DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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16 April 2012

When I'm 64

In 1967, when I was 19, I bought the Beatles LP Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. I listened to that record for hours at a time, my favourites songs were A Day in the Life and She's leaving Home. Also on that record was When I'm 64. I didn't like it much and for the life of me I couldn't imagine ever being that old. Well, look at me now, a few minutes have passed by and yesterday was my 64th birthday.


When I was much younger I used to look forward to particular ages. When I was 18, I met a young man who was 24. Back then, to my teenaged sensibilities, 24 was so sophisticated and mature! I wanted to be 24 then, straight away. Imagine, wishing away six years! I'm not sure when I stopped looking forward to particular birthdays but I don't do it anymore. I look back instead. But not in melancholic way; I don't yearn for my youth nor wish I was younger. I look back to remember, the view from here is wonderful. I can see back about 60 years.

There is a lot to be thankful for at this age. The main one being that I haven't died early, because the only way you won't age, is to die. Growing older with no health problems is a very interesting exercise. There are so many things to learn about and have an interest in. We have a close and beautiful family around us, we have many friends. In fact, in these past few years, we've made many new friends. I am not a very social person, I prefer to spend time alone and at home with Hanno but friendships and an interest in our community have brought us out of our home much more than in the past. I guess we have the luxury of time now too. We've had our babies, lived through not only our teenage years but those of our children too, stood proudly by when those teenagers became men who found their partners and had their own beautiful babies. I smile to myself when I think of all those times in my younger years when I read books to them, cooked for them, became engrossed in conversations with them, showed them how to hold a chicken and carry eggs, encouraged them, was proud of them and disappointed, when I wanted them to do more ... or less, and when I just stood by and watched. Life is full of tiny increments. I didn't know that when I was younger. I thought life was supposed to be about grand gestures. But teaching those small things to children, seeing a little finger poke a seed into moist soil, being taken to those first emerging shoots with an entire hand wrapped around my finger, helping with homework and projects one night and then the next, cooking all those dinners, making sandwiches by the hundreds - all . one. at . a . time, knitting one stitch by one stitch, making batches of soap, celebrating all those birthdays - not only my own 64 but also those of my parents, my sister, my husband, my sons, and now their wives and their babies. It all happened one thing at a time and then added up to so much.

In an email I received a couple of months ago, I woman wrote to ask me how could she get to where I am - at accepting my age, the passage of time and the loss of youth. I told her, I do accept the passage of time, and I am grateful that I can because to do otherwise would mean I was dead. I also accept my age, how can I not, it is part of me. But I am much more than a number. And loss of youth? I don't see that as a loss. I see youth as a stage of life that prepares you for a more profound season. It's not the main prize, it's just part of the package. If there is a prize, I think it's being able to grow older, to have the time to enjoy life without the busyness of the younger years when marriage, family and careers are being built. We put in all the work when we were young, now we are reaping the rewards.  I'm more content now, more accepting of what is. I see beauty now where I didn't before, small things make me happy, I am grateful to be healthy enough to work in my community, it's made me better than I was. Youth? Yes, it has some wonderful benefits and I look back on my youth full of interesting and crazy people but there comes a time when growing up is the only thing left. Now is better. Time marches on, unstopped by face creams, cosmetic surgery and irrational wishes for passed youth.


Hanno and I went out yesterday to lunch to celebrate my birthday. We dined at the gorgeous Daisy's Place, just a short drive from here, which is owned by an incredible woman, Sue Joseph. I've spoken with Sue both times we've been to Daisy's, I'm very impressed by her and hope to get to know her better. Sue has turned the old Rustic Cabin into the best restaurant I've been to in many years. There is a feeling of calmness and warmth there, the staff are very obliging and the menu is superb - with fresh, organic, locally sourced food.


Hanno and I enjoyed our lunch, we had a lot to talk about, we loved the food, we took in the atmosphere in the dining room and the view into the rain forest outside. The restaurant was packed with people with whom we might have a lot in common but although we looked like everyone else, my feeling was that we were different to most of the others there. Because we hold a secret, we are living radical lives here. We've stepped away from the expected and prescribed and given ourselves the best chance of wonderful third age. We're trail blazers at 64 and 71. We have dared to live beyond 50, 60 and even 70 and we're standing up with arms wide open to welcome in all that is still ahead for us. I'm looking forward to another year full of tiny dot points along the way and I'm happy that we're walking this path you and an increasing number of others.



