notquiteold

Nancy Roman

What You Can Learn

Well, here it is again.

Another birthday.

I’m now 68.

How in the world did that happen?

In some ways, being 68 is scary. But overall, it’s not so bad.

My father lived to 88. My mother is still gracing this world with her lovely presence at 95. So I figure I probably still have at least 20 years left.


My life is more than 75% done. I want to make the most of that last 25%.

But the years go by so fast as you get older. Remember how long the summers were when you were a kid? Now in June, you say, “I need to get to the beach,” and before you know it, it’s September and you didn’t make it.

So I know that a season can escape before you can catch it. And so can a year. And so can 20 years.

And that’s frightening. When you retire, you tend to do less. I remember the years I worked full time and attended graduate school at night. I don’t think I ever had more productive years. Because time was so precious, I never wasted it.

But when you are retired, there can be a devaluation of your precious time. There is always tomorrow, you think, as you sit with a second cup of coffee and a third cookie.

But my tomorrows are limited. And each day I will have less of them. I need to fill them up with things I love. I want to learn everything I don’t know.

And how much can I learn in twenty years?

PLENTY!

Why just think of what I learned in my first twenty years!

I learned to:

Talk – Walk – Use the toilet – Handle a spoon, fork and knife – Dress myself – Open doors – Run – Take a bath – Use a toothbrush – Read and Write – Sing – Dance – Pray – Jump – Sit still – Drink through a straw – Say No – Add, subtract, multiply, divide – Ride a bike – Lace sneakers – Make friends – Tell time- Tell a lie – Borrow books from the Library – Play cards – Skip rope – Turn a somersault – Use scissors – Dig in the sand – Swim – Take a test – Fight – Throw a ball – Believe in Santa Claus – Not believe in Santa Claus – Climb stairs – Climb a ladder – Climb a tree -Vacuum – Learn history, geography, and science – Ice skate – Get on the right bus – Bowl – Swear – Play the piano – Play dumb – Draw – Write a story – Write a poem – Shoot an arrow – Grow tomatoes – Sew – Type -Speak French – Like boys – Kiss – Apply makeup – Mow the lawn – Read a map – Knit – Crochet- Solve a crossword puzzle – Solve for x – Insert a tampon – Drive a car – Cook – Get a job – Use a slide rule – Pay bills – Play tennis – Camp out – Understand football – Pretend to play chess – Apply to college – Travel alone – Make love – Survive a broken heart

Oh, and two gazillion other things: There were coloring books and cap guns and monkey bars and lincoln logs and hair spray and fountain pens and skate keys and protractors and monopoly and toboggans and chemistry labs and the hokey pokey and Shakespeare and laundry and carbon paper and gas pumps and eyelash curlers and ferris wheels and combination locks and protest marches and square roots and square dances.

Well.

If that’s only scratching the surface of what I can learn in twenty years –

Bring it on, Old Age!

I’ve got plenty of time!



As always, I am posting an unretouched, non-photoshopped birthday selfie. My purpose is always twofold – to say to you, It’s not so bad getting old, and to say to Mother Nature, Screw you, I’m Not Quite Old!

65 Comments

  1. I’ll be 68 in a few months, too! Thanks for breaking trail and reminding me to make the best of the time left. And yeah, I think we both look pretty darn good!

    Like

    • Exactly! Here’s to finding the right balance between living it up and living well.

      Like

  2. Diane

    Have a wonderful birthday,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary P.

      Happy birthday, Nancy! You are a wonderful writer who makes me smile in recognition every time I read a post or column. You are so talented in so many spheres, and I know you’ll challenge yourself in the years to come. I turn 66 in Oct and can’t wait to get my SS! Thanks for sharing with us. And even more, thanks for sharing Theo with us.

      Like

  3. LA

    Happy Birthday

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Julia

    Happiest of birthdays to you Nancy!!! I absolutely love this! What a wonderful reminder of all of the accomplishments we experience so early in our life… Even better, what a great way to reinforce the reality that we can STILL literally learn/experience/live a “lifetime” in only in just a few years! Your words are ALWAYS so inspiring. I so love starting my day with your beloved Theo-sophy. You are truly a gifted writer with a loving spirit and soul that radiates both your internal & external beauty. May your special day be filled with laughter and joy! ✌️&❤️

    Like

    • Thank you Julia, for your kind words. Theo is sending a slobbery kiss to you!

