I have finally reached a time in my life that I can say suits me very well. I have what I need and what I want. I do what I want to do. I have an excellent companion, and friends of the highest water. So what does all this mean?

I am no longer a full time parent. My house looks just the way I want it to, with no dirty shoes, backpacks, or school books around. There are no plates with half eaten food in unsuspected locations, found only after the smell gave them away. The arrangements of magazines and books are as I have made them.

All the pets that live here have been fallen in love with and chosen by me. They hold no allegiances to any college students, school teachers, or talent agents who USED to live here. As a matter of fact, they FLEE in surprise and fear from those girls. The pets think that the universe revolves around ME. The dog is a faithful follower, and the cats deem me a worthwhile person to hang with occasionally. I can inhale cat fur to my heart’s content. I find that medium haired white cats smell like comfort and the little sleek coats of Siamese cats are redolent of something a little spicy. Inhaling my cats takes up a considerable amount of my free time.

In winter, the fireplace is a hub. My husband and I sit on facing sofas, with cups of coffee, tea, and laptops. He communicates with thousands on his; I blog to a few hundred on mine. We both find great stimulation and comfort from our many friends in cyberspace. As I get older, I get more curious about my friends in England, Vancouver, Prince Edward Island, New York, and in the northern woody regions of the U.S. Some of them have cats that I have come to admire almost as much as my own!

And then there is the bed. For my sixtieth birthday, I bought myself linen sheets. The real thing. I can’t tell you how LUXURIOUS that is! It takes up a little time maintaining them, for they are much more labor intensive when it comes to laundering, but sleeping on linen makes me feel like a Jane Austen heroine.

In winter, I love tea with milk, scones that have way too many calories, sunsets that are just too gorgeous against the black branches, chats with friends, and having suppers in the kitchen with candles. Chili is good, turkey soup is better. I like to cook casseroles with noodles. Winter necessitates such comfort foods, and without mashed potatoes once a week, my life would be just a little less comfortable!

Finally, at my age, friendship is just too precious to stop cultivating. Technology has brought new friends out of my laptop like magic! Whoever said that the age of letters is past? Granted, Facebook postings aren’t letters—but I have developed a very good writing relationship with quite a few new friends that I simply would have missed meeting without blogs, tweets, and the like.

Is this growing old GRACEFULLY? If by definition, growing old gracefully means aging without falling down, or without getting muscle spasms during yoga class, or looking like a sylph while walking on the stairmaster, I am NOT growing old gracefully. But if an alternative definition means still enjoying your darling husband who is also old, having giggle fits with friends you have known for years, emailing an old beau to find out what he had for dinner, Facebooking about favorite books, or having five cats and a dog, then I am growing old very gracefully, thank you. And by George,


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