Milestones

Since before antiquity, we clever humans have been marking our progress on life’s rocky road with actual stones. These physical, durable, reassuring (Yes, you’re on the right track!) mile markers have always been installed to indicate for us travelers how far we’ve come on our journey and how much farther there is to go.

A typical cobblestone street here in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Figurative — non-physical – milestones, too, serve the same purpose, I feel. Big birthdays, especially ones with zeroes in them, and anniversaries, especially where silver or gold are given as gifts, are major milestones, marking a significant life attainment, something to be honored and celebrated.

Turning seventy, for me, for example, was not just a milestone, it was a turning point. At that point seven years ago I decided not only to retire but to retire to Mexico, a neighboring country I hardly knew, to begin a new life near the end of my life in a sunny, less-stressful, very old and proud land. I count this decision among the best I’ve ever made. I’ve never looked back.

Today’s WOW blogpost also marks a milestone. This is my 400th post since my blog’s inception in May 2014, and in these ensuing eight years my WOWs have received close to 100,000 views. Reaching this mile-marker now, I must stop a minute, take a breath, look around, and think: How did I get here? And how much longer is the road ahead?

Writing this weekly blog has been a pleasure, especially because it’s helped me stay in touch with friends far and wide, old and new, and make new friends in the process. It’s been my way of reaching out and embracing like-minded people all over the world and hearing back from them in the Comments. It’s been a large part of an ongoing sense for me of a global community.

It’s also been liberating: Since no one pays me, I’m free to write from my heart whatever I feel inspired to write each week, on subjects mostly of interest to older women like myself, under the general heading, “news, views, reviews and interviews worth factoring into your life.”

And what I write is free for the taking. There’s no subscription fee. It’s clearly not a commercial enterprise, and that makes me happy. No monetary strings are attached. In my experience, money muddies things.

Writing these WOWs has also given me a sense of purpose. As a lifelong writer, I feel I’ve been given a voice – a voice for the voiceless, in some respects. I used to think that books would be the best vehicle for this, so I wrote and published five of them. But in recent years, alas, books have fallen from their former vogue.

As Nicholas Carr writes in his bestselling book, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains — which I highly recommend:

“As screens command more of our attention, less remains for everything else. Quieter, more solitary pastimes – reading for pleasure, notably – continue to be the most vulnerable to being crowded out by digital diversions.”

Carr adds, “There are still plenty of readers around, but curling up with a book is losing its place in the general culture. It’s becoming a quaint pursuit, like ballroom dancing or darts.”

So, since long-form (book) reading is rapidly going out of fashion, I’ve turned to a short-form of writing – blogging, a peculiar term I can barely define. To me, what I do in my WOW posts is more like cooking: Taking the time to prepare what I hope will be a body-and-soul-nourishing little meal for others, and inviting them to come and dine each week. Mine is not a fancy “restaurant,” just a little bistro with a limited menu. But everything is made with thought and care. Thoughts as food.

Stones in the bone-dry arroyo near where I live. On my daily walks I’m always looking for “sermons in stones.”

How much longer will I do this? As long as I can, I think. I’ll keep looking for those “sermons in stones” that spark ideas each week. I hope to keep going until I get to that final milestone clearly marked, “The end of the line.”

 

34 thoughts on “Milestones”

  1. Ahh never stop Bonnie- wishing I had visited when I was closer- who knows, if you get to NY maybe we’ll meet up xxxj

    1. I look forward to your writings each week. Thank you for giving a voice for women everywhere. And for making me long to return to SMA! Gracias

        1. Bonita nunca dejes de escribir, me encantan tus historias, y como vives tus experiencias dia con dia!. Tus enchiladas verdes!!! tus favoritas!.

          1. Gracias, querida Edith! Espero continuar el mayor tiempo posible. Me alegro de que te gusten mis historias reales. I’m glad you like my stories! — xx

  2. BonnieDear, having just walked along that arroyo seco with you, and having tasted some of the literal “body-and-soul-nourishing” meals you prepare for others, this post was especially poignant. I love that you have been faithfully committed to this way of communicating for all these years. It is a gift and a blessing to all of us.

    And speaking of gifts to pass on, I’m making the enchiladas de pollo y queso con salsa verde for Michael tonight for dinner. Thanks for that memorable lesson.

    With much love, Be

  3. Bonnie, Thank goodness you are not going to stop your Wise Older Women Blog I so look forward to it and stop everything to read your words when they appear in my inbox. More importantly, I would have never had a vehicle to re-connect with you, that young, beautiful and very shy tall blond girl I would see walking in the hallways of PVRHS. Thank you for continuing to nourish your readers with your wisdom and honesty.

    1. Dear Barbara — Your kind words have touched me deeply. Thank you with all my heart! I hope you’re enjoying your retirement from teaching as much as I’m enjoying mine. 🙂

  4. I just finished this week’s blog when I realized I had been holding my breath the entire time! I was dreading the big reveal where you tell your readers you are retiring. I wanted to skip down to the end to quell this suspicion, but I was too afraid I was correct. I’m so glad you’re hanging in there! Your columns are random little jewels that pop up in my inbox. I’m glad you enjoy writing the blog as much as we enjoy reading it. I hope you continue for many years.

    1. Thank you, dear Glenn. I so appreciate your kind words and encouragement. And thank you, too, for coming to the reading yesterday! It was a joy to meet you in person.

  5. Please do keep on writing your blogs and painting wonderful pictures in words which bring joy to me and I’m sure all your readers. Bless you, Bonnie. Sandra.

  6. Hello dear Bonnie – I have recently turned 70!!!! I would appreciate all kinds of suggestions, adventures, readings, and meditations – on how to make the 70’s a decade to look forward to in my life! Many thanks!

    1. What wonderful news, Carol dear! Belated Happy Big 7-0 Birthday to you! I’ve been writing about this subject (in one way or another) throughout the life of this blog, but you might like to look first at the books on aging I’ve reviewed (under Reviews). I know you will make the most of this new chapter. Mucho love and best wishes, BB xx

  7. Thank you dear Bonnie. I so agree with you. Keep on doing it until you can’t anymore. It’s my motto, too. My book of poems just came out & I don’t see it as a final accomplishment, but a continuing path. Whether it’s widely read on paper or not, it’s what I do and hope to do until my last breath. You are my inspiration. I am nourished by your bistro bits (& the recipes in Sweet Tarts…!). Xo

  8. Dear Bon,

    Congratulations on your 400th blog! I look forward to reading them every week. That you write from your heart is clear to anyone who reads any of your texts. I would say that everything you do comes from your heart. It’s what makes you the beautiful, bright soul that you are. I think this world could use a good deal more heart in it. Maybe we would all get along a little better.

    Love,
    Paul

    1. Thank you, dearest Paul, for your sweet words. They remind me of that old song (from the ’60s?), “What the world needs now, is love, sweet love…” If/when you come to visit me, you’ll find that there’s a lot of heart in Mexico. Money is not God here.

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