      Like

  5. Happy birthday to you! Indeed it would be a wee bit boring to slump into nothing but coffee and cookies for another twenty years. You have got time to train as an orthopedic surgeon. Have fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Denise

    Very nice post! I am 68 also and am aware everyday that time here is limited and therefore not to be wasted. And I think I’ll print this post so that I can see it and enjoy the list of all the things that made up our lives. Thank you for all your writing….I don’t reply often but I’m out here enjoying you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! Just look how us old ladies have learned all the new technology!

      Like

  7. Pamela Liakopoulos

    Happy happy birthday, Nancy!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Deb

    Happy Birthday Nancy! I hope I look as fantastic as you when I hit 68!

    Like

    • Thanks! We all have our good days (and then there’s makeup and hair dye!)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Kim

    Happy Birthday Nancy xxx 🎉🍰🎂🍷🎁
    What a lovely post. So open and honest.
    Wishing you an absolutely wonderful day xx
    Big hug xxx
    Kim xxx Lilybelle’s Granny 💕💕🐩💕💕

    Like

    • Thanks Kim. It’s nice to know you – after all, we are sort of related, given that Theo and Lilybelle are sweethearts.

      Like

  10. Happy Birthday!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Happy birthday!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Well I hope your birthday was everything you wanted it to be, I hope you have many more to come. My mum just turned 79 and hopes to have many more birthdays herself. We go through life learning stuff, learning is good

    Like

    • Thanks, I know there’s a lot that your mother and I will still learn. (and you youngsters of course.)

      Like

  13. Happy Near Year

    Like

  14. Happy Birthday! Journey on!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Happy Birthday, may you be blessed with many happy returns. I am 68 as well and expect at least another 20 years or more 🙂

    Like

    • Thanks. I hope we are both learning at 88 as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Hope that this year is your best one yet:)

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Continuous learning–yes! One thing we learn is that it’s not always about doing, it can be about just being. Enjoy those cookies.

    Like

    • I do admit I like my ‘cookie while doing nothing’ time.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Rose

    Great pic! You look happy! So many things on your list alreay. Write a novel, write another one, learn to paint, paint dogs, find Theo, voice his thoughts… Looking forward to seeing what you do next. Now you are in what my mom (83) calls your “wiser years”. Congrats and enjoy!

    Like

    • I am interested to see what’s next for me too! Thanks!

      Like

  19. Happy Birthday! You’re just a youngster! The next decade is wonderful. Take it from me. I’ll be 80 in July and I’m not quite old, either! 🤪👍🏽♥️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you and I absolutely believe you that the best is yet to come. I feel I am still a bit away from my peak.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. millylaps

    Happy birthday!You don’t look anything like 68!

    Like

  21. Happy birthday pretty lady! 🙂 MJ

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Happy Birthday, Nancy!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Reblogged this on Nerdy Swot and commented:
    Nancy Roman is one of my favorite bloggers. In this post, she explains (beautifully) why It’s never too late to start 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Very inspirational, Nancy! I hope your birthday was wonderful.
    Reblogged at Nerdy Swot 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Pam

    Happy birthday, Nancy! Enjoyed your post!

    Liked by 2 people

  26. I hope I am still reading you in 20 years. Happy Birthday!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It would be pretty wild to still be blogging in 20 years – and very cool!

      Liked by 2 people

  27. Oh, I adore this. Bonne fête! Santé à vous et vos années à venir ❤ If you wish a refresher, thats 'happy birthday! Cheers/health to you and your years to come' xx

    Like

  28. Hope you had a happy birthday. Whenever I get to worrying about getting old I try to remind myself , ” Getting old may cause some problems but the alternative really sucks !!!!!!.”

    Like

    • That’s certainly true! I intend to hang around as long as I can.

      Like

  29. Happy birthday!
    Time to read this…..

    I Read this part yesterday, am really liking Mary Pipher
    Book is called Women Rowing North…wise, poignant, going our way!

