Nancy Roman

Two Lessons A Year

Another Year.

Another Birthday.

A year ago I was sitting here writing about all the stuff I wanted to learn in the twenty years I figured I had left in my life. If I was right, and I’m always right (in my mind, anyway), I now have nineteen years left.

Did I learn enough this year?

Probably not.

I’ve learned that math doesn’t always work. Taking care of two dogs is five times harder than taking care of one dog. But also, two dogs is six times more love than one dog. So I am one dog ahead of the game.

I also learned a lesson about friendship that I am astonished I had not already learned by now.

Sometimes we make friends out of convenience. We want someone to have a chat and a cup of coffee with. And we find someone close by, with a similar schedule to ours. And bingo! – instant friends. And that’s fine. But sometimes we are so happy to find a new friend that we don’t pay enough attention to whether that person is really a good fit for us. So we are eventually surprised to be having coffee dates with folks we don’t really like all that much.

But that’s not the main lesson here.

I have also learned: It’s okay. I don’t think having some conversation over coffee always needs to be exquisitely meaningful. Not everyone has to be your soul-mate to have a place in your life.

And that’s about it. One year. Two lessons.

And coming up?

Ah, that’s the big question.

Because the next birthday is one of those huge ones. A milestone birthday. I am 69 now. And next year at this time I will be 70.

So if there is anything I’ve ever wanted to learn/accomplish/experience before I turned 70, I have one year left to do it.

I don’t want to put pressure on this old body and brain. If I accomplished two things this past year, I reckon I can do two things in the coming year.

But what? I don’t want to skydive or run a marathon or even read War And Peace.

But I do want two things that will be my own marathon… my own jumping out of a plane… my own saga.

First, I want to finish my third novel. I started it more than a year ago, but didn’t get far. I’ve written two books. Two books in seven years sounds like quite an accomplishment. And it is. But it is also two books in 69 years. I think perhaps I can do three in 70 years. The end result may not even be worth publishing – who knows? – but I want to see it through. If for no other reason than I want to find out how that crazy story ends.

Second. Well, this is the big one. I want to find the delicate balance between being nice to everyone and telling people what I want.

This has always been difficult for me.

I am a nice person. I am nice to everyone. All the time. And I am happy to be nice. I want to stay nice.

But I also want to be nice to myself.

My life is like a seesaw where the “nice to everyone” side is a big giant guy of 300 pounds, sitting stubbornly on the ground, while the “saying what I want” side is an underweight little urchin hanging onto the top of the seesaw, knowing that she will either be up there forever or will come down in a terrible crash.

So far, I have stayed up there, high in the air, being nice to the big brute so I don’t come crashing down. Never asking, “Please, what about me?”

But I think I am ready to balance this damn seesaw of Life. I think I can be nice and still ask for what I need.

I am giving myself one year to figure it out.

When I am seventy, I will be officially old. I want to be a strong and kind old lady. I believe I’m almost there. I’m only a year away.


PS. Every year on my birthday, I post an unretouched selfie. The purpose, as I have been stating for eight years, is twofold –

To say to the world, “Getting old isn’t so bad.”

And also to say, “Screw you, Mother Nature. I’m NOT QUITE OLD.”

Today, this is what 69 looks like.


  1. Ah yes, the struggle between being nice and being honest. It’s hard in the best of times. Right now with everyone on edge, anything can set anyone off. The art of discussion seems to have vanished. Hopefully it’s temporary. As always, your selfie is beautiful. Beauty has more to do with the smile and sincerity than the skin. Also, you can never have too many pets!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Deborah Zotian

    Well said. I believe most women “of a certain age” have that same seesaw. I look at my fearless 30-something niece and wish I could be as focused and fearless as she is. Could it be, when we were that age, we were? At least to those who were our current age?

    Happy birthday. Enjoy your day. Enjoy being celebrated for the day. Don’t worry about learning a specific number of things. They will come at unexpected times. And next year, you can tell us all about it. Maybe even in a fourth book.


    • Paula

      We totally were as focused and fearless! Our elders were even more baffled and annoyed (I’m pretty sure!)


  3. You’re looking great Nancy. Happy birthday!!
    Are you still doing the dog portraits?


  4. You are beautiful. Happy Birthday.

    We are conditioned to think that going after the things we desire or the things that bring us joy makes us selfish. Not so, it makes us fulfilled and less cranky I think.

    I am excited to watch your journey into being you.


  5. “Old” is a state of mind. You’ve heard that old cliche’ … “If you don’t mind, I don’t either.” Well, at 80, I am not officially “old.” And guess what, at 80, I have 20 good years left (at least)… I’m counting on celebrating my 100th. Don’t sell yourself short! And please don’t limit yourself to only two lessons learned in this next year of life. My dear, wise mother-in-law always told me, “Your day is not wasted when you learn something new.” Start a journal… “Daily Wisdom” … and do not let the sun go down before you have recorded one thing you learned that day. Try it! It’ll add up to a year of joyful wisdom!! Happy Birthday – 69 is a huggy time!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Denise

      I agree….I am aiming for 100 also….have 30 more years to go!! Never thought of 70 as old…


  6. Theresa

    Happy birthday beautiful!


