OMG what an adorable little girl! It’s not just her mother who thinks so, either. Everyone who has seen the picture propped up on the mantle in my office has commented. “She is so sweet!” they’ll say or, “Look at that mischievous twinkle in her eyes and the lovely, happy smile!”
Where is that little girl today? Does she still have a twinkle in her eye and a lovely, happy smile? Yes, she does. Sure, she gets cranky sometimes, and might even throw a little tantrum now and then. If she’s sad, that cute smile is likely to turn into a pout or those rosy cheeks will be streaked with tears. But one of her most endearing traits (to me, at least) is that the twinkle and the smile always come back. Even now, more than 60 years after the picture of little Diane was taken.
I want to tell you about a project that has made me twinkle and smile for the past few weeks. I call it 65 Days Until 65 Years. You see, I turn 65 in October and rather than moan and groan about it, I decided I might as well celebrate. Not with a party or a cruise or some life changing event. I want to celebrate me throughout all my ages, on a personal level. It’s so easy to be critical of ourselves — I do it all the time. Trust me, I could even find something I didn’t like about my little girl picture. And no, I won’t tell you what it is.
Instead of thinking about my flaws and all the things I wish I hadn’t said or done over the years, I simply want to celebrate my life. Trouble is, I couldn’t figure out how. The only thing I could come up with was that on each of the 65 days leading up to the big day, I would give myself a present. It was harder than I thought. I came up with only two items: Go to Duckfat and get a vanilla milkshake and sample cup cakes from five different bakeries. I got the milkshake about a week after I thought of it, long before the 65 days started. I’ve never been one to deny myself simple pleasures. I’ve also always had the attitude that I don’t want to “wake up dead” someday cursing myself for not trying or doing something that was important to me. It’s why I became a freelance writer. Figured if I didn’t do it now, I might never get the chance again.
I was still at a loss as to how to celebrate, so I decided to brainstorm with my family at our annual summer reunion. My brother-in-love Dave came up with the winning suggestion. He said I should make a list. On each of the 65 days I should write down something I’ve done in my life that I’m proud of, or that makes me happy when I think about it. Thank you Dave. It was the perfect gift to myself!
I started the project on August 10. Count 65 days and you’ll know when to wish me Happy Birthday. Since then, every morning I think about something positive that I have done or experienced and add it to my list. Nothing monumental, little things mostly.
The first thing I put down was that I jammed with Don and Cindy Roy and other members of the Maine French Fiddlers. They’re now known as the Don Roy Trio. I took fiddle lessons from Don many years ago and one night after a concert my husband and I attended, Don invited me back to his house to jam. I told him I couldn’t possibly because I didn’t play well enough at all. I went home and went to bed. I couldn’t sleep. I told my husband I had to go to Don’s and play, no matter what. I knew I would kick myself forever if I didn’t. It was 11 pm, but I threw on my jeans, grabbed my fiddle, and drove the 20 minutes to Don and Cindy’s. And there in the basement, I played alongside these extraordinary musicians. I even nearly kept up with them on “Old Joe Clark.” It was a wonderful, wonderful experience that I will never forget. Thank you Don, for the invitation, thank you Dave, for your great idea (must be because he is also a Libra) and thank you little Diane, for remaining so faithful to me all these many years.
PS. Just because I already bought myself a vanilla milkshake doesn’t mean I can’t have another. I also still plan to sample cupcakes. Bakery recommendations?