Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Time


T*I*M*E.

I've been spending a lot of time thinking about the passing of minutes, hours and days this week. Maybe that's what happens when your husband takes you to a Mad Hatter's afternoon tea party during a birthday trip to London. Or, it could be the result of turning 50 years old. In any case, I've been contemplating the past, present and future. Am I on the right path? Is this where I want to be at this stage in my life? Should I take a sip of the magic potion from the "Drink me..." bottle?

One of the good things about having lived half of a century is that my experiences have made me somewhat wiser than I was at twenty five, at least that's what I've been telling myself. Here are five lessons that I've learned along the way, one for each decade of my life:

*Travel as much as possible when you're young and impressionable. “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” - Mark Twain

*Read, especially if you can't travel. “For one who reads, there is no limit to the number of lives that may be lived, for fiction, biography, and history offer an inexhaustible number of lives in many parts of the world, in all periods of time.” - Louis L'Amour

*Be adaptable and embrace change. "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change." - Charles Darwin

*Ask questions. There's no shame in not knowing something. "When you stop learning, stop listening, stop looking and asking questions, always new questions, then it is time to die." - Lillian Smith

*Be brave, even when you're no longer carefree!

While working as an extra on a mini-series for French television last Tuesday, I met an inspirational American woman who has made some significant changes in her life. From what I could glean from our all-too-short conversations in between shoots, Katrina Maxwell, an engineer with a Ph.D., stopped working as a senior research fellow at one of the world's leading graduate business schools after she turned fifty to enroll in a year long acting program. She also decided to rekindle a relationship with one of her first passions, music. Here's Carefree, a song that Katrina said she felt compelled to write after watching some video clips of her daughter when she was on the cusp of womanhood.

Please click here to visit the Facebook page for Katrina Maxwell (Singer/Songwriter).


24 comments:

  1. Happy belated 50th birthday WOW, i wish i was still that young.........(-:
    and if you are thinking of a change.... just don't go joining a cult on us!!!!
    For what I have learned so far...
    there is always somebody that is worse of than I am and there are lots that are what I think I want to be so I settle for the lot that I have worked for with the talents and chance given me. I then try to enjoy it for what it is.

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    1. Thanks for the birthday wishes! :)

      Here I was thinking that I've reached the age where I'm a "wise old woman" and you come along with even wiser words. Looks like I've still got a lot to learn! As for joining a cult, I don't see that happening. The images from the Jonestown mass suicide in 1978 made too big of an impression on me.

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  2. Happy belated 50th from me, too! Like cbaarch above, I too wish I was 50! I didn't have a 50th, I had a "not 60"th instead! But the real 60th came round super fast in any case, ha ha. Your five lessons are really good ones, MK. Many happy returns. GM x

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    1. My 60th birthday is also going to come around super fast if I don't figure out a way to slow down time. Any advice?! Days seem to fly by, especially since we moved to Paris.

      Many thanks for the birthday wishes!

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  3. Happy birthday Mary Kay! I like the sound of all your pieces of advice!

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  4. Happy Birthday! It's not so bad being 50! I'm quite used to it now.
    Great advice with those quotations, thank you.
    Do let us know when you'll be on TV.

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    1. You make being 50 look pretty darn good! I'm always amazed by how much you accomplish in one day! It's one week later and I'm starting to get used to being 50. It did, however, come as a bit of a surprise when I filled out a survey and noticed that I'm in a new age category!

      Here's a little blurb about the television mini-series: PARIS- 24 heures dans la vie d’une ville…

      Notre mini-série commence à 5 heures du matin et se déroule sur 6 épisodes de 52’ couvrant chacun 4 heures de la même journée : Aube, Matin, Après-Midi, Crépuscule, Nuit, Ténèbres.

      I'll be sure to let you know when it's going to air.

      Thanks for the birthday greeting!

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  5. Many happy returns from England....wish I had known before. This is a very inspirational post, not just the content but the replies as well.

