When I'm 64

January birthdays are, by nature, solitary things. It’s not like a summer birthday, where you can meet friends by a lake to picnic or kayak. Or a fall day, taking the dogs for a walk among golden leaves and listening to the Vikings game…Or even April, with cobalt blue skies and the allure of summer around the meteorological corner…No, January birthdays are cold, snowy and gray…A perfect day to be inside and eat pizza! Which is what I will do.

I equate the years passing by to sitting on a train, looking out the window to see the years speeding past. At first, the scenery, the events of my life are so specific and the train’s pace so measured I can view the pictures in whole as I gaze out the windows… It seems we board the train in our 20’s and it goes pretty slow. Then you are in your 30’s which is pretty darn close to being in your 20’s- so technically you are still young. And then, in your 40’s the speed picks up and the images outside begin to blur - is that how fast time goes? And in my 50’s I felt I was on a bullet train - trapped by gravity in my seat. When I was younger, and I heard older (gray-haired!) people state they felt in their hearts they were 20 I felt sad for them and thought them delusional. But, you know what, when you board the train of life in your 20’s - even though the years speed by and the events of life flash by in a zip - your heart is the same age as when you got on.

A constant in my life, and durable picture outside, has been the constant love and companionship of my dogs. Some I have had to leave behind as the train moves forward and that is hard, but I have ones in the caboose right now - noses in the wind, tails wagging. The conductor has put them on board for me. So I feel lucky to be almost “64” even though every year right around by birthday, it seems my feelings and motivations get unsettled - it is almost like all my molecules get put in a blender and pureed. I think maybe my body senses there is a train junction ahead. I pick up the subtle vibrations of an electrical pulse signaling a change or a pick-up in speed. Where will we go? Knowing my dogs are along makes it a happy journey… I am so lucky to have a hobby where I can spend time with my dogs-teaching new exercises (we are learning scent articles now and it is an adventure) and learning how I can connect with them and reach their hearts and confidence center so we can learn a new skill and be happy!

Well, it is time to settle in, pick up the paper, adjust the blanket over my lap and set off again…Happy trails!