the child that is still very much alive inside us, it’s also okay. Thanks for the comment, Val!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. One person’s tacky is another’s chic! It is always fun to haul out the traditional ornaments. My Christmas tree wouldn’t be complete without my grandfather’s hand blown ornaments from Germany. They are over a hundred years old now. Someday I’ll pass them down to my sons… and the tradition will continue! The stockings are hung – mine was purchased my first Christmas (62 years ago) and I made each of the boys one at their first Christmas. Even my husband has one that I made when we got married – since he didn’t have one… They are kind of old fashioned looking but the memories are there,

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    • I think that antique hand-blown ornaments from Germany sound wonderful! And that fact that they came from your grandfather make them even more special. I have a little Santa band that really is kind of ugly, but it is from both my father and my aunt, who passed away before I was born. I can’t remember a Christmas when they weren’t displayed, so they are special to me and I put them out every year!

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  16. Christmas is a time when traditions old & new are celebrated. Whether it’s putting out an old tattered decoration we hold very dear in our heart or a brand new shiny treasure, each represents a season which fills our hearts with nostalgia. We could all benefit from spending time with a little one, seeing things through their eyes & allowing our inner child to shine through. So happy you found yours💕

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Lynn! And you’re right, it’s both the old and the new that gives us joy. Every year I hear a new Christmas song that I really like (or sometimes simply a new version of an old song, but you know what I mean), and it is added to my list of holiday favorites. Whatever gives us joy at this time of year is a good thing!

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  17. What a great post – loved the Santas! I don’t love Christmas but I always decorate a little. On a normal year all the lunches and parties have me exhausted so there is a Covid reprieve? I recently grew out my salt and pepper hair and it is a sandy color. The checkout guy looked at me carefully before allowing my much needed wine to go through. Maybe he thought I was one of these youngsters that like dyeing their hair gray??

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    • You know, I’m a little sad about missing some of the Christmas gatherings we usually have, but it also is a bit of a reprieve from a very busy time of year. This year, I have more time to focus on the other aspects of Christmas. And I’ll still connect with everyone this year, it just won’t always be in person, and mostly not in the same room. But that’s okay, as long as we let our loved ones know we love them, that’s all that really matters.

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  18. I love Christmas and decorating. Although the gift buying thing has had me sad the last few years . . . but whatever. I am thinking about you A LOT because you mentioned in your last post how all of your decorations have a place. Well, how is it you remember them? I know where I put some things, but then sometimes I hold something and wonder, “Where should this go?” I have started taking pictures so I know where I put things from year to year. But I think I get new things and they oust the old things from spots. Or like this year, I have a dance studio in my living room so the whole arrangement has changed. At least our tree this year is narrower than it normally is so I actually have room to teach. My lateral traveling might be smaller this month still (because it does take up more room than what we had there). I keep laughing and wishing I knew – like you do – where things go!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Honestly, the first few years I decorated, I didn’t always remember where I liked to put things. But as time goes by, it gets easier, mostly. But here’s my secret: sometimes I do rely on pictures from previous years just to tell me how I decorated before. Especially for the shelf in my back room, and the ribbons on the front…so there’s no harm in that at all. Plus, if each year you just put things where they look good to you, you can’t go wrong!

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      • Yeah, I just LOVE Christmas decorations, but when I don’t remember where something goes it just takes A LOT longer. I love just being able to pick it up and set it down in its spot. HA! Seems like I am always changing things and not on purpose! HA!

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  19. Getting older is oddly liberating. You should have seen my husband and I walking the dog this morning..it’s chilly in florida and we don’t have a huge selection of winter gear so I’m wearing a big straw hat with sweats and a rain parka thing and my husband is wearing his old olive green fatigue jacket and yes, sandals. So yeah..tacky holiday deco? – love it!

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    • You’re right, it’s only the physical changes that can be hard to deal with. But as our bodies wear down, our mind keeps right on learning and we often become much more comfortable with who we truly are. And that’s a good thing! We can most certainly still have fun!

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  20. Thanks for the invitation to “come out and play” this Christmas. I’ve been bah-humbug these past few years and was thinking that I’d be even more so this year. Instead, your post has encouraged me to make an effort. Not sure how far I’ll go in my own house, but I do plan to be more generous of spirit when it comes to others.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My advice would be to do whatever brings you happiness this Christmas. Maybe the strange year we’re living in will mean you can enjoy a simpler version of the holidays, which you might even like better. Sometimes the hectic schedules that Christmas can bring get overwhelming, and at least that won’t be a problem this year!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Good for you! We need more whistling in the dark. My tendency has been to whittle down my Christmas decorations in recent years. But this year I hung lights out front to hopefully cheer up my neighbors, and I’m even contemplating a big tree (many years we only do small ones, although I do have three of them). We’ll be having Christmas alone with our dogs, but I dropped off a bag of gifts for my son and his family, and I donated toys at my local bank’s Toys for Tots.

    Mostly, I’m trying to be open to joy. Hopefully that’s working. : )

    Liked by 1 person

    • It sounds as if you are doing a lot to celebrate Christmas this year, even when we can’t have our traditional celebrations. I do think we need to do whatever cheers us up this year, and I’ve noticed that so many houses have lots of outdoor lights on them. I love that…it’s a way of spreading the cheer to anyone who is passing. The time will come when we can gather again; and until then…we do the best we can!

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  22. I am very thankful you are not changing the name of your blog as we are the same age. =) I love your encouragement to indulge our inner child. I’m with you in feeling much younger on the inside. I am often surprised when I see my face in the mirror. Who is that? But, lately, I’ve seen my granny’s face in mine, even the same wrinkles, and that makes me happy. Your Christmas decorations are adorable. They made me smile. I wasn’t going to put any up this year as we are not in a settled situation. But, I did put up the few bits I had after-all, and they make me feel joy especially when I plug the lights in on my small tree each day. That’s all that matters. Merry Christmas, Ann!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love that you see your grandmother’s face in yours…that makes aging worth it! And I’m also glad you put up a few decorations that give you joy. That’s the whole purpose of decorations. Once, when I was at college, I put up a tiny tree in my dorm room, complete with lights. I left them on all night, and every morning when I woke up on a cold and dark December, that tree was the first thing I saw, and it warmed my heart no end. Merry Christmas to you too!

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    • Yeah, I think one of these days I’ll have to change the name of this blog to that….. it’s certainly accurate! And I did enjoy my decorating this year, and even added a few things because I figured we needed it to keep ourselves cheerful. Lots of people must have felt that way, because one of my favorite December activities has been to drive around at night and look at all the wonderful lights. I’ve never seen so many people put up outdoor lights and it’s just been beautiful.

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