    “Explanations for the behavior of the old tend to be markedly different from what they are for the behavior of younger people. For example, if an older woman has a fender bender or gets a speeding ticket, it may be attributed to the fact that she is old. Some of us are not good drivers, no question about that. On the other hand, it could have been the kind of accident anyone could have. If a younger woman had experienced it, the assumption would be that she was in a hurry or just unlucky, or it might be shrugged off by saying, “Everyone makes mistakes.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I’ve added the book to my “to-read” list!

      Like

  30. Amadda

    You baby boomers are literally the most evil generation to ever exist. You are all psychopaths. You destroyed your own children’s future, destroyed the economy, and then you sit back and laugh smugly about it. I hope you boomers enjoy the retirement homes! LOL!!! I guess what I’m really trying to say is, can you baby boomers hurry up and fucking drop dead already?

    Like

    • Wow. That is a lot of anger. I considered deleting your comment but decided to let it stand. There are evil people and good people of every age. There are lots of things wrong with the world, but I am comforted by the knowledge that I have spent my life with integrity and kindness to all. I hope when you are my age you will look back and feel the same.

      Liked by 2 people

    • LJ

      There are many things that need to be improved in the world. You have a lot more power than you know to work towards making things better. You seems to think older people don’t share your desire to improve the world. I don’t know who are the baby boomers that are laughing about what is wrong with the world. Many baby boomers are dedicating their lives extending through retirement to help their communities. Make alliances with these people and people of all ages who want to work together toward improvement. A site like https://indivisible.org/ can help you find other people in your area who want to work toward improvement. It is sad that your experience with baby boomers has been so negative. The majority are not as you described.

      Like

      • Well said. Thanks.

        Like

  31. Chris

    As one of Nancy’s closest friends for over 50 years, I certainly know who she is, and I can assure you she does not sit back and laugh at anyone. Her focus the past 2 years has been concentrated on kindness and understanding of everyone, even those who are difficult to understand, as her above comment shows. What she has attained in life has been through her own blood, sweat and tears. Yes, she now lives a comfortable life but I remember the days she lived in one room above someone’s garage while routinely working to 9:00 p.m. (on salary!) and taking 2 graduate courses. This work ethic was ingrained in us by our parents who taught us to work hard for what we wanted. Nancy’s mom especially taught this by example. I will be 68 in a few months and I am constantly learning new things, and yet I know there is so much more to learn, and not enough time. I tend to spend a lot of my “free time” volunteering and hoping to make a small contribution to those less fortunate than myself, and do this without judgment of how they have landed in their circumstances. Most of these people I meet have very sad stories behind them yet do not display anger but hope that their lives will improve. I know that Nancy’s reaction to one of her comments on this blog was one of sadness rather than judgment. I dearly hope, and I know Nancy would agree, that this person can move beyond the anger and find peace in their lifetime.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Chris. For your friendship and your loyalty.

      Like

  32. Patricia Mitchell Lapidus

    An inspiring post, Nancy. Although older than you, I’m am also not quite old and constantly learning. I love your list of what we learned, some of it universal, some particular to our generation.

    Like

    • Thank you. I am more aware every day of the constant opportunities to learn – both the simple things and the profound.

      Like

  33. Happy Birthday. I’m in my 60s too, and feel I still have a lot to offer. Until I spend my days waiting to die, I am not quite old!

    Like

    • We are not quite old at all! And when I finally am quite old, I hope I enjoy that as much.

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Like your comments a lot. Just turned 56 and similar thoughts… only I don’t really mind being old. Learning seems to be the key to a fulfilling life… either you grow or you die.

    Like

    • I must admit I waver between loving being old and afraid of it. But overall, I like myself better than I did when I was young.

      Like

      • I was really thoughtless when I was young… now less often

        Like

  35. I hope your birthday was happy. You look fabulous. I’m 10 years younger than you and could pass for your mother. Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it!

    Like

  36. Happy belated birthday!!! You look great for a 68 year old lady. 🙂 Keep learning new things.

    Like

  37. We are close in age and I like this post, you have learned a lot and aim to learn a lot more. Happy belated birthday.

    Like

Trackbacks

  1. I’ll Own Some Of That | notquiteold

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: