35 Lessons Learned Over 70 Years

IMG_9260This past weekend I turned 70 years old.  I still find that amazing.  Is it amazing because I have lived so many years?  Yeah, that’s part of it, but it is amazing to me because I am still looking for new adventures in life.  I guess I aways thought old people just kind of stopped when they retired.  I did stop working for a paycheck, but I do a lot of things.  The difference is that they are my things that I want to do on my schedule.  Granted, I give myself deadlines, but like today, I didn’t realize it was Thursday because my days have really been jumbled since my surgery since I am not totally back to my usual daily whatever it is I do.  I make Thursday morning my time to post my blog, but not knowing what day it was today, has delayed my posting.  I missed my deadline, and there is no one there to write me up, dock my pay, or just frown at me.  It’s my deadline, and mine only—no punishment involved.  Oh, the joy of retirement!

This year I expected a quiet birthday with my husband.  We have been so busy. I was going to physical therapy three days a week.  We are clearing out the house of anything we can donate to have it as clear as possible, if we sell our home.  We have been making lists of what we want to take to Arizona with us, packing these things, and loading the car.  So, with so much hubbub going on around us, I loved the thought of the two of us going into St. Louis and having a quiet dinner at the restaurant Dennis I had went to on our first date.  After dinner, off to see a movie of my choice and spend the night in a hotel before coming back to mid Missouri.  It was smart that Dennis made a reservation because my restaurant is in an area of town that is very festive around Christmas.  IMG_9259Parking is hard to find, and an empty table is even harder to find.  We got to the restaurant and the host took us to our table.  He pointed to a table that several people were sitting at, and my first thought was that this place is so crowded (which it was) that we are sitting on the end of a long table with a bunch of strangers — until I looked at the “strangers” and realized they were our kids and grandkids there to surprise me.  I loved the surprise and seeing my family together.  The surprise continued into the evening as we said goodbye to all the kids, and then in an effort to drop Dennis’ son at his apartment, they told me to go see my son who lives next door.  I was very reluctant because I figured they had other plans, and I don’t drop in on people unannounced.  It made sense at the time, so I called my son to see if he was home and he told me to come on up to his apartment.  Little did I know everyone had gone there for cake and ice cream—as a second “Surprise!”  I love my kids, and they know I love a good surprise, but how dense can I be that I didn’t figure this out?  It must be from turning 70.

That evening I told my grandkids that I was not really 70 until the next day at 5:12 pm (or was it 5:11 pm?  I may have to look that up sometime).  The next day, between 5:12 pm and 5:15 pm, I received a phone call and a text message from my two teenage grandkids who wanted to wish me a happy 70th now that I was officially 70.  What sweet kids.

So, here I am at 70.  Older and hopefully wiser.  I got thinking today about the lessons I have learned over 70 years.  I came up with only 35 items.  I hope I learned more than one lesson every two years.  Anyway, here is my list — Andrea’s words of wisdom that I came up with off the cuff of what are the things I have discovered in the last 70 years.  Here is my list:

  1. Success is never a straight path.
  2. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
  3. If it feels right, it still might not be.
  4. Finding a future significant other takes a lot of work, and a good way to fact check.
  5. The people you least expect may be the most significant people in your life.
  6. cookLife is far from perfect, so the first time a major setback  happens, don’t let it get you off balance.
  7. Expectations should be realistic.
  8. No one is perfect so give people some slack.
  9. The best cook in the world can still blow a recipe.
  10. Having enough money to pay the bills is good, having an excess to add “things” to one’s life just complicates it.
  11. Stop and take time to observe nature.
  12. The Old Testament, if read to completion,points to everything in the New Testament, and the lessons are  priceless.
  13. Vinegar takes blood out of fabric—who knew?
  14. Everyone feels inadequate at sometime in their life.
  15. It is okay to let go of toxic people.
  16. Every corner of this earth is beautiful in some way.
  17. Everyone learns differently.
  18. Evil is real.
  19. One cannot know how good really is, unless they know what bad is.
  20. One does not have to agree with someone to love them.
  21. If a friendship goes south, keep the door cracked a bit, time may heal and restore the friendship.
  22. Everybody farts, but it is still nice not to do it in public.
  23. Children can be the greatest joy and the greatest heartbreak.
  24. Families can be bigger than genetics.
  25. If you like to sing, then sing, even if it’s not very good.
  26. Walking can save your life.
  27. It takes effort to be a friend.
  28. There should never be a secret family recipe.
  29. Death can come at any age—be prepared.
  30. Cousins should know each other even in adulthood.
  31. Life never takes a pause.
  32. Get the stories from your parents and grandparents, one day it will be too late to ask.
  33. God is real — just like the wind — you can’t see it but you see and feel its effects.
  34. Being retired can cause a person to lose track of days, but then they’re retired, so who cares?
  35. Nothing is better than a hug and “I love you” from a grandchild.

00 Psalm 118


  1. Very profound blog. I completely agree with 23 & 24. I wish I would have done 32 before it was too late. It would have been interesting to talk to my paternal grandmother what is was like at the age of 16 to come to America alone with her 14 year old sister. What was happening in Romania when she left. What type of ship did they travel in. Did she ever attend school here, how did she learn English, if she ever go homesick. My paternal grandfather came over from Austria on the same ship. (That is how they met) Why did he come here all alone at 17. What was the condition of the country he left behind. Now that I’m older all these questions run through my head. But as you said, it is too late and they will go unanswered.


    1. Thank you, Diane, for following my blog. It has been so lovely to reconnect with you. I am fascinated by your grandmother’s story. My paternal grandparents came to the U.S. from Romania also. My grandfather’s first trip was when he was 15 years old. He accompanied his older sister who came to St. Louis to work as a domestic. She married well and probably had some domestics of her own. Have you checked on the Ellis Island website? You can search for your grandparents by name, and it will also tell you what ship they came on and where that ship originated. I am curious if your grandparents were from anywhere near mine in Romania. Maybe we are related! Have a Merry Christmas!


  2. Thank you. I find it interesting that the blogs that I write off the cuff, as opposed to working hours on one, resonate so well with my followers! Ponder on . . . .


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