When We Were Young(er) #NEHS135

When We Were Young(er) #NEHS135

Wasn’t 1976 just a few years ago? It’s been decided by about 180 classmates at our 40th reunion that 58 is indeed – the new 48. The heck with our biological age. We look fabulous.

rhawnhurst1Our high school class had about 1,100 students – huge by any high school standard. We are the tail end of the Baby Boomers; the beginning of GenX. Stories of life I listened to throughout our event made me believe even more deeply that our lives are certainly what we mold them to be. We share journeys of our lives – loves and likes, divorces and new marriages, triumphs and challenges – all were inspiring.

There were so many faces that I did not remember – until I connected their name on their tag with the 1976 yearbook face; I’d scan up from the name tag to their face – and their 2016 face was now completely in focus. My new impressions of those faces – Elizabeth, Patty, Marci, Nancy, Ed, Eric, another Ed, Frank, Nick, Janet, Margot, Debbie, Temi, and even my Wing Man, Marc, Jack Merle, Sharon, Aaron, Cindi, Ellen, Mark, the other Mark, Bruce, Harris, Abbe, Howard – and so many others – fill the card file in my brain.

As I was getting ready for the reunion, I did not want to go. I had many things to take care of in my present day life, I did not want to revisit the past. Oh, am I img_2533glad I took the time to be with all these people last night. Because of social media, conversations, in many cases were jump-started by, “So, you have a new house in New Hampshire,” and “Wow, I saw you have two grandchildren.” It’s incredible how many times I was ask, “Are you retired?” or “Are you retired – yet?” Geez – that option is really not on the radar screen.

It’s wonderful some folks at the gathering are retired or semi-retired. Many are traveling, sitting back and enjoying the many years of working so hard to create the lifestyle they want at this vibrant age. Someone practically yelled at me when I mentioned I was concerned that we might only have a good 15 years to enjoy our New Hampshire home the way we want to. And we ended that quick conversation with ‘the 70s will be the new 50s.’

img_2531There were people who could not be at the reunion – and I missed seeing them. They had their reasons; if you are reading this – know that so many people asked about you and hope you are well.

So, I put the dress I wore last night back in the closet. I’m downloading some photos and paging through the class of ’76 yearbook one more time before I put it back on the shelf . I’m so grateful for the memories past and now present – adding to my card file of people and their lives that help me forge ahead toward a happy, new beginning.

What’s Next 2016

Taking a moment to reflect pushes me more toward looking forward. When I read about issues and news stories that ask the question, “How could this have been prevented?” I ask the question, “How can we make changes for our children and their children?” My top three changes start CO2016_09with mind and body.

1. During this year, my hope is to daily, say or do (or at least think) something positive about or to another person. Enough with the negativity; it gets you no where and probably adds to the lines in my face. So, enough. As much or as best as possible, smile, and respond with, “I hear what you’re saying.” Do we really think we’re going to change another person’s mind when they are loaded for bear and ready to take someone’s head off? People don’t change that much; it makes more sense to take positive energy; shrug to yourself and perhaps try to think something positive about that negative person. Plus, I’d like to record weekly, a positive outcome for that week – business, family/friends, personal or something out of the ordinary.

2. After two body part replacements since 2011, I have learned that fitness Sunset7_06is supreme. I get through each workout day in a positive way; my nutrition is key and adds to my positive mindset. For 2016, this journey will continue:

  • Start each day with 20 sips of water (thank you #NBCJennaWolf);
  • Two-three workout days per week with stationary bike action at the house in between and more outside recreation.
  • #OptOutside is tough. We get caught up at the office – which for me is my home – and it’s difficult to carve out at least 30 minutes outdoors. This, I will work on.

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3. Date night keeps things fresh. This is our 25th anniversary year. Marriage is a partnership that grows, ebbs, flows and evolves. It is never perfect. At least once a month – beyond the usual outings – we’ll go to a comedy club, enjoy something cultural and take turns yielding to the other when it comes to things we enjoy doing.