    Of course I avoided the 50th birthday reflection thing by getting married on that day, so the contemplating " where am I going, where have I been" thing did not hit me till I was 60! I then wasted 18 months fighting off depression and trying to "come to terms" with it!

    Now believe me after 50, time accelerated rapidly and life is too short so what I learned was, appreciate what you have got now, do what you need to do now , that is the key to happiness, because at 60, if you are lucky enough to get there, that future day you have worked towards or saved towards has arrived.

    Love Denise

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    1. Denise, Thanks to amazing women like you, I feel positive about this next stage of my life. You're an excellent role model! If I'm as active as you are at 60, I'll feel very pleased with myself. By the way, reading about all of your Velib adventures has given me the courage to ride one from time to time. Yesterday afternoon, we cycled from the Marais to the Musee d'Orsay. It's a start!

      Many thanks for the b'day wishes from England!

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  6. Your five life lessons are priceless and must be shared! Cent anni!

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    1. Thank you! Coming up with five life lessons for this post turned out to be a good way to distract me from why I was writing it in the first place.

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  7. Happy Birthday and welcome to the 50's!
    When I turned 50 I was so depressed I couldn't stand it. Now, four years later, I see it as an achievement. To have made it in one piece to half a century is no easy task and we should forget all the ageism so much alive still everywhere.
    We may not look, feel or have as much future as before but we should still dream and be excited for what's to come.
    And as you well put it, with all we've learned through the years we should be able to make the best out of it.
    Here's to many more!

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    1. Thanks for welcoming me to the 50s! Clink, clink and cheers to many more! You're right -- reaching half a century is an achievement and a reason to celebrate.

      But I've got to admit, reading your post, "50 is NOT the new 30!" right before my birthday gave me a lot to think about. Have you gotten the sign that you've been hoping for?

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    2. Hahaha, yeah, some days I feel like I can conquer the world and the next day I'm full of doubts and fears.

      Haven't received the 'sign' yet, it's just a very strong gut feeling.

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  8. Happy 50th........by the time I accepted turning 50, I realize that I was about to be 60! (not yet, though!!)

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    1. Not that it's going to happen anytime soon, but when it does -- Where are we going to celebrate your 60th birthday? Paris!?! : )

      By the way, one of my b'day presents was a book about photography from Sara. Now that I'm 50, maybe I'll move off the "A" setting!

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  9. Happy birthday And great advice, I especially relate to the first two of course!

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    1. With all the traveling that you've done, you could have written a book about the first two! Thanks for the birthday wishes!

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  10. Great post Mary Kay! The five reflections are wonderful and happy belated birthday.

    I have a bit of a theory about being post-50 which seem to sit well with your ponderings and the quotations you have selected. I believe we gain innocence as we get older, allowing us the freedom to once again explore the unknown like we did... "before we knew things"! I too believe that I am wiser than I was when twenty-five...but I feel I have a regained innocence that allows me to also "forget" and "not know things"...when it suits me.

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    1. Thank you for the birthday greeting, Baron!

      Your comment reminds me of when an older Australian friend told me a couple of years ago that I had to learn to be stupid. I prefer your idea of being "innocent" ... when it suits me! Your comment is one that I shall mull over and wish that you were nearby to discuss.

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  11. Happy birthday from someone already on the far side of 50. I'd say you're using your time well. Here's to a glass of champagne and a piece of cake!

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    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Anne! When I think of everything else that I could be doing, like improving my French, taking courses at one of the universities or exercising more, I feel as if I'm not using my time very well. On the upside, I'm happy and that counts for something, too.

      "Don't worry, mom, you still look like an au pair!" Isn't that what one of your daughters said when you turned 50? :)

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  12. WHOA! Where have I been??? Mary Kay! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! (Doing my Beatles "They Say It's Your Birthday" Dance -- to be demonstrated at a later date)

    I love these reflections. Each one of them really hit home. Thank you for sharing. And again HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Looking forward to seeing you soon. : )

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