50 Years of Being Together!

50th Anniversary Picture

Last weekend, we threw a surprise 50th wedding anniversary party for my in-laws.  As I was planning for the centerpieces and decorations, I found that most craft and party stores had very little for a 50th anniversary party. There were a lot of things for a 25th, but not a 50th.

Fifty years is a long time to do anything, but especially to be with the same person every single day of your life.  Every marriage has ups and downs, but it seems that the key is going through life together.  Together, they endured hardships and pain.  Together, they shared the joys of raising two sons and working hard to make a good life for their family. Together, they created many happy memories with families and friends and together, they have remained.  For fifty years!

I got to thinking…how many people in my generation will get the chance to celebrate 50 years of marriage? Let’s face it. Once a couple marries, there are only two ways to not remain married – divorce or death.

As far as divorce goes, most people in our parents’ generation have stayed married (sometimes for the wrong reasons). The divorce rate is very high in our country and many of the people who are divorced are of my generation.  But I have hope.  I really believe that the fact that many people are getting married when they’re a little older may lead to more lasting marriages. People can get the partying and carousing out early and not want to do it once they are already married.

Getting married in my 30’s was right for me.  No way I was ready to settle down in my 20’s, and I don’t think my husband would have been either. I think you know yourself better as you get older and have a deeper sense of commitment and loyalty.  Many of my friends also got married in their 30’s and their marriages are also going strong.  That is not to say that if you marry young, it will not last, but with everything going on in today’s world, I think people really need to know themselves first and know what they truly want out of life before making a lifetime commitment to another person.

As for the “death” part – luckily, we are living longer and longer which also makes me think that celebrating 50 years is more feasible. With new medical technology and early detection, illnesses are being identified early and cures are more possible.

So, to all the craft and party stores that currently do not have supplies for 50th anniversaries – better get those shelves stocked!  A new generation of golden anniversaries will be coming in the next few decades!!  Get ready!

It Happened…

As I opened up my blog today, I took a look at the categories on my page.  I was scanning down when I saw the one titled, “Since I am going to be 40.” Well, it happened. I am now the big 4-0. And yes, life IS a little different than when I was in my 30s.  I didn’t wake up that morning feeling any different. I didn’t do anything special that day (I had to work), but I did look in the mirror to study my now 40 year-old face.  I didn’t notice any new wrinkles (thank you, Mom, for starting me on a moisturizing routine when I was in my teens), no dark circles under my eyes. Yet. No sagging skin. Yet.  But I know these things will come slowly but surely over the next decade and I sighed. Where had life gone?  It seemed only yesterday that my friends through me a surprise party when I turned 30 and now, here I am 10 years later. Ugh.

I am not sure why 40 is such a difficult age for women.  Some women fear turning 30 more than 40, but 30 did not really bother me. I still felt young and vibrant and attractive.  I have a few friends a little older (and wiser) than me and they all said that your 30s are your best years.  I have to say, they were definitely the best decade of my life thus far. I had the most wonderful times with my girlfriends, met and married the man of my dreams and advanced in my career. Now, there is a very strong possibility that I killed a few (dozen) brain cells during this time from drinking adult beverages (and lots of them) but I think I have enough left that I will be okay. At least, I hope.

My girlfriends and I got together last night for some drinks and dinner and our conversations proved that we were definitely all officially 40 and above (I am one of the youngest in the group). After talking about how most of us were on medication for high blood pressure, we then went into discussing the increasing number of gray hairs popping up (not just on our heads), acid reflux and the fact that we all have to work out way longer and harder than we did years ago to stay in shape. Yep. These were the topics of our Friday night conversations.

We also gave advice to a 30 year-old (my darling cousin) about dating.  She is recently divorced and has never been on the dating scene.  She was with her husband since high school and has NO CLUE what is out there.  We all chimed in and gave her our advice since we could write a book on the horrific and comedic dating experiences we’ve all had (some of us had been dating for 20 years before we met the right man!)  Here were some of our best tips:  Don’t sleep with him on the first date. Don’t only get to know him through Facebook or other social media.  Make him take you out and talk face to face. Don’t sleep with him on the first date.  Don’t settle for less than what you want.  Don’t get drunk on the first date.  Make sure he has a job.  Don’t sleep with him on the first date.  Remember, pictures can be posted anywhere and have lasting effects on your reputation and even your career. (Thank God there was no such thing as Instagram and Facebook when we were in our prime!) Don’t sleep with him on the first date. Watch how he treats his mother and other women in his life.  Don’t sl…you get the picture…