  7. Paula

    “Nice to everyone” is a hard, hard lesson to unlearn. Sometimes we end up being jerkier than we planned because we have so little practice in standing up for ourselves. Still, it’s more than worth the effort. I’m around your age, and I know these years are likely to put me in the path of, shall we say, more than one health care provider. They are certainly looking out for their best interests, but if we ever needed to look out for ours, it’s NOW.


  8. Happy birthday, Nancy! Having goals keeps us young, I think, and you have some worthy ones to work toward this year!


  9. Happy birthday! You look great! I am a bit older than you and I think I am in the childhood of old…definitely far from elderly. As for being nice to everyone I have found it best to simply nod to some folks and then ignore them. Too many nice people to know to spend time with the with the not so nice.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Happy birthday Nancy. I have found my seventies a sweet spot in life and wish the same for you. I notice your two great lessons came unasked for and unsought.


  11. Oops, I hadn’t quite finished there. With the problem of imbalance, instead of seeking “the” solution, how about starting a tiny (ie 30-second) habit or two? And see how that goes. You can’t fail, and tiny habits often morph into solutions or open new doors. Just a thought. You’re a wise woman and will find your own enchanting way.


  12. LA



  13. Denise

    I am right there with you at 69…..will be 70 in July….but don’t consider that old. I’m aiming for 100!!


  14. What a bloody good post at 57 I am still learning and still love having a birthday


  15. Barbara Lindsey

    Lovely post. At 73 I never expected the confusion I always feel. Shall I shan’t I? Am I, aren’t I? it’s baffling. Friends, I have a few, but then again too few to mention! None close, and I don’t know why that is. Is it me, Is it them? I do try hard to live in the moment and not dwell on anything that happened further back than the present day. I find that brings sadness and some regret and it’s better not to go there. So, like you, I’m looking at the next hopefully 20 years, and seeing what comes up.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. The seesaw metaphor – terrific!


  17. Happy Birthday, you’re doing selfie at 69 proud.


  18. Tell the little kid to scooch toward the middle of the seesaw and when she gets there, step off. Then the big guy has no power.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. My next milestone will be turning 75 in May. Since I’m raising a 13-year-old granddaughter (who is as high-maintenance as her mother was) and have a husband with Parkinsons, I’m mostly just trying to get through each day. You look great, you keep learning and you seem to have a good life. Enjoy the genuine beauty and wisdom of being older.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Ray G

    Happy birthday.
    Now for the important stuff: will you change the name of your blog next year? To: I’m quite old?

    Liked by 1 person

  21. A happy Birthday to You, may You be blessed with many more Years of Beautiful experiences and fulfilment.
    The most important thing is to Love Yourself first, unconditionally. The Love, kindness and compassion We show others is selflessness, not self sacrifice

    Have a beautiful and uplifting year ahead


  22. Well, Happy Belated Birthday! I think it’s great to learn a lesson (or 2) every year. Most people our age (I turn 64 and yes I know that’s not a landmark year, but it still feels kind of older) tend to hand out lessons rather than accept learning about themselves. It’s a good lesson for me to learn that I can still learn…you know what I mean? Anyway…happy birthday to you!!


  23. The learning process which never ends eh? You are looking marvellous x


  24. Happy Birthday! I think you learned to very important lessons this year, and I really hope you do find the balance between being “nice” and being genuine and honest about your own needs and desires. It is a hard thing to learn, so my advice is: if you don’t manage to totally accomplish that goal in one year, give it more time. Because it’s a lesson worth learning!


  25. Ajahar Art Activity

    Really nice post


  26. Nice post and happy birthday! I’m so glad I read this today. My milestone birthday next year is 40. I’m on a journey this next year, too. Good luck with yours! Your picture is fabulous.


  27. jerry33g

    Happy Belated Birthday Nancy…. I miss the lady who taught me new positions – during my FESSPARKER sessions while I visited my family – I miss the sprightly YL who could spring across to a chair and quickly just seemingly land in her chair to observe us while effortlessly landing in the sitting position. I deemed your age then at around thirty something.
    Keep going with your blog – I find it a very interesting read.
    Age 86
    My yoga teacher in Washington just retired at age 73. I MISS YOGA (none live here now)
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -From Washington State – Jerry


  28. Jarold Waid

    I can only thank you for a beautiful post you are precious beyond words~
    Thank you 4 sharing Happy Birthday~

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Looks a lot prettier than my 67! Trying to take care of everything with a gentle touch this year… circles under the eyes, inherited bags, sallow skin dulled by letting my hair turn grey. Lightening up on tops and skirts and getting into the BoHo thing. And being too old to really make a difference.


  30. You look amazing for 70! I dont photograph well so I tend to avoid pictures, noth posed and selfies. I love the idea of finishing your novel. Hopefully it will give you inspiration to start another. Happy Birthday my friend! 🎊💕🎉


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