Happy Holiday Seasons to you all.

I hope that you are staying warm these chilly mornings.

I’m pretty hyped this morning, having just celebrated a rather dramatic milestone, and, yes, I will share with you the exciting new me. I just turned a glorious 90, which I thought I would dread, but quite the contrary I feel very exhilarated.

My children and grandchildren threw me one whale of a birthday party with all the family and many very special, dear friends.

This morning, I’m feeling so warm and fuzzy and loved that the world has never looked so beautiful.

Ninety is a number, nothing more. Life is to be cherished and enjoyed to the full extent. Be all that you can be, and be proud of whom you are. That’s the freedom that you learn as you enjoy another birthday.

“Aging”, “growing old”, “old people”, those are words that people use to describe this age. I refuse to accept those words. It depresses me. I’m proud to be an older senior, but the above words are almost demeaning. I would love to see people return to respecting and honoring older seniors as was once shown.

Maybe we need to try to earn that respect back. Maybe we need to start with you and with me.

Today, let’s start small with one of the things that I believe is very easy to do, but we have to make up our minds to do it. Start the day with a smile, and how blessed we are with the life that we have. You don’t think you have anything to be thankful for?

Look deeper. Open your eyes and look outside. Think of the people that you love.

What, you don’t have people to love? Please, open your door, walk out into the sunshine, smile at your neighbors, smile at strangers, have a song in your heart, build your very own happiness by giving. Offer your services to a group who helps seniors, such as Molly’s Angels, our own Napa Senior Center. Open your door to new adventures, but always with kindness and friendliness. Be the type of person that you would like to spend time with. If this is all new to you, please be patient. It’s going to take a little time, but don’t you believe that it will be worth the effort to have friends, or, maybe just one friend, than to be without friends?

Be especially kind to yourself. Honor and care about yourself. Being 90, for me, is like there is a new light that I see that allows me to see the really important things in life. I’ll admit that I have a huge “leg-up” in the happiness department, in that I have an amazing family. At my recent birthday party, I looked around the room at my family, and was absolutely amazed by the fact that most of them would not be here had it not been for my very dear husband, Tom, and myself. We would have celebrated our 66th anniversary on Dec. 14.

In addition to that wonderful blessing, I also looked around the room at my very dear friends that I have had for many years, some, more recent, but they are such a blessing.

If what I am telling you makes you feel that this could never happen to you, please know that it can. There’s not much you can change as far as family, but trust me when I tell you that your friends are right up there with family. The main point is: we all need people to love and to be loved by.

Let’s think about our upcoming celebrations. If you have nowhere to go this year, please give the Napa Senior Center a call, or Rianda House in St. Helena, or the Senior Center in American Canyon.

Speaking of honoring seniors, I’m thrilled to tell you about the Seventh Annual Celebration Honoring Napa County’s Centenarians, which will be held at 2 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 30 at the Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson St., Napa.

This was begun by Supervisor Brad Wagenknecht and the Napa County Board of Supervisors. We seniors thank our supervisors for this honor.

If you know someone who is or will be a centenarian, or older, please contact Board of Supervisor Aide, Michael Karath at (707) 299-1477 or Michael.karath@countyofnapa.org.)

Names are requested even if the centenarian cannot attend the recognition ceremony.

The following is a quote from Supervisor Wagenknecht:

“Life expectancy for Americans increased dramatically from 49 years of age in 1900 to over 76 years as a result of improved health care, nutrition and quality of life; a trend that is expected to continue. Centenarians have defied life expectancy projects by at least 20 years. As an aging community, we have much to learn from this population. They hold the keys to longevity and quality of life.”

Thank you, that is lovely to hear, Supervisor Wagenknecht

Thank you for joining in today. Keep warm. Be happy. Be kind.

Write to me at bettyrrhodes@sbcglobal.net

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