Fifty Things to Remember

I turned fifty today. Yay, me! Not really.

Please do not leave me “Aw…Happy Birthday Karen!” comments because I will not pick you as my teammate when I play my next pick up game of shuffle board.

Turning fifty is not really that great but what choice do I have? The alternative is not that much better.

So instead of blowing out the million candles – I’m sorry, but that’s how many they will look to me

and having a slice of 1000 calories – because from now on, e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. will go to my waist, I’m told

I thought I’d list things I or we  should remember – because, again, I’m told, I’ll forget if I don’t write them down.

But to be fair, I’m going to list 25 things I should remember first and I tell you 25 things you should remember.

I didn’t want you to feel left out….consider them my present to you on my birthday!

chestnut

First Chestnut of the Season

25 Things I Should Remember…

    1. Breathe – because I still can.
    2. Drink more – alcohol, that is.
    3. Sleep less – beauty sleep did diddly squat so far so I’m changing my circadian rhythm.
    4. Exercise more – I promise I’ll walk to my fridge and flex my biceps by opening it more often. And flex some more by putting various nutritional (and non-nutritional at my discretion) food  items in my mouth.  Often.
    5. Laugh  more – I see myself in the mirror every morning so I think I’m good on this department.
    6. Travel – if dropping my college boy at his school by driving 12 hours in traffic through four states and around D.C. doesn’t count, then, I’m screwed with this one.
    7. …that chronological age might be whining at 50 and my body’s biological age is happily at 40, but my psychological age is rockin’ at 30! to the 90′s tunes!
    8. My “Accidental Recycler” is an impatient and fickle man who would love to change his car every year if he can but is married to me for 23 years. Either he forgot how many years he’s been married to me or I still “got it!”
    9. My two kids are envy of every parents but these hardworking, sometimes oblivious, respectful, sometimes self-absorbed teeny boppers actually still want to be my kids. After all, they do have a choice, unlike when they were born.
    10. My parents, also, want me around, still. And to leave me everything they own in their will, including their souvenir spoon collection from far away and exotic places like the Poconos.
    11. My brothers are not my kids and that just because one lives in Las Vegas doesn’t mean I’d find him on Texas Hold ‘Em on TV. But if you see an Asian male wearing a baseball cap and a pair of Ray Ban’s on ESPN’s Poker Championship, e-mail me. Or that just because one works in real estate in Manhattan doesn’t mean he will be working for Trump any time soon. But if you see a handsome Asian dude on Trump’s, “Apprentice”, e-mail me.
    12. My in-laws are rare and exceptional. They shouldn’t be called “In-Laws” but rather my second set of parents. Actually, in some ways, they are better than my own parents. (Don’t tell my first set of parents.) They don’t nag. They don’t tell me I should do it “this way or that” way. They don’t tell me I should call more often. Instead, they tell me, we are doing a great job in raising their grandkids. They tell me I should nag their son more (This alone is enough, isn’t it?). They tell me not to come home and don’t travel during the crazy holiday seasons. (Don’t you want to just adopt them?)

      Chipmunk trying to see if I'm a predator or a jerk with a camera. (Click to enlarge)

    13. Forgive and forget those whom I don’t talk to for silly reasons. I don’t want them coming to my funeral and regretting not talking to me while I was still alive. And they will come because that’s how we are. Silly.
    14. People I only exchange Christmas cards once a year aren’t really my friends. They are paid employees of Hallmark.
    15. My true friends aren’t the ones I talk to every day or who send me birthday cards every year. True friends know my middle name.
    16. Just because I don’t see, hear, taste, feel or smell doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and it does not matter. Quite the contrary. It’s the ones that I don’t know about that matter.
    17. The earth will survive without my meddling…..just not in a comfortable clean way though. So I have to meddle. That’s my forte. Meddling. Just ask my accidental recycler. He’ll tell you I’m a pro at meddling.
    18. I love purple. I might forget this and paint my wall in some stupid industry recommended color that I never liked. It’s time to paint in colors that I like, regardless what they say, damn it! 
    19. Although I don’t eat meat, I eat fish and ….I love fish eggs. I know. It’s cruel. But although I won’t eat caviar – for ethical and financial reasons – I love raw or cooked fish eggs. Oy, all those thousands and millions of what could have been fish….maybe I’ll quit now. No, I can’t! What would Nemo say? I can pretend to be Dory and forget that those are fish eggs, can’t I? No?
    20. English was my worst subject. Grammar is my mortal enemy. Why do you need “a’s” and “the’s” in English language???
    21. Teach Emily how to use the sewing machine. It doesn’t matter if she’s going to be a doctor or a lawyer. Everybody should learn to sew, including men. I taught Andrew how to sew a button and  gave him a sewing kit when he left for college. Don’t ask me if he still has it though.
    22. Always have a dog. My family is my saving grace. But my Rosey is my shadow, therapist, companion, and biggest fan no matter what I do or how I look.
    23. I can bang out Fur Elise  and Moonlight Sonata  on the ivory like it’s no one’s business.
    24. Always dream. Without it, there is no reason to go to sleep or wake up in the morning.
    25.  The best part of my journey is yet to come. And the next time I write 25 things to remember will be just one thing – “Man, I had a great life!

Lichen

25 Things You Should Remember…

    1. I love you!
    2. Brush your teeth every morning. You would be surprised how many people don’t know how oral hygiene affects your heart health, which affects your mood and ultimately affects how cranky you’d be towards me. So this was all coming from my selfishness.
    3. Drink  glass of warm water, the first thing in the morning. This is just one of many sage advice from my mother-in-law. She’s generous that way. I told you my in-laws are amazing!
    4. You are only leasing this planet temporarily. You don’t own it. Take care of it. And return it in the condition when you leased it. Your children will be leasing it next and you wouldn’t want to give it them broken or filled with garbage. You don’t do that when you return your leased car, why would you do that with the one planet we all share?
    5. I love surprises. The good kinds.
    6. Pass your time actively and not passively. Watching T.V. is not an active way to spend time, no matter how many times you have to yell at the screen or flex your Extensor Pollicis Brevis muscle, it’s not an active activity. In fact, it shouldn’t even be called, an activity.
    7. Never go to sleep angry. It’s bad for bruxism.
    8. Surround yourself with positive and happy  people. Your time is limited. Why would you want to waste it with people who drag you down? You do that well all on your own. You don’t need help on that department. It’s about time other people help you, not hurt you. Ditch those who don’t add to your happiness.
    9. Love those who want to be in your life. They are smart enough to know that you are cool so, act cool and love those smart people.
    10. Do one kind act a day. The universe knows. It pays you back hundred times over.
    11. Don’t pick your nose in public. It’s just not  a pretty sight to see someone picking his nose in public. I know it’s one of those bodily acts we all do – admit it! – but in public? Purleeeez. It’s just not pretty, no matter whether you are in France or middle of nowhere. Someone is noticing. Trust me. And yes, I can see you through the car window too. 
    12. Along with #11, don’t spit in public either.
    13. Drink responsibly. And that goes for even soda. You don’t need to drink 5 cans of Coke a day to feel alive. If 5 cans of soda is what it takes, then, you need to sleep more and or have sex less.
    14. Listen more and talk less. You don’t learn anything by talking. If you are talking, you already know the subject. If you listen, you learn what you don’t know.
    15. Even if you are not political, take a stand and learn to feel one way or the other. It matters.
    16. Money doesn’t buy you happiness, but you knew that. But money buys food for those who don’t have the basic staples for survival. Send a buck or two to an organization that you feel passionate about. It’ll feed a person, save a life, or even an animal.

Wisdom Tree

    1. Life really is short. Live it to the fullest. That’s not an empty cliché. It’s really true. Who knew I’d be writing this on my fifth birthday. Freaking FIFTY! So, before it’s too late, do something you always wanted to do. Whether it’d be learning to tango, traveling to Osh Kosh, or learning how to speak Swahili. Do it before you lose all your marbles.
    2. Electronic gadgets can make your life easy but it can’t create life. Don’t rely on it as if your life depend on it. Unless you’re talking about a defibrilater, no gadget will make a difference in your life or death.
    3. One week from today, earth’s population will reach 7 billion. If you have claustrophobia, I feel for you. If you feel lonely, may be you haven’t heard the news yet? Where are you hanging out?
    4. Live as if you were dying. There are many Steve Job’s quotes but this is my favorite and no, I’m not dying. But I’d like to live as if I was dying, from now on.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. … Stay hungry. Stay foolish. ~Steve Jobs~

  1. Listen to music. Pick a genre. Having music permeate the air and into your brain, not only soothe your mind but there are cellular changes that will happen. Pick your favorite and let it transport you to a place that inspire you. Mine is piano music, whether it’s Beethoven, Mozart, or Chopin, and sometimes even George Winston. Piano music always brings me back to my roots. It’s comforting as a bowl of hot soup in my soul.
  2. Don’t say “Sorry”. Apologize. Saying sorry is never enough. If you did commit an act that needs repentance, apologize and explain what you shouldn’t have done. Saying ‘Sorry” doesn’t mean anything. And better than that? Don’t even be in the position where you have to apologize. Think before you speak and think before you act. There are ways to pick up spilled milk but not words.
  3. Bookmark this page and read it over tomorrow. It’ll bring a different meaning the second time around.
  4. Don’t remember my birthday but remember your own. And thank your mom and dad for having you. Birthdays are really their day.
  5. Even though I said these last 25 things were for you to remember, it was really for me. They just didn’t come to me when I wrote the first 25 and I was too lazy to change the format. But seriously, I wish you the best today and the rest of your life. Trust me, it only gets better.

Happy Birthday to all of you for being born.  After all, without all of you, would there even be a reason to remember these things for?

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39 comments
Lori
Lori

Happy birthday to an amazing woman. I am 57 so welcome to the happy geezer club :) It is amazing to me though that the one thing on your list that hit me in the heart was teaching a young person to use a sewing machine. I own well over 6 machines now including a working treddle in case the power fails :) I do a bit of theatrical costuming as well and have been astounded at how many people do not know how to operate or even thread one. Happiest of birthday years

ecokaren
ecokaren

Thanks Lori! I'm happy to be in your "Happy Geezer Club"! I really do think everyone should know how to sew. It saves so much money! Did you see how much they charge for hemming a pair of pants these days? Highway robbery!!

Lori
Lori

It would never even occur to me to look at the prices charged for hemming pants lol My mom was a seamstress. She made most of her own clothing and you could honestly wear her hand made clothing inside out and no one would have known the difference. She is the person who taught all 7 of her children to be independent, creative and self sufficient. Both my parents were composters and organic gardeners back in the 50's when all our neighbors thought we were the weird family. It is kind of fun to finally be popular ;)

Christine at Rustic Carvings
Christine at Rustic Carvings

I love this post, Karen! Always enjoy your sense of humor. :) Even if I'm just now reading it. Baby getting ready-ness going on over here, which is my excuse for everything during the 8th month of pregnancy. And...."Aw....happy birthday, Karen!" *Sorry, couldn't resist.* xoxo

ecokaren
ecokaren

Aww...thanks Christine. I hope you started your "things to remember list" because once the little munchkin arrives, your life, as you know it, is over and you won't remember a thing! I promise you. Enjoy your last few weeks of freedom...with your marbles intact!

Natanya Elka (@NatanyaElka)
Natanya Elka (@NatanyaElka)

I'm in *love* with this post, my fellow Scorpio! I knew I liked you for a reason... haha. And when my birthday comes tomorrow (yup), I'll be thinking of how I stumbled across your amazing list. Thank you for being you. xoxo, Nat

ecokaren
ecokaren

Happy Birthday Nat!! Scorpios rule!! I know your list would be a very short one since you are just a baaaabyyyy! Hope you have a great day! :)

Lydia Krupinski
Lydia Krupinski

These are wonderful Karen! Thank you for sharing.

ecokaren
ecokaren

Thanks Lydia! I'm glad you enjoyed them. They are like the "laugh lines" on my face. You don't realize you are making them until its too late. But they are wonderful reminders of how great your life has been to you.

Lori Popkewitz Alper
Lori Popkewitz Alper

Happy everything Karen! The list is superb-thanks for sharing.

ecokaren
ecokaren

Thanks Lori! I couldn't keep 'em all to myself. Besides, I really need reminders on everything these days...."Now, where did I put my..."

Nikki Hall-Permell
Nikki Hall-Permell

Karen, There are some great nuggets of wisdom in here (they would just be bits of information if you weren't 50 :) I turned 30 this past summer, so I can appreciate the humor in your post! This was a truly charming article. It's always nice when a simple blog post can make you smile and think about the good things in life at the same time! Cheers to many more years of Meddling and LIVING!! Hugs, Nikki

ecokaren
ecokaren

OMG! You can be my daughter! My mom was fifty when I turned thirty! That is just wrong. Really wrong.

Earnest Efforts
Earnest Efforts

How wonderful. You made me laugh & think simultaneously. Thank you for the birthday gift, Heth

ecokaren
ecokaren

If you can "laugh & think simultaneously" - and not pee - you still have all your marbles. Congratulations!

joon
joon

Happy Birthday, Karen. Wonderful post. I just turned 55. I am overdue for my 50 list. I'll put that in my hopper. Love yours and am so happy to know you. I am not sure if I can be considered an un-friend though. (because I don't know your middle name?) I think of you as a friend. I have told you before, but I look forward to meeting you. I know we will wind up in the same place at least once in the next 50 years. :) By the way, every time I see the word dessert now I think of you. Here's to a beautiful year. ox joon

ecokaren
ecokaren

Yes, you did straightened me out with the spelling of d.e.S.S.e.r.t. and I can't thank you enough! And I sounded so smart when I taught my daughter the trick. :) Now, can you teach me why we need 'The's" and "A's"???

