As I get ready to honor the anniversary of my husband’s passing and light the yazheit candle this coming Sunday, as we do in the Jewish religion, I’ve been thinking about all the years gone by, yet also thinking about the exciting years to come.

It’s been four years since M departed and left me to fend for myself after almost 25 years of marriage.

It’s been exactly one year since I sold my house and moved into my new town home.  I have no regrets.  It was a difficult, but smart move – it definitely simplified my life after 50. I still have three or four more boxes that I haven’t unpacked. Since I haven’t looked inside these boxes after a year, I’m starting to wonder if I should just throw them out. Do I really need this stuff?

Next month I will turn 54.  I’m inching closer to my mid-fifties. What happened to the last four years? Didn’t I just turn 50? And what about the past 25?

I was reminded of some of my younger years when I read Frank Bruni’s Op Ed piece today in the New York Times.  It is titled “Time, Distance And Clarity.” Frank writes that “This is the stretch of the calendar from Thanksgiving through New Year’s when many of us revisit the places we’ve left behind.” He says, “The journeys can be difficult and I don’t mean the brawls over the overhead bin. Nor do I mean what Thomas Wolfe did when he contemplated the messiness of going home again, stirring up resentments and confronting how much – and it – have changed.”

Frank goes on to say, “What weighs on me is the opposite: how much everything has no doubt stayed the same, coupled with the recognition that I didn’t appreciate or really even examine it before. There lies the sorrow.”

Frank, you are right on the money with how I’ve been feeling this week. I too want to go back in time and really soak up all the blessings and experiences of my youth, like your friend J says, “we’re not only older and wiser when we circle back to our former homes but we’re also, even more crucially, unencumbered guests able to take their measure and siphon off their pleasures in a way we couldn’t before.”

So where should I start? I think I need to visit The New York Botanical Garden near where I grew up in the Bronx.  Oftentimes, my mom and dad would make me take walks through the gardens on sunny weekends.  I found our walks among the plants to be flat out boring.  In fact, when my mom would make me walk through the Conservatory, I would cry out “please don’t make me go through that hot house with all those wet plants.”

Now that I am older and wiser I have a great fondness for plants and flowers and all things green. I can’t wait to go back and explore the Conservatory’s acre of plants and take an ecotour around the world of rainforests, deserts and aquatic and carnivorous plants.

I just love all this wisdom, it’s be-you-tee-full.


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