Whatever fits in your world, resolve to make it happen. Find what makes you happy and set out to accomplish the goal – no matter how small or large. Your positive action will sustain you; the positive karma may catch on you those around you and be infectious in a very positive way.

 

When the Goin’ Gets Tough

When the Goin’ Gets Tough

ImageThe heart of any business or personal success is the team you have working on each and every detail.

Look at the Louisville Cardinals team and how those young men banded together to bring home the Midwest Regional trophy while teammate Kevin Ware was carried off the court after suffering a horrendous broken leg. While teammates convulsed in shock and tears streamed down the faces of thousands who watched Ware’s leg snap, the team pulled it together and rallied to put the lid on the regional championship.

I am working with a team of volunteers from Sustainable Cherry Hill and staff members from Cherry Hill Township to put on for the South Jersey region, the 4th Art Blooms Earth Festival. Everyone has a part to play. Volunteers worked with the township police department on safety and route planning for the family-fun bike ride that opens the festival at 9 a.m. Today, I met with John Martorano of Magnum Computer Recycling to find the easiest site location so visitors to the festival April EF2012_20120428_0327th can bring e-waste for safe recycling and disposal. I worked with the Cherry Hill Food Outreach Council which will have a donation station at the festival for non-perishable foods. One of our volunteers has coordinated the entertainment schedule to include several chorus and dance groups and musicians to perform throughout the event. It’s an amazing experience to work with people and maintain a ‘can-do’ attitude so everyone achieves most of what they hope for.

Attitude is everything when it comes to a project involving many people. To have even one team member who seems to work against the grain, can ruin the experience, if not the event, for everyone. The Louisville Cardinals could have folded after they saw what happened to Kevin Ware. The injured Ware yelled to the team to win the game as he was carried out of the stadium. Some hiccups can threaten any event and lead you down the path of ‘CAN’T-do.’ With the team I am fortunate to be associated with – township and Sustainable Cherry Hill – plus our amazing sponsors and supporters – the Cherry Hill Earth Festival and the family-fun bike ride Saturday, April 27th – will be another step toward helping the community and region focus efforts on sustainability in home, work and play.

Thoughts for a Friend

Helping someone can be awkward. You don’t know what to say or do. You question your motives or whether you should get involved at all. Being a friend is about being there. Almost like a marriage: in sickness and in health; in good times and bad. That is how one should be with a true friend. It’s a difficult task.

My friend is in a dark place. Her life is shattered in many ways. The reasons are many and it happened over a very long time. I learned tonight that she is in need of professional help. She’s barely getting through a day. I can feel her pain. There is not much I can do – except just be there. I;ve been doing a lot of listening, but I realize her problems are so complex that I can;t begin to really be of any productive help. She feels alone and lost.

I know deep inside, she’ll find that place where she was long ago when she was a strong, vibrant person with love and laughter in her heart. She has lost that person. Perhaps with the right help, she’ll rediscover who she is and start anew.

I wish I could have helped her more a long time ago; but I did not know the trauma she was experiencing. I wonder if I was truly her friend because I did not know her pain. Some things are so deep, we do not share them even with the closest of friends. In sickness and health; in good times and bad. I will be there for her on the other side of her pain.

Ya Got To Have Friends

Nearly 24 years ago, Doug and I met. We met through a group that formed out of the kindness and creativity of a man named Carl. That group of singles – then called Voorhees Single Professionals – was created long before the internet, Match.com or any other online dating service. Carl created the group out of a desire to connect single people in their 20’s and 30’s to a social life that was tough to find beyond the bar scene at the time. An earlier article in the Philadelphia Inquirer mentioned the beginning of the group in the fall of 1989.

