As birthdays go, some say 50 is a big one. (And, today is mine.)  My MUCH younger sister, Susan, sent me a beautiful and stylish gray sweater (to match my gray hair perhaps) with a lovely card and a reminder to count the memories, not the years. 

So to start things off, here is a  memory – it’s not mine but my Mom’s.  She shared it with me in an email last night.

Yep - that's me at age 18 months - even then with a phone in my hand. …. Can’t believe it’s been 50 years ago that I called mother, your grandmother, and told her that I wouldn’t be able to go to Grandma Gleason’s birthday party that was at the Pemberton house.  It was a big deal that we had been planning for a long time and I had been at the house the night before helping with preparations and dancing with Uncle Bob.  Mom said don’t worry about getting there, Bob would pick me up.  When I hesitated she figured it out.

Much later that night we celebrated you!  The next day you were the proud recipient of everything pink that Grosse Pointe had to offer – we were all so thrilled and excited.

Lots of beautiful memories!!!!!!

Love you very much – have a wonderful birthday.  Remember, 50 is the new 35!!!!!!!!!

Last year on my birthday, I shared some thoughts on getting older,  Turning 50 minus One .  I can’t say that I turned over a new leaf to clean up my act and get super fit before 50.  (But I did trade my office chair in for a big blue exercise ball – and I’ve had the bruises from falling off to prove it. Just don’t expect pictures of those to show up here on the blog.)

Then in May I started to wonder yet again when my AARP card arrived – OMG am I old?  It got me thinking or pondering you might say.  (My 7th grade English teacher used to say that a thesaurus is a writers best friend. Although, if that was true, why was she always correcting my spelling? (The rumor mill at Hanby Jr. High had it that when SHE  was YOUNG – before she was an English teacher – Mrs. X was a Rockette at Radio City Music Hall – but since these were the dark days before Google – we never did confirm it.)  For me a close second must be a dictionary or a really good editor – thank goodness I have friends like Francine Hardaway that check my work!)

Today,  it was on Facebook and Twitter that the messages and memories were delivered across.  Along with cards and notes that the postman has been delivering all week.  They came from new friends  and through friendships that stretch all the way back to elementary school. (Thank you, Dr. Craft.) Others were from people I have met along the the way or worked with in different places around the world.  They came from friends I had made via email, Skype, or a tweet and from the neighbor across the street.  Plus, there was a very special one from my husband Chris – he’s one in almost seven billion and I am so blessed by the memories we have made together over the last 30 years.

Once the “boys” were out for the day, I took some quiet time to open and savor the postman’s bounty. There were wonderful notes and gifts from some of my best mentors… my mom, my aunts and Chris’ Mom Sandy.  A hand made card decorated with marker and glitter from my goddaughter Kassidy brought a special smile. Next came a beautiful bracelet and note that had arrived from Tiffany’s.  Inside was a birthday surprise from a business partner and friend that was color coordinated to match one of the first projects we worked on together. (Thank you, Amilya that was incredibly creative and thoughtful!)  I was storing up new memories before the clock had chimed noon. (I also got a “Mom! Shame on you” from my oldest son for opening them up before our family dinner tonight.  Whoops, sorry Christopher. I guess I had forgotten the memory of always making my kids wait until dinner time to open their gifts.)

Memory - in NYC  - at the launch of The Recipe.When it comes to  counting my memories, I have more than I could ever tally.  Some of my favorites can be found here on the Little Life Stories blog – there are close to 100 of them now and I am sure to remember and share more in the years to come BEFORE old age sets in and I begin to forget them.

So, as I ponder on what I want  to do with my NEXT 50 years, I am reminded that the greatest gifts ARE the memories and the wishes from the people you touch and who touch you.  Not just on your birthday but every day of the year and every minute you have – past, present and future.  I guess in the end, it’s what you do with those minutes that counts more than anything.


Thanks for stopping by for a little life story…

Joan Koerber-Walker