102 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your birthday dear Rhonda ! May you have more wonderfull years to come in health and surrounded by family and friends !!!

    Hugs,
    Angelique

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  2. I hope you have many more such happy birthdays, Rhonda.

    Barb_in_GA

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  3. A lovely post Rhonda! And a very happy birthday for yesterday, I'm glad to be able to share a little of the spirit of it with you!

    Jenni x

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  4. Happy Birthday, Rhonda! My Hubby's birthday was also this weekend. :o) I'm glad you had a good day.

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  5. Happy Birthday! Thank you for allowing me along for the ride (new to your blog this year) - with you and your blog I've been informed, entertained and, as of today, enlightened. Life is a journey not a destination (saw that on a Hallmark Card - must be true!). Really, I'm learning so much from you and while I haven't brought goats and chickens into our home I believe I am becoming a better/smarter person living on this one planet we have. Happy Birthday & many more.

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  6. Happy Belated Birthday, sounds like a perfect way to spend it x

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  7. Hi Rhonda,Congratulations on being 64 years young! Like you I listened to the song "When I'm 64" and thought it was such a long way off! Well in 60 days I will be 60, so I'm getting there! I am enjoying walking this path with you and your friends. Thank you for sharing the little moments :) Best wishes, Jane

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  8. Happy Birthday!! This was an interesting post for me as I will be 60 in July and have to admit I do fret about it. But you have given me some good things to think about.

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  9. Happy Birthday Rhonda, I enjoyed reading your post. I have just spent a heartfelt week with my elderly parents as they face the challenges of life in their 80's, independent living and my Dad's declining health. I have many memories of the Beatles, not as a fan, but my Dad was a Beatles fan in the 60's and he constantly played ther LP's during our time in South Africa in the 1960's when I was a young girl. Your post has brought tears to my eyes as I remember many happy memories of my Dad's amazing life and cope now with the end of his life. How blessed I am that this wonderful man adopted me with his wife in 1962 in Cape Town. Thanks Rhonda for your beautifully written posts. Ann

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  10. Happy birthday, Rhonda. I hope I have your grace at 64.

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  11. At 56, I'm enjoying my years as an older person, too, so much wiser about life, living with gratitude for all that I have - and by that I mean my family, friends, health, employment, a cozy home. I love this time in my life and don't mind at all saying my age. I'm excited about all that is to come.

    Happy belated birthday, Rhonda.

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  12. Happy Birthday. You do realize that I am going to be singing that song when I wake up in the middle of the night?!!! I have just turned 60 and it seemed as much of a big deal as turning 30 (in an unhappy childless marriage) had done, but for totally different reasons. I guess we are as old as we feel and my head still feels 30, though my body says, hang on a minute . . . especially up a steep Welsh hill!

    I look forward to the future with enthusiasm but, oh dear, 60-something sounds MUCH older than 50-something . . .

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  13. g'day
    happy 64th! glad you had a lovely day
    what a wonderful outlook you have on life!

    i do enjoy the small things in life too, especially simple pleasures, a running creek, a flower bud, a ghekko sounding off, dew covered webs in the early morns, etc

    am looking forward to the year ahead with you.

    have a great day!
    selina from kilkivan qld

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  14. Great post as always. A happy birthday for yesterday. I am glad you had a nice day.

    Paulines
    xxx

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  15. Happy Birthday Lovely Lady. I too see youth as something not necessarily lost but the preparative stage of the point I am at now, the one with the great view:). I hope when I am 64, in 20 something years I have retained my perspective :)

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  16. At 10 years younger than you, that doesn't sound like a bad place to be:) Nor is where I am and I certainly wouldn't want to be younger again.

    Happy Birthday for yesterday

    viv in nz

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  17. So beautifully written. You are so full of wisdom.

    Happy birthday Rhonda x

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  18. LOVE this post! One of my favorites, I think. Life is indeed the sum of it's parts, even the infinitesimal parts. How lovely it must be to look back on a life that has added up to so much!

    Happy birthday, Rhonda!

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  19. A wonderful post and Happy Birthday to you Rhonda. You are a true Elder in our community.

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  20. EXACTLY !!!
    Happy Birthday Rhonda

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  21. Happy Birthday :)
    Love reading your blog, it's so encouraging.

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  22. Wonderful post and wishing you a Happy Birthday. I will be 63 this July and have never been happier. I agree with everything you have said.

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  23. Bless you, Rhonda. Aside from all the special people in your life, you've brought hope and encouragement to so many people you've never even met.

    I turn 40 this year and needed the
    reminder to appreciate each stage. Thanks.

    Happy birthday to you, and many more!

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  24. Happy birthday Rhonda. Loved reading today's post.

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  25. Happy Birthday Rhonda. Best wishes from Jean

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  26. Happy Birthday for yesterday Rhonda and congratulations on a happy life. Hard work does pay off !

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  27. Happy Birthday Rhonda. I always say 'Enjoy the journey, not just the destination'.

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  28. Happy Birthday Rhonda. What a wonderful post. All those dot points that make up to a fascinating and rewarding life.

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  29. Happy Birthday Rhonda...thank you for inviting us into your life and journey through your words and wisdom xxx

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  30. Happy birthday Rhonda. A lovely, thoughtful post. I'm not so happy about you planting that song in my brain for today though. :)
    Donna

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  31. Happy Birthday and wishing you lots of health and energy! Love reading your post - they're so well written, enspiring and personal - without making me feel "voyeuristic"!
    All the best!

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  32. have a wonderful birthday Rhonda and may you and Hanno have many, many more.

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  33. Happy birthday for yesterday Rhonda! i found your blog yesterday through a friend who had written a book review about your book. the next two hours i spent reading your blog. due to an injury i'm about to lose two thirds of my income, whilst it is a bit scary, i have faith that we can do it and by using lots of your tips i don't have to forgo the things i love (like good yoghurt!!)

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  34. Happy Birthday~ Whatever you had as your dessert left some delicious remains in the one photo. Your birthday "celebration" sounded wonderful.

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  35. Happy birthday Rhonda and many more!
    I am glad you had a lovely day.

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  36. Happy Birthday Rhonda, it sounds like a beautiful day. You hit the spot today and I had tears as I read your post. I am struggling at the moment with kids, house and work finding that balance. You have reminded me that the work does add up minute by minute time passes and the children grow up and it all very much matters the jobs we do as parents. Thank you Rhonda!
    Yes I do love birthdays the more birthdays you have the longer you live. They are to be celebrated.
    Lors x

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  37. Thank you Rhonda ... for sharing, for caring and for being such an inspiration.
    It may have been your birthday yesterday, but we are the ones that have been given a gift ... you!

    Janelle

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  38. Happy Birthday - you are right, when we listened to that song all those years ago 64 seemed so far away!

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  39. Dear Rhonda
    I have followed your blog now for a couple of years, but never commented. I wanted to wish you a very happy birthday for yesterday with many more happy and healthy years doing what you do and more.
    You are an amazing women and have inspired me greatly
    xx Yvonne

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  40. Happy Birthday Rhonda and many, many, many more!

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  41. Happy Birthday, Rhonda! This is one of your best posts ever! You sound so happy and content and everything you have is what we should all strive for. Best wishes to you and Hanno,

    Joolz

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  42. Happy Birthday Rhonda,

    You're the best. Just received your book and loving it. I'm 61 in June and life is good and i'm learning more every day. Especially not to worry what others say and think and not to take myself to seriously. Many blessings to you and your dear man in your 65th year.

    Blessings Gail

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  43. Happy birthday Rhonda :)
    Life is different since Down To Earth entered my life.

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  44. Many Blessings on your birthday Rhonda:)..thank you for your wonderful words:)
    Carleene

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  45. Happy Birthday and here's to an interesting year ahead!! Darlene

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  46. What a lovely post.
    Big birthday wishes for yesterday.
    The perfect birthday, spending it with your special someone.
    x

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  47. A very happy birthday to you, dearest Rhonda! The world is a much better place for all the wisdom you so freely share here.
    -Jaime

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  48. Happy Birthday Rhonda. I'm with you, the freedom being 62 years gives me is wonderful. Some choices narrow and others expand. So many little things to see and do and learn all of which make my life so rich. Keep holding up that light Rhonda it is so valuable.

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  49. Beautiful post about embracing life...at all ages....Happy Birthday Rhonda, you both look so happy in that photo above...x

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  50. Hey, Happy Birthday Rhonda!! Im edging towards that age too and hope to be as fit and active and useful as you!!
    Wishing you all the very best for this next year. xx

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  51. A profound and beautiful post Rhonda.

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  52. Happy Birthday Rhonda, such a wonderful post, wishing you and yours the best!

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  53. Happy Birthday Rhonda!!!

    My local library purchased your book at my request and I'm loving it.

    I too feel like I'm living a radical life and making the right choices in how I am living differently. The life I am choosing is one for my wallet, my planet and my serenity.

    The calm hasn't come yet but it's baby steps and an interesting journey. I have now gone part time at work and am very happy with my decision.

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  54. Applause, here, here! Well written beautiful. Happy Birthday and may i be a dot in your life. You are amazing.
    Marian

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  55. Sending a big Happy Birthday your way Rhonda, X

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  56. Dear Rhonda
    Thanks for your lovely thoughts. I am 67 and this is the happiest time of my life. As you sometimes say, there are many different ways of living more simply. We decided five years ago to downsize from a big inner-city house to a small apartment, to free up money to be able to work part-time, and to visit our kids every year (both living overseas-London and New York). This has worked so well for us! We share one small car and take public transport a lot. Our flat is north-facing so we don't need any heating in winter. Shopping, the local library, and an art cinema are close walking distance. I spend an hour every morning in the local park to walk and do Tai Chi and get my fix of trees and birdsong. I've always cooked from scratch, but since reading your blogs I'm baking bread and making yoghurt. My balcony is small, but I grow herbs and salad leaves. It's possible to live simply and reduce our footprint wherever we live. So glad you had a happy birthday and I hope you have a year full of small pleasures.

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  57. happy birthday! thank you so much for sharing your life with us!

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  58. What a beautiful post... You are richly blessed, Rhonda and I feel grateful to have "found" you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts - such wisdom in your words :)

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  59. My Nanna, who is in her 70s, once said to me that in her mind she's still 25 and that's all that matters. The older I get the more it makes sense!
    Happy 64th Birthday, Rhonda!
    ~S.

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  60. Beautiful, beautiful post, thank you Rhonda.

    Glad to hear you had a great day for your birthday.

    You bless us all!

    xTania

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  61. fadenflüsterinApril 16, 2012 3:54 pm

    Happy Birthday Rhonda, from Germany.
    I have found this site some time ago.
    And now i read in one every day, it is verry inspiring for me.Im a "self-made-Women" also.
    I wish you a lot of wonderful and healthy years with your family.
    die fadenflüsterin

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  62. Sounds like a WONDEFUL day.
    Sending wWarm birthday blessings to you!!!

    Love Leanne (NZ)xx

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  63. Happy birthday Rhonda. May you continue to savior each moment.

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  64. A beautiful post and truly beautiful sentiments.

    If we all stopped yearning and just became who we are meant to be, life would be so much simpler.

    We all have so much to be thankful for, we should take the time to just 'be'.

    It seems as though you have mastered this and it's a journey I am on at the moment.

    Sue xx

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  65. Many happy returns. Best wishes to you and Hanno.

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  66. Lovely! Happy Birthday!

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  67. Happy Birthday Rhonda, glad to hear you had a wonderful day :-)

    Tim and Sarah

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  68. Happy Birthday!! Love this post.
    Kim

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  69. Also congratulations from overseas!

