It’s All About Arthur 

I never thought about age differences thirty-three years ago when I married Arthur.  Somehow when you are really young age difference matters, then it disappears in adulthood, and suddenly the awareness reawakens as you get older. It really is a strange dicothemy.

My husband is thirteen years older than I am and when we got married, I didn’t even think about our age differences. My parents were ten years apart and it worked out just fine for them.

It was only  when we celebrated Arthur’s ninety-first birthday, that I realized how lucky I am. All of his friends are gone and he is standing alone and quite healthy in his nineties.  The odds are that it could be a quite different story for both of us.  Sometimes I think he has more energy than I do!

To celebrate his milestone I recently interviewed my husband about how it feels to be in his nineties. 

Copyright Sandra Hart©2017. All Rights Reserved 

Moving Forward

I have lived long enough that if I would put all of my ‘what ifs’ in writing, l would  have a complete novel. Honestly, think  back. How many ‘what ifs’ are in your past that if you had a ‘do over’ things would be different, or the outcome would have been much better if you had only….

Well, let me stop you right there. You are where you are supposed to be right now because the ‘what ifs’ didn’t happen.  Good or bad, there is no going back,  There are few ‘do overs’. 

A long time ago I quit torchering myself and put  all of my ‘what ifs’ in a basket and lit a match to it.  I refuse to live in the past and think that my life would be so much better if I had made different decisions in my life. I decided that living in the now is what is important.  

Learn from your ‘what ifs’  Burn that basket and move forward into the present and don’t look back with regrets.  Your best life is now!

CopyrightSabdra Hart 2017©

Unexpected Moments In Time


Think about your life. Try to pinpoint a moment that perhaps changed the direction in your life. One that you didn’t chose, but would be responsible for a turn of events. It doesn’t have to be just one, but a decisive change in your direction.

For me, my first unchosen life event would be rheumatic fever. That illness turned me from a confident, popular young girl into a shy, insecure adolescent who through high school would hide behind her books and writing skills, dreaming of a better life away from my hometown.  

The second event that would definitely shape my career and life was being hired to host the children’s television program, Romper Room. That entry into television postponed my career path toward acting and provided me the ability to work while raising my children.

Such a life moment happened to Sharbat Gula who was 12 when photographer Steve McCurry captured his iconic image of her living in a refugee camp for Afghan nationals in Peshawar, Pakistan. Now in her 40s, Sharbat Gula — also known as Sharbat Bibi — was arrested in Peshawar for falsifying documents and staying illegally in Pakistan. She since has been asked by the President of Afghanistan to return and has been treated as a national hero. Because of that iconic photo, instead of being punished, she is being embraced by her country.

“In China, before cranking up the techno music at his 80th birthday party, the man known as “China’s hottest grandpa” paused from his D.J. duties to poke fun at the country’s staid traditional celebrations for the elderly.” according The New York Times. He is 80 years old and is as buff as a 40 year old. 

Mr. Wang was born in the northeastern city of Shenyang in 1936, one of nine children of a cook and a stay-at-home mother. At 14, a year after the Communist Party came to power in 1949, he began working as a streetcar conductor.  

By 49, Mr. Wang was eager to move to Beijing, China’s cultural capital. He wanted to be a “living sculpture.” He also needed money, so he began working out, determined to have a lithe body that would allow him to interact, almost naked and covered in metallic paint, with copies of Auguste Rodin’s and Camille Claudel’s sculptures of women. The idea, he said, came from his wife of 48 years, Zhao Aijuan. The rest is history.   

https://youtu.be/mJyu67Hwm4g

One thing we can learn from these stories is that we must embrace moments of change no matter how early or late in life they come. 

Copyright ©Sandra Hart 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Scorpio Fire

I can’t believe I am married to a ninety-year old man! Next week my husband will have reached the magic number with birthday candles that would singe eyebrows and burn the house down. 

I can’t believe life and so many years have flown by so fast for us. Seems just yesterday he was this older-life-committed bachelor with prematurely white hair who was pursuing me. We met in New York through a friend. I wasn’t at all interested. A week later unannounced he was knocking on my door in New Jersey. Six years later, I said ‘yes’ and two years later we walked down the aisle. His friends couldn’t believe that at fifty-seven he finally made the plunge into married life. I couldn’t believe I was marrying this white-hired guy. 

My father was 10 years older than my mother, my late husband 10 years older than me, so age difference in partners never made me think twice about my marriage choices. Not that ten years today is considered a big gap in age, but when I remarried 32 years ago, there was a 13 year age difference between my new husband and myself. 

Let’s look at it like this, when I was ten years old and probably in the fourth grade my husband was twenty-three, had already finished his service in WWII and was making his way in the world of singles while I was learning to double-jump rope.  

Somehow I kept falling in love, stretching the age difference boundaries. There might be something psychological in my love/comfort choices, or maybe because of my parents successful marriage and healthy aging – who knows – but I never considered to think beyond anything more than that.  

