I was searching for some gluten free product ideas for an upcoming blog and I ran into Fab Grandma's site. I was wondering what she was up to. I wrote about her last year around this time. Fab Grandma is a 57-year old gluten-free Grandma who spends a lot of time traveling in her RV. She is a celiac and has some great gluten free recipes and reviews on her site. I wanted to see if she had any advice for me on my turning 40. I know this is a food blog but the way I see it, food IS nature or at least it should be. Check out some of the amazing places Fab Grandma has been.
On Growing Older:
While I still think of myself as the young girl I was in high school, I know in my heart that I am NOT her. You see, I have had forty years pass me by since then. I don't usually think about birthdays, as I am not someone to toot my own horn or celebrate the passing years much. I know others who do, though. My sister, for example, celebrates every year for a whole month. But me, I'd rather have a quiet dinner at home with the man I love, and forgo all the hoop de do of a party.
When my friend, Patricia, asked me for advice on turning 40, I was at a loss for words. I realized I was old enough to be her mother! I have a son who was born in 1971--he'll be 40 in one year. After I had time to think about it, my advice would be:
1. Don't be afraid. That's right. Don't be afraid. Don't be afraid to do the things you want to do, or go places you want to go, or learn things you want to learn. Don't be afraid to live life your way.
That young girl I was back then never finished high school. I failed ninth grade English 4 times, and never got enough credits to get my diploma. That didn't stop me from going to college. At the age of 39, I enrolled in my first college class--Business Math 101, and ventured across the threshold of Mercer University for the first time. My knees were shaking, and I had to sit in the car for thirty minutes taking deep breaths to get my courage up to go into the classroom, but I did it! It doesn't matter that I did not get my degree, what matters is that I conquered my fear and did it. And if I had been afraid to write, I would have never started a blog. I find it hilarious that the girl who couldn't pass ninth grade English can get paid to write.
2. Take a chance. When I was forty, I married my fourth husband. You'd think I'd be scared to death to try marriage again after three failures, but I ignored the fear and gave Jim a chance. We have been married, happily, for going on 19 years.
3. Live your dreams. When I was forty eight, Jim and I sold the house and all our possessions, bought an RV, and hit the road. We haven't starved, or gone bankrupt, in the more than ten years of fulltime RV life. If I was afraid, we never would have left the driveway. But I have lived in Florida, Texas, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Alabama, and seen so many places, and met so many new friends, I can't imagine not having done it.
4. Challenge yourself. Don't sit there doing the same old same old. Get out there and do something. I have volunteered to help out with a cactus census in the desert near the Vermillion Cliffs. And I'm not in the best of shape, but I have hiked nearly every trail at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon except the North Kaibab. That is the one that goes rim to rim. And while that would really be a great challenge for me, it leads to the next piece of advice:
5. Know your limitations. I have thought about taking that rim to rim hike, but I know my body is not in the shape I need to be in to do it. I don't want to be the one coming out of the canyon by helicopter. I know what my limitations are, and by staying within them I have managed to survive to tell about it. While I was deciding on my best advice for someone turning 40, I asked several of my friends who are over 50 what advice they would give. Here are their answers:
Sandra says: Look after your body 'cause when it starts to go downhill it does so rapidly!
Donna says: The 40's are some of the best years you will experience. Good health, kids growing up, career going well. Relax and enjoy them!!
Jaimie says: Develop your "no" power and ability to hear your own inner voice. Someone else's advice or request for you is always about what will make them feel good.
Gaelyn says: Really learn who you are, know what you want and be true to yourself. Life can only get better with practice.
Alice says: Relax, don't take life so seriously. Enjoy each day that you have with family and friends - they truly are what matters.
Linda says: Start being pro-active with your health. Vitamins, Calcium, Exercise and checkups because, as Sandra said, when your body starts to go down-hill you will not believe how fast it goes.
Patty says: Live each day as if it were your first as well as your last!
Elaine says: I would tell women turning 40 to realize how fortunate they are. Their kids are grown, probably, and now it can be all about them. Enjoy and live life to the fullest. You are probably better off financially than you were when you were younger, so now you can take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself.
And Victoria says: Life is too short not to live, so don't sit it out....dance!
So, Patricia, hope you have a very happy birthday, and take it from us "old" gals--life only gets better after 40!