    Love from Holland

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  70. Happy birthday for yesterday, and many more to come with lots of health! I too have just turned 52 and feel a lot better now than ever, and have no wish to be younger. I feel the young generation has so many hurdles ahead of them, a lot harder than the ones I had to cross! I too am blessed with good health, so hopefully I can grow old gracefully.
    The view from the restaurant into the forest is spectacular!

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  71. A very happy Birthday old 'chook'. May you have many more. Sue

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  72. So well said, Rhonda. That 60-year (and counting) view of yours is worth immeasurably more than a million dollar view.

    Birthday blessings...

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  73. Ronda that was a really lovely post. Well said.To be comfortable with who we are is a wonderful trait.

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  74. Hi Rhonda,
    Happy Birthday! I only discovered your blog last week after discovering your book in the ABC store near me a few weeks ago. I've read many of the books you had and also pieced them together into a whole in my mind - but to see your book brought together so nicely was a wonderful achievement - I haven't seen anything that covered the key ideas across the voluntary simplicity movement in the same way. I love it. I'm approaching my 30th birthday later this year but am so committed to this lifestyle and trying to figure out how I can afford it and how I might be able to afford to spend time at home with kids if I'm lucky enough to have them and it really, really helps to have mentors like you on the internet because for a long time I didn't know any real people who understood what I was trying to do. I've started a blog in the last few days - very much inspired by you - as a way to be able to express myself in writing. So Happy Birthday and Thank you!!!

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  75. What a statement that youth preparing you for a more profound season. I totally agree! I don't understand those looking back & wishing to be a teenager! I loved this post! Much to think on...

    Maria M

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  76. Another superb post Rhonda, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY XXX.

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  77. Happy Birthday Rhonda!! I will never forget your day of birth because mine was on the sixth of april and I'm very very proud to be 64 now !!

    Big hug from France, Gerry

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  78. Barbara M. in NHApril 17, 2012 2:17 am

    Dear Rhonda, I will turn 65 soon and I can't wait! Both my Mum and my grandmother died at 57, so every day since my 58th birthday has felt like a bonus to me! I have enjoyed all the stages, and when I actually turned 64 last spring, we were on a cruise ship enjoying visiting some places we had never been (Venice, Greece, Rome, Barcelona!) and I asked the piano bar musician to play "When I'm 64" for me. It was wonderful!

    Barbara M. in NH

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  79. I am a new reader to your blog and so love reading your beutifull words you write so lovely. Best wishes for your bday sounds like you had a lovely day and I wish you many more. I was lucky enough to get my hands on your book on Sat when I was out shopping with the kids (picking up supplies to make the laundry liquid) the book store had orded one in for someone they phoned her and she didn't want it. So her loss my gain. I also cleaned our bathroom on Fri with bicarb and vinigar for the first time it felt good. Brought a box of tomatoes on Fri for $4.50 and made some home made tom soup and pasta sauce. I feel so inspired by you and am enjoying your book up to the budgeting section so far which bores me but I'm keen to get to the good stuff. Thank you for helping me to be a better person/mother/wife. Bless you. Jodie from Adelaide x

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  80. Happy Birthday. Thank you for sharing your wisdom today and every day. I'm 58 and know my family is not genetically disposed to long life. However, what I've learned is those who got the most of the later years were those who stayed active and involved. You and Hanno definitely fit that model and continue to be an inspiration. Thank you!

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  81. Many many blessings dear Rhonda!
    Funny you should start your piece today with 'in 1967'...I was born in that year and next week on the 26th I will celebrate my 45th birthday, so naturally I too have been considering the wanderings of my life.
    The journey is truly what matters, not the destination, for the destination is, after all is said and done, something we all share in common. The paths we take to get there is what defines us as individuals.
    I am truly glad that our paths have crossed my dear lady.

    Vicki
    Trinidad & Tobago

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  82. Happy Birthday to a wonderful role model. I have learned so much from you over the last couple years of reading your blog. You are an inspiration to me!


    Angie

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  83. Beautiful words of wisdom. Thank you. May you have many more years to teach us how to live.

