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This was a Big. Birthday. Weekend. A birthday I’d been thinking about for a long time. Yes, the big Five-Oh. Fifty! Me? Yes, indeed.

I’m big on celebrations for just about any reason. Especially as we age, we must be purposeful in maintaining joie de vivre — the enjoyment of life. My personal motto has become, Celebrate: just because.

Celebrate the interview, don’t wait to see if you get an offer. Celebrate the friendship, don’t wait for her birthday or promotion. Celebrate the journey, don’t wait for the next big transition. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring; celebrate today.

So that is what I did about turning Five-Oh: I celebrated.

Two Saturdays past, I spent with my girls at my favorite Adirondack destination, Lake Placid, NY. One of the girls is very pregnant, so this might well have been her last luxury for awhile. Both of the others are mommies who appreciate a few hours baby-free. We enjoyed lovely spa treatments and lunch, refreshing margaritas and laughter. The best part is that it was their idea.

The next day, I left for a week of work in Boston. The final day of my trip, I dropped by the Apple store on Boylston just before the airport. What a treat! I knew what I wanted to buy before I stepped through the doors. It was easy enough to justify, with a big birthday ahead. It was just so much more fun to buy in a beautiful Apple store store than online. The sales clerks were all too happy to help me celebrate. ;=)

On Wednesday past, I had dinner and drinks with some dear colleagues … who could not resist a round of the birthday song. I embraced their harmonious effort as a gift, an expression of love. It was wonderful to spend an evening among treasured friends.

On Friday night, the Hubs treated the family to dinner on the back patio at one of our favorite restaurants. Fresh lobster on any North Country menu is cause for celebration in and of itself! It was quiet on the patio, the river slipping easily over the dam behind us as daylight faded into a lovely summer evening. What a gift.

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On Saturday, I rose early to grocery shop and pack a picnic lunch. We set off with the grandboys, Ollie and Henry, and lady baby, Sadie, for the Central Agricultural Farm and Museum in  the heart of Ottawa. What a fantastic place and so much fun to return, after all these years, with grandchids.

The Hubs couldn’t take time off, what with Rosie due to arrive any moment and knowing he will cover for her daddy when she does. But the rest of us sure enjoyed the squeals and giggles of little boys surrounded by farm animals they’ve seen only in storybooks  — except for cows and kitties, of course. Goats, sheep, and alpaca; horses and cows; ducks, chickens and rabbits — oh my! It was a near-perfect day.

The only thing lacking was baby Rosie. Then we will surely celebrate again!

But truth be told, I’m not planning to close out this birthday celebration yet. I’m still trying to connect with a few friends spread afar. And I’m waiting for two of my sisters to arrive, mid-August. Then there’s another get-away day planned and a lot of catching up to do.

Finally, in October, the Hubs has planned a wonderful cruise. His big Five-Oh is still ahead. We’re celebrating in between our birthdays this year by visiting a few bucket list places: Quebec City, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland. Bonus: Saint Pierre and Miquelon! Who knew France still owned territory in the “New World”? So exciting!

One thing I hope is clear: it’s neither about turning fifty nor is it about me. It’s about richness of relationships that make life worth living, maintained across decades and generations. It’s a privilege to turn 50 or 60, or 70 or 80. It’s a joy to live in proximity to family. It’s an honor to remain close to sisters from childhood and girlfriends from grade school, to reconnect with colleagues spanning a career and good friends gathered up like treasures over time. To each I say, let’s celebrate.

~ Rene Morley

20140608-223252.jpgThe babies’ blue Ts were a gift from my cousin, as we were celebrating this spring in Arizona. The boys’ Ts say: If you mess with me, you mess with my Grandma. You don’t want to mess with my Grandma! Sadie’s T says: She’s not my Grandma, she’s my Glamma!  ;=)

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