In spite of it all, so-called May-December relationships, in which there’s a big age gap between the partners, can be rewarding — and also challenging if the husband was a bachelor for fifty-seven years. The good news is those issues can be handled, just like any other relationship issue — regardless of age if you are a saint like me. Plus you just have to know how to meditate. 

You know that switch most of us have that allows us to not always say what we are thinking? GOD forgot to give my husband one. Too many embarrassing moments as a result of this Divine mistake in engineering to fit into this blog, but if he has an opinion about you, or anything, he has no qualms sharing it immediately with you.

He is a master at exploding Gorilla glue in the microwave, controlling the tv remote and lovingly breaking most things he handles. I can’t count how many new sets of dishes I’ve gotten throughout the years, or how many clothes of mine that have worn his water, wine or any liquid he has been served at weddings. On the positive side, I always have a reason to buy new things.

My love has slipped and fallen on me in Big Lots dislocating my shoulder, in a Hilton parking lot tearing my rotator cuff and in Honolulu, resulting in a torn leg ligament. Collectively I’ve spent at least two years of my life with him either on crutches or in physical therapy.  

Think of a cross between Larry David and Chevy Chase and you’ve got it. For instance, throughout our lives together he often has walked whatever sweet dog we have had at the time and come into the house without realizing for hours our pet is still waiting faithfully on the other side of the closed door. 

Then there was the time he once drove away with our now-deceased caged bird in top of the car. Now don’t get sad, the bird lived to die of old age and didn’t die as road kill. The Pet Angels intervened once again and the cage landed safely in our neighbor’s yard. 

In the end I’ve had to understand there’s a big difference between being swept off your feet and staying for the long haul. Hard questions about love, aging, permanence, sacrifice, and acceptance have been an important part of our partnership. We are a perfect pair. I have the patience, understanding and independence needed for his personality and he has the Scorpio fire, loyalty and stability I need. 

I have just learned to sit far across the table from him at weddings, check to see if the dog is around after a walk, hide the Gorilla glue, never get another bird and not be offended if he waits a week to notice the Christmas tree is up. And of course, never forget that good night kiss!

 Happy Birthday, Love. Ninety more for you!

Copyright©2016 Sandra Hart. All Rights Reserved

A Mother’s Thoughts

So came the Captain with the mighty heart;
And when the judgment thunders split the house,
Wrenching the rafters from their ancient rest,
He held the ridgepole up, and spiked again
The rafters of the Home. He held his place—
Held the long purpose like a growing tree—
Held on through blame and faltered not at praise.
And when he fell in whirlwind, he went down
As when a lordly cedar, green with boughs,
Goes down with a great shout upon the hills,
And leaves a lonesome place against the sky.

Lincoln, Man of the People – Edwin Markham

The above stanza by Edwin Markham has always resonated with me because I think, even though it is about Abraham Lincoln, it symbolizes Life itself. I recite it often when I’m challenged by circumstances. We all struggle through the ups and downs and whether or not we can remain steady, or not, differs with each of us, but the reality is, it is a part of living – these hills and valleys that we incur just by being.  
The stumbles used to be easy when I was young.  I would get off of my bloodied knees and continue on, but the older I get the reality is getting up again it’s a little harder. It’s not that I am mentally or even physically weak, it’s just that I know the time I have to recover and open another chapter in my life is getting nearer and nearer and perhaps drawing to a close. The last chapter used to be so far down the road that I couldn’t even see, year by year, the door slowly closing on me.  I love beginnings I just don’t like endings. I never have. 
I don’t like when the book is finished and I have to start over. I don’t like when the theater run is finished and I have to start looking for another job. I don’t like it when the movie or television show is finished and I have to start again -looking. 
The thought that someday there will be an end to who I am and what I’ve experienced in this life is still not something I’m willing to except.  I want to find that miracle eternity pill that I can swallow to keep me around for a long, long time.  They say the next generation, if they take care of themselves,  may live past 100 on a regular basis. I would like to hang around and have that magic life.
Mother’s Day is less than a month away and I think the thought I want to share with my children is to enjoy every single minute of your life and to live it, really live it. Drink in and savor every single moment that you are alive. 
Step outside of yourself, close your eyes and just listen.  Listen to the birds, listen to the traffic, listen to the noise, listen to the energy that is completely swirling around us every single day. Drink that energy in and use it to make yourself a better person. Hug you children and those you love everyday, including this dear old mother. Because the reality is one day the universe will blink, I will disappear, you will be gone,  and it will be too late to live the life that both you and I were meant to live.
Copyright Sandra Hart 2015. All Rights Reserved

Making Sense Of Your Life.

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The other day I was standing in the kitchen waiting for my Keurig to spit out that first morning cup of coffee, mulling over why I write a blog when I have so many other projects on my plate. I have been taking several online courses about social media and blogging, so I guess that’s why it’s kind of in the forefront of my thoughts right now.