Day10_20100817_27Tonight, more than  23 years later, Carl, his wife Ramona, Rick, Mary, Doug and I – who all met because of this group – had dinner together. I am exhausted. It was as though we had just left a group meeting and had planned weeks of events. We now are planning to get together for a boat ride – the six of us – on the Chesapeake – this coming summer. Ramona volunteered to start a Facebook page so we can begin to plan a September 28th ‘reunion’ of sorts. We want to revisit what Carl started so many years ago – a group of people who want to get together for social activities – a MEET market he proclaimed at the time – NOT a MEAT market – which was the big problem for singles.

The six of us met at our house for drinks and appetizers for about an hour. Our kitchen was filled with non-stop talk. Catching up; talking about our children – successes – failures; things on the horizon. When it came time to leave for our dinner reservation, we continued to talk. The car ride went by in a flash.

At the restaurant, we ordered and continued to catch up on each others’ lives. We talked about people who have passed away; who’ve divorced – but best of all, we reminisced about how each of us met. To remember those days as if they happened yesterday makes you feel as if everything that you’ve gone through – suffered through – survived – is even more meaningful.

What it all comes down to is – as the character Billy Crystal played in “City Slickers” said is ONE thing: if it were not for Carl and his one idea to put an ad in the local shopper’s guide and reserve the community hall in Voorhees on that September night in 1989 – none of us would have met. Our lives would be completely different.

Thank you Carl – forever; we love you. And we’ll plan that reunion for September 28, 2013.

The Bright Side of Life

Half-empty, half full – there are really only two ways to look at things when life throws you curve balls. After  a week that involved a few roller coasters, I am now on the other side realizing that I am mainly one of those half-full kind of gals.

Girls_VA_20121110_04 - CopyWe had a great dinner with neighbors Friday night that changed my perspective a bit. We had socialized with them numerous times several years ago and then stopped hanging out with them. The reasons don’t matter now. What’s important is first, my husband and the other husband organized the evening. That in itself was reason to enjoy the evening. I didn’t have to do the ‘heavy’ lifting. It seems I always take the reins on planning things – because I like to – but it is a lot of work.

The evening started out on a great note. Doug and I walked over to their house where their car was warming up in the driveway; our friends were not in the car. Had we been a minute earlier, we were going to jump in the back seat and give them quite a scare – but in a hysterical way. Immediately I remembered how I enjoy laughing with that couple.

For two-and-a-half hours we enjoyed sushi, stories about how each couple met, our children and their ups and downs and our lives in general. We ended up back at their house for coffee. For a dinner I thought would take no longer than  two hours, we enjoyed a full evening of conversation and camaraderie.

In November, I spent a girl’s weekend with two women I met nearly 30 years ago. It was as if we had never been apart. We’re having dinner next weekend with friends we met in 1989. I feel as though that evening will be filled with laughter and reminiscing.

With age, we gain perspective, understanding and well, a mellower approach to things that happen in our lives. As they say, don’t sweat the small stuff. I’ll add to that remember why you love the small stuff and spend more time enjoying each moment in time.

 

No Complaints

I went through the painless process today of having blood work done. It’s the first step in what will be an involved process as I tackle this hip device dilemma. As depressed as I felt the end of last week and into this week, I couldn’t help but realize that I’ll be just fine.

There I was at the lab, rolling up my sleeve for the two minutes it took to have blood drawn. I’m not one to watch the needle go in and the blood flow, so I looked out the window. Snow squalls were whirling around pretty hard at that hour. Outside, a man was wheeling a young woman to a van after she had been at the lab. She appeared to have on her lap what I’ll guess was her entire medial history in a huge binder. The man lifted the woman out of the wheel chair and she maneuvered awkwardly into the front seat of the van.

In that moment, I knew that no matter what happens along the way during my saga, I will probably never be in the position of that young woman: wheel-chair bound; dependent on others to help her do so many things. I think of my friend Dan who has been a quadriplegic for decades and my friends, whose son will need their care for a very long time. What everything really comes down to is – love, family and friends. The rest is just speed bumps; minor glitches; stuff we just have to handle. We fix things – then move on. What counts is how we live and love with other people every day. I have nothing to complain about.