I just hope that she listens to her elders (dear Lord, that’s what we are now) and enjoys her 30s as much as we did. Well, actually, since she’s my little cousin, I hope she enjoys them just a little less than we did… 🙂

My Friends, My Sisters

Yesterday, I had a wonderful and delicious Sunday brunch with some of my closest friends.  At one point, while sipping my mimosa, I looked at the faces of those I hold so dear to my heart and smiled.  Wow.  We really have been through a lot over the years and yet, we are still close.  There’s been good dates, bad dates, break-ups, make-ups, engagements,  marriages, babies, divorces, illnesses, sick parents and deaths of loved ones. Through it all, we were always there for each other to offer support and encouragement and I know that will never change.

When I was single, my friends became the sisters I never had.  Being in the dating scene, working as teachers and coming from close families, we always had a lot to talk about.  Plus, we were girls! In fact, we became known as “the girls” to our colleagues and families. We would work out together, eat together, go out on weekends together and even vacation together. It might seem like a lot, but always being together felt natural. And we had fun.  Boy, did we have fun! We made many lasting memories filled with lots of drinks, laughs and smiles (and a few incriminating photos!).  While some our other friends and acquaintances were planning their weddings and how many children they were going to have, we single girls were planning our happy hours and weekend getaways. Of course, there were little squabbles amongst us from time to time, but nothing terrible. And that’s not really unusual in a family.  You disagree, or get on each other’s nerves once in a while, and then you move on and you move forward – together.

Over the past six years, many changes have occurred  in the lives of the girls – most of us are married, some have children and I no longer live in the area.  Some friendships do not stand the test of time after moving, marriage or children.  We all know people who have gotten married or had children and seem to completely disappear.  The friendship dwindles down more and more until the only communication you have is through  Christmas cards or text messages around the holidays.  You lose the bond of friendship you had with the person and they end up what they started as, an acquaintance.

As we get older, we get busier and become less available, especially with children and family obligations.  But my friends – my sisters – have always been there for me and I know that will not change no matter what. Why? Because we still take and make the time for each other. We might not see each other as much, but we still talk or text and when we do get together, it’s like nothing changed.  Thankfully, we all married fantastic men and our husbands all get along really well, which makes getting together as couples just as much fun. But every now and then, we do our “girls” thing.  And it’s wonderful to spend time with my sisters.  After each get together, I realize one thing.  They will always be a part of me and my life. No matter what life may bring- good or bad – we will always be together.  I am truly blessed to have them in my life I love them dearly.

Being Single = Being Lonely? NO WAY!

“People think that being alone makes you lonely, but I don’t think that’s true. Being surrounded by the wrong people is the loneliest thing in the world.”  – Kim Culbertson

For some reason, being alone and feeling lonely has become synonymous with being single and this simply is not true.  Take it from someone who did not get married until she was 36.  They are two different things!

According to dictionary.com,

the  definition of alone is :  separate, apart or isolated from others

the definition of single is: only one in number, one only

There are plenty of people in relationships and even marriages who are alone –  emotionally, mentally and even physically – because they are with the wrong people. Many people are in love with the idea of marriage, but not their spouses. Some couples do not even appear to LIKE each other, let alone LOVE each other.  They spend as much time at work as they can because they do not want to go home to their significant other. Or when they are home, they are in separate rooms or doing separate things, taking separate vacations, making separate plans and eventually become separated, apart and isolated from the person who is supposed to love them the most. Yet, they do not want to be single. God forbid. Then they will really be lonely, right?

Although I was single for most of my life, I never felt “separate” or “apart” from others and certainly not “isolated” just because I was not romantically involved with someone at all times.  I was not alone. I always had my friends and family around me. I am not going to lie,  I felt an emptiness from time to time (I hated going to weddings by myself unless my other single girlfriends were there) but not loneliness, though I am sure that people assumed that because I was single, I had to be lonely.  But I really wasn’t.

Some people are alone by choice.  And they are perfectly happy.  Others choose to be alone until the find the person that will bring them happiness and contentment.  They are patient and wise.  We have all felt loneliness at one point or another in our lives.  But true loneliness is not about being alone.  And certainly not about being single.