I am writing this a little bit before my 61st birthday. I have been racking my brain trying to find some words of wisdom that I might share from this grand pinnacle. (My birthday was on December 1st)

I got nothing.

Earlier this year, was when I kind of had might come to Jesus moment. When my hand therapist let me know that it was finally time not necessarily to slow down but to take better care of myself.

So I think that in part has been the theme of this past year. Taking better care of myself. Finding new ways to do the same things that are possibly not as hard on myself.

I feel as though I take longer to do things now. Instead of doing several physical things on the same day, I spread them out over a week. I break jobs up into smaller pieces. I also take more breaks than I ever have before

I was raised by people who were very physically strong. The only time you took a break was when you finish a job. You might also take a lunch break. But basically, you started working, and you work until you finished.

I was in my late 40s before I learned that you could take a break because you were tired. I also remember when I was first confronted with this radical idea and how offended I was. You worked until you were finished. Taking a break meant you were lazy.

It’s taken some time to overcome some of that initial training. I try not to call myself lazy when I take breaks now. It’s a work in progress.

I know that I am not as physically strong this year as I was last year. A big part of that is because of the pain in my hands. I have recently started taking tart cherry extract. It helped a lot in terms of the pain.

From what I can tell, tart cherry reduces the inflammation in the joints. I eat a fairly anti-inflammatory diet already. It took about three weeks for the tart cherry extract to start working. Of course, I only had a four-week supply.

Not having any of the tart cherry extract for a week showed me just how much it was helping. Fortunately, when I started taking it again, it only took about three days for the effects to kick in again.

My hope is that I’m going to be able to start using my hands more again. I would like to build back some of my strength. If the theme this year was all about learning how to take better care of myself, the theme next year is going to be all about regaining strength.

I’m not sure what else I can tell you about being 61. It feels much the same as being 60, or for that matter, 50. I have more aches and pains. My reflexes aren’t as good as they once were. I don’t have the stamina I once did, but honestly, I think I’ll get that back before the end of the year.

I have found myself looking ahead, thinking about what I want to be doing and where I want to be when I’m 70. I’ll still be writing. I will always write. There is a part of me that would like to paint again. I used to do watercolors. I don’t think I’ll ever pick up the guitar or piano again, though we have a keyword in the house now, so I could.

I would like to have more leisure time when I’m 70. I don’t want to be working as hard as I am now. I’ll still be doing a lot. I’m not planning on retiring at the time I’m 70. But I’d like to play more.

And so those are my thoughts for this year.

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