    Amanda

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  84. Happy 64th Birthday. Another lovely and insightful post. I'm so happy to have found your blog. You make me look at life in different ways and I am so grateful for that. You and Hanno lead a wonderful and inspiring life.
    Theresa

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  85. Happy Birthday, I share your birthday and today I'm off to buy your book with a gift voucher I received.

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  86. Great post and so true! Happy Birthday to you and I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading your blog! Linda G. from Oregon, USA

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  87. Happy Birthday Rhonda.
    I will be 66 in a few weeks and feel just like you, that this is the best time of my life.
    In your 60's you have the wisdom to know what is important and what is not worth bothering about.
    Looking forward to your posts for years to come!!!
    Love to you all
    Lizzy.

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  88. Happy Birthday for yesterday. I can see that you had a special day. Hugs.

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  89. Many belated happies to you my beautiful friend. What you say about life is very true, I will be 61 in a few weeks time. and I enjoy everyday of my life, some more than others when the health issues are pronounced. Life is wonderful iwth a fantastic hubby, wonderful children and inlaw one as well and abosolutely gorgeous grandchildren, 2 more due this year.
    One thi ng that I have noticed, before Christmas when my late father's only surving sibling and my uncle moved back to town, and a couple of my mother's sisters were quite ill, I suddenly realised just how old they are. Always knew their ages, and we just seemed to age together,the 25 years plus was and never seemed that great, but all of a sudden I realise that I may not have my beloved Aunts for that many fore years, yet they also say they are living the moment
    Love Lorraine

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  90. Happy happy happy happy birthday, dear Rhonda. I'm a Beatles' fan and I like "when I'm 64 " so much! You have the right mood, I believe that we must accept that time goes by, but we are lucky for having the opportunity to tell that! Enjoy your time, Clara.

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  91. Happy belated Birthday Rhonda! Such a lovely post and we are blessed that you shared your day with us. Looks like you had a lovely meal with Hanno and I hope that your 64th year brings you much joy and simple abundance throughout x

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  92. A belated happy birthday from another April baby. I will turn 37 on the 19th. Your blog has changed the way I think about my home, my family, and (yes) my age. You inspire me. I know you go to a lot of effort to share your knowledge and wisdom with all of us, and it is much appreciated. The best of blessings in your next year.

    Kristin
    (Oregon)

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  93. Happy Late Birthday--- I enjoyed your post today. When I was a teenager I remember see the Sgt Peppers Band Movie (late 70's)-- I like When I'm 64, it has a catchy tune.

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  94. Happy birthday, rhonda. I really like this post as we often hear people complaining about getting older. In my early 40s I feel more settled and happy to live contentedly on our farm....yet i have enjoyed the process that got me to this point.It is all a wonderful journey and it is great knowing that at '64' you still feel like this .

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  95. Happy Birthday Rhonda! I'm like you - when somebody grizzles about getting older, I tell them the alternative ... which is to be 6 feet under. I always think one should be proud of the age they are. I'm 48 going on 49 but still feel (inside) a lot younger, although my body feels a lot older due to health issues. I had to give up work ten years ago, much before time, unfortunately because of illness.But I have a wonderful husband, do volunteer work, sew, am involved in several community groups and appreciate the good things in my life.

    I hope you have many more good years to come. I hadn't realised you were a Sunshine Coast local until reading your post about Daisy's Place. We live in a very beautiful part of the world and I so appreciate it. (Hubby and I live in Caloundra.)

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  96. Happy Birthday Rhonda - hugs!

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  97. Margaret in TasJuly 26, 2012 5:13 pm

    Congratulations on your 64th birthday Rhonda. I can relate to everything you are saying as it has happened to me too. I am 71 years old and just wondered where it all went .We moved to Australia in 1975 from Scotland and it seems that it has gone in the blink of an eye, a lot has happened in that time ,some sad things and many ,many happy things too.I too have no regrets
    We moved to Tasmania in 2003,apart from the sadness of leaving our family on the mainland it has so far been idylic. I love my piece of Paradise.I hope we have many more years to enjoy it.I wish you good health to enjoy your retirement with Hanno

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  98. Awww congratulations Rhonda.
    My happy birthday best wishes for your 64th.
    Have a great one ;-)

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