I woke up with a panic knot in my stomach thinking, wow, time is flying too fast, I still have so many things I want to do. The reality of my mortal clock ticking kind of scared me. Inside my head I’ve never felt my age and I’ve always continued to work in some creative form. But I never ever thought of an expiration deadline before. I’ve never ever thought of myself as getting older by the minute. In reality, physically, I guess I am, but mentally I still have the same kind of whirling dervish ideas I had when I was first building my life and career. The fact that I do have a ‘Sell By’ date that is getting closer and closer, I never gave more than a passing thought about it. Until yesterday.

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It seems that the older I get the stronger the fire within me grows to do something more with my life, when it should be the reverse. It’s kind of an ironic joke on some of us to still have a raging furnace inside; to want to live life to the fullest and not just sit around as a woman over 50 trying to make sense of her life. Are any of you feeling that way, or am I just out of step with the rest of my readers?

I want to ride the wave. This new Internet social networking evolution and ways that we can reach out to one another is so exciting to me. When I see all of these young entrepreneurs, especially young women with families, who are able to build wonderful careers while sitting at home without leaving their nest. How super that would’ve been for those of us who were raising our children in the 60s and 70s. To be able to do something fulfilling like that and still be at home with our children. In that respect, this is a wonderful age for women entrepreneurs. For them, if they know how to use social marketing and tools that are available to them with a click of a mouse or iPhone finger, there is nothing to stop them from being successful.

IMG_0329.JPGGeorgia O’Keefe

Oh, I know you say, look, there were artists Grandma Moses, Georgia O’Keefe and presently actresses Maggie Smith, Helen Mirren, Joan Plowright. They are well over fifty and still going strong. You can probably think of others. And now look at Betty White who is still going in her 90’s. True. But what is the percentage of those who are still given the opportunity to be creative and working at that age. Not very high. But they are there, doing what they love to do. Why not us?

Well, I guess it all comes down to the fact that as a writer, by putting my thoughts out into the universe, I have been able to get this off my chest. Maybe I will be, along with you, some of the lucky ones who can keep going on doing whatever it is they love to do for a long, long time.

It’s good to be young and fearless, sure, but I honestly don’t want to go backwards in time. I’m more comfortable in my skin and am loving where I am right now. So as long as I can remember what I did yesterday, I promise to be grateful. I think I’ll continue to give it a go for as long as I can.

I wrote something in my memoir, Behind The Magic Mirror, that I would like to share with you and that I think is quite appropriate for this post:

In 1972 I interviewed the great violinist Rubenoff. Will Rogers had been a good friend of his and as a token of their friendship Will gave Rubenoff a watch engraved with thoughts he shared with me. The core thinking of what was engraved on the watch is that we go around but once in this life and we had better enjoy every minute of it while we can, because we don’t have the knowledge to know when our time here is over.

A memo to me to keep my fire burning until the last ember.

Copyright Sandra Hart 2014. All rights reserved.

IMG_0330.JPGGrandma Moses

Not Yet

I wrapped my sweater more closely around my body as I stood and looked out at the familiar horizon before me. I thought how strange it is that the familiar can change day by day, but yet somehow those familiar changes do give a comfortable feeling of knowing. Of consistency. I really love that.

How quickly summer has passed, I thought. My husband and I have been loyal to this annual ritual of saying goodbye to one familiar and journeying to another warmer familiar. Moving from one nest to another never gets easier. At least for me. It seems that just as quickly as we get into a comfortable routine at one place, we have to shut the door and start again somewhere else. This year, it has happened too quickly.

“Oh look the leaves are beginning to curl and turn,” I said to my husband this morning, “September just arrived …. it shouldn’t be this cold yet.” The loud cicadas have been signaling the beginning of the end and now the leaves turning. I am not ready. So not ready, I said to myself looking out over the ocean.

Not just yet. No hurry here. I’m not ready for summer’s last breath to blow in the winds that chill me to the bone.

I hesitated. What am thinking? To be honest with myself, the truth is, Life is going by too, too quickly for me. I am not ready for much more than just changing my seasonal nest. That’s just a small part of it.

I’m not ready to grow old. Period. I’m not ready for my seasons to change. I’m not ready for my white hair to define me. I’m not ready to have to stand on my tiptoes to kiss my grandson on the cheek. I’m not ready to have people help me with my groceries. I’m not ready to have the young ‘texters’ give up their seats for me. I am not ready to be irrelevant.

I am…..just…..not……ready for that yet….but…….

I am so ready to keep dancing in front of the mirror. I am so ready to splash in the waves along the beach. I am so ready for gelled nails. I am so ready to daydream to love songs and wave my arms at rock concerts. I am so ready to eat a whole cheesecake and not feel guilty about it. I am so ready for the young girl inside of me to stay around for a long time.

Copyright Sandra Hart 2014. All rights reserved.

Let’s face it. I am just…..well…..so not…..ready to act my age!

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