Katherine
Katherine

What a wonderful post!! Thanks for the pearls of wisdom and reminders peppered with wit and humor. Wishing you full and happy days ahead.

ecokaren
ecokaren

Thank You Katherine, You know, whenever I see your bags made out of sail, I think of sailing around the world...you know, to travel (#6 on the first half), to do something I never did before (#17 on the second half)... Maybe for my next post.....???

Katherine
Katherine

I think it's a great idea for a post. I think it's really important to pay attention to what triggers us and listen to our responses - take inventory and connect to what makes us happy/motivated/excited. That's something I'm trying to do more and more these days. Got an itch for sailing around the world? Look into it! Maybe you'll find that acting on it isn't practical (kids, $$, time, etc) but, if it is - go for it! However, don't ignore your initial reaction - there's something to it. Break it down the impulse to travel and to do something you never did into manageable bites that can be done sooner rather than later. Good luck and have fun!

martina oehlinger
martina oehlinger

Karen your middle name must be - "beautiful soul" ! 50 or whatever age you are - it is just a number and as you already know so well it gets better by the day. May they celebrate you properly - all of them brothers, parents, ex laws, husband and kids and many real friends. Enjoy your day & life. Thank you for YOU.

ecokaren
ecokaren

Martina, Beauty really must be in the eyes of the beholder, because, your beautiful soul sees hearts in everything and everywhere when all we see are just plain ... nothing. Thank You for your lovely interpretation.

Evon Cassier
Evon Cassier

Poignant and funny! You are a wise one, Karen. Happy Birthday. We are lucky you were born.

ecokaren
ecokaren

I'm blessed to be surrounded by friends who get my sense of humor so I'm the one who is lucky! ;)

Mary
Mary

Many happy returns of the day to your mom, for giving the world such a great person! Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom and continuing to grace us with your humor. I'm wearing purple today, in your honor :)

ecokaren
ecokaren

Thank you, Mary. I think we, you would look mah-ve-lus in purple. You look marvelous in a.n.y.t.h.i.n.g. :)

Lynn
Lynn

you crack me up! i can't wait to read your next post in 25 years ;)

ecokaren
ecokaren

I better start writing them now since I'll forget.

soulrole
soulrole

yeah.I hear ya lady.I am turning 41 this week and was just telling my hubbie "I though 40 sounded bad,but 41 is even WORSE!"So unhappy birth day to you ;) May we live in purple rooms,and ENJOY our lives.You are an amazing inspiring person who does so much good in the world.The Earth eas truly BLESSED by your BIRTH!

ecokaren
ecokaren

I just got chills with gratitude reading your kind words......which is great because I was on the verge of having another hot flash.

Lisa J
Lisa J

So did the AARP magazine start showing up yet? :) I love hearing your voice in here, full of humor and wisdom. (and I'm not going to make a crack about being old and wise, promise) I hope this coming year is good to you and the year after that, even better. AW HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

ecokaren
ecokaren

Actually, AARP magazine was how I knew I was turning 50. Who has the time to do arithmetic? (or wants to?) But the good news is, I'm in the company of many hunky people who grace the covers, like Antonio Banderas, Raquel Welch, etc. I'm just waiting for the magazine's people to call my people. Oh, did you like my lichen? There are others but I thought the pattern on this one was pretty.

Kanelstrand
Kanelstrand

Oh, Karen, i wonder if I am to count as a friend if I admit that your middle name is Karen, the first one of course being Eco! You made my cheeks hurt of laughter, I think you should change the direction of your blogging purposes and specialize in comedy. You will make so many people cry with laughter! And since I am forbidden to say the words, I should probably humbly post this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNCBs-rHG7M and run as fast as I can! P.S. I truly enjoyed our shared 50 things, really worth bookmarking and reading again. Each day.

ecokaren
ecokaren

Ohhhh......one of my absolute favorite musical numbers!! Love this tune....so much better than when Marilyn wished JFK, Happy Birthday. But regard to the direction of my blogging....this was it. It took me 50 years to come up with this so if I had to rely on 'comedy', it would take another fifty and it ain't gonna be funny the next time.

La Alicia
La Alicia

lol, age is just a number! I still love ya! :)

ecokaren
ecokaren

Yes, it is just a number but in some countries, I can get a seat on a bus, based on my number .

Rachel
Rachel

Happy Birthday Karen! (I left out the "Aw..." so will I still be picked as your teammate for shuffle board?)

ecokaren
ecokaren

Thanks Rachel. I think you are too young to play shuffle board with me at a place where I would be playing. ;)

Rachel
Rachel

Haha! I'm only 3 years behind you so save me a spot on your team! Loved your list, Karen.

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