57 feels so young


"Did you do anything special to celebrate?" 

I turned 57 yesterday.

The answer was "not really". The celebration felt like it happened back in Kamsack on Sunday in the home of my youth. We travelled to Watrous, SK to attend the wedding of my niece Emily and her now husband Jeridyn. As we were so close, we went the extra three hours to spend an afternoon with my Mom and Dad.

Ever mindful of the birthdays of children, grandchildren and their partners, Mom surprised several of us with a birthday cake after our lunch. Ben had turned 21 a few days before and Tamano (Ben's girlfriend) would celebrate on the same day as me. Mom made "Stella's Cake", or what regular folks might remember as Bachelor's Cake. With stacked graham wafers cushioned with a delicious chocolate filling, it is the cake that might have set off my lifelong love of sweet things. I never thought to take a picture and nothing from my Google search resembled the cake that the large group of us enjoyed in the house in which I spent my first 18 years. 

I couldn't keep up with the birthday wishes that came in from Facebook (mostly), LinkedIn, text and by various other means. But each name that arrived with the wish connected to a memory and one of the many phases of my life: growing up years, high school, university, drama, radio, interPLAY, Keyano Theatre, Keyano College, Leadership Wood Buffalo, Events Wood Buffalo, political life, United Way, arts councils, Mindcamp, Bracelets for Buildings, painting and so many other stops along the way. A surprising number of people take the time to send greetings, messages that are mostly short and succinct and some that offer something a little extra. They are all appreciated and help spark memories. 

Fifty-seven I do not feel. In my mind and body, I am maybe 35; definitely under 40. Being blessed with good health and having recently slimmed down, I feel a lot younger than my years. My only challenge is getting to sleep at night. When we read in bed, my eyes quickly get drowsy and I drift off only to wake up moments later needing to get up. I am not one to lie in bed waiting for sleep to come. Once I sense that sleep is being elusive, I need to get up and sit at the dining room table. I typically will read or watch a show on my laptop. It takes thirty to sixty minutes for my eyelids to start getting heavy. A good night is getting seven hours, though I probably average six. This might explain my need to nap once or twice a day. 

If having a hard time getting to sleep is the extent of my physiological woes, I can't complain. I just embrace it, and enjoy the quiet solitude of my late nights sitting at the table. 


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