Sunday, April 13, 2008

Birthday Forecast: Low Fif-teas, Warm and Happy

Hello Dear Friends,

When you receive a red hat and an AARP card in the same week, it can only mean one thing: you've reached a milestone birthday. And, that's exactly what happened to me this week - I turned the half-century mark two days ago. I'm happy to report, it's been most enjoyable thanks to family, friends, and, a circle of ladies who are a hybrid of both - my Red Hat group!

I am Queen Mother of "The Royal-Teas", a red hat group in southeastern Michigan. For those who are unfamiliar with the red hatters, their philosophy is centered on celebrating 50 and embracing all that life has in store for the next phase of "maturity". It's based upon the poem, "Warning -When I am Old Am An Old Woman, I Shall Wear Purple", where author, Jenny Joseph, expresses the freedom she will have to do things when she's older that she wouldn't consider in the confines and restrictions of youth. It's an "in-your-face" rebellion to stereotypes of growing older. It's not about going out to pasture; it's about starting a new business, going back to school, building your dream retreat or wearing a purple dress with a red hat!

So, today's tea selection had to be "Sweet Thai Delight", a present from one of my RH-ers. The description on the side of the box applies as well as to the tea as it does our group: ". . . it is sure to enliven your senses and fill your spirit with warmth and happiness". And, so it does.

The Royal-Teas is comprised of an eclectic group of ladies with a variety of backgrounds, tastes and interests. The range couldn't be illustrated better than by two of the teapots I received in my Queen Mother "treasure bath" (see picture, bottom left insert). We are sometimes understated and elegant and at other times, we are a bit funky and on the "wild side". But, always, most emphatically so, we are true to the spirit of the red and purple. We are enjoying our fifties with fun and laughter and a limited respect for rules, schedules and order.

And, so, today, with my red hat on and my cup of tea in hand, I reflect on this fifty-year old journey. While I'm not sure 50 is really the new 30, I'm fine with exchanging my pink chapeau for red, throwing caution to the wind, but still being mindful of reality. I'll continue to increase the length of my daily walks, eat more fiber, and maintain my regularly-scheduled appointment at the hair salon to replace the gray for highlights. But, most importantly, I'll keep that special group of ladies within easy reach, in preparation of what lies ahead.

"We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?

So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised

When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple."