I never try to hide my age; I’m proud of each and every year. I always say, no cancer survivor complains about growing older. I cherish and revel in my birthdays, because each one is another little triumph over the big C.
For those of you who dread getting older, you’re just too young and foolish to know what you’re missing.
This summer, on one of our St. Louis trips, we had pre-game drinks at this great bar called 360, that’s on the 26th floor of the Hyatt at the Ballpark, right across from Busch Stadium. It’s our favorite hotel in St. Louis. The view is spectacular, and, of couse, we loved looking down on the stadium as the Cardinals took batting practice (sadly, closed to the public). We may or may not have creeped on them with the big telephoto lens.
From the top, we could see the buildings, the graceful ones and the eyesores, but we couldn’t see the peeling paint, the cracks in the sidewalk, the litter, graffiti, or any other marks of a downtown urban neightborhood. Busch Stadium, the Gateway Arch, and the beautiful City Hall were easy to pick out, and we enjoyed the overview of a city with which we are only slightly familiar.
Aging is a little like that view from 26 floors up. You see the traffic jams, the road construction, and if you could yell loudly enough, you could tell the drivers below to avoid those streets. Instead, you watch them unwittingly strand themselves in traffic. The higher you climb, the farther out you can see, and the smaller the people and problems on the ground appear.
I love the view from 54. It’s hard to believe how much I dreaded the empty nest; I could not have been more wrong. I love the luxury of eating popcorn for dinner if we want to; making spontaneous plans and running off for weekend getaways with only the dogs to worry about.
But most of all, I love what I know. That money, clothes, houses, cars and other material things are not where it’s at. It’s about the experiences, the memories, and mostly the people.
I remember many moments from my younger days. With the exception of my wedding day, I don’t remember what I was wearing, how much I weighed, or what kind of car got me to my destination.
I remember faces. Voices. Hugs. Tears. Laughter. Love.
Life is short. Make memories.
It was about 104 degrees when I took the photo above. I hate that the sky is so blown out, but I was on the 26th floor, outside, shooting into — and rapidly wilting in — the late-afternoon sun. Jim would’ve shot it much better, but I like to hold the camera sometimes too.