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The reason I love turning 54

I celebrated my birthday on Friday. It wasn’t one of those milestone birthdays. I’m past the half-century mark, but I haven’t reached the 55-mph speed limit yet. I turned 54. You’d think there’s nothing special about turning 54. No big deal, right?

Treasuring moment at Birthday celebration
Celebrating my birthday with my husband, Bill, on the cross-country ski trail.

Turning 54 is a big deal

Well, I’ve had some experiences this year that make turning 54 a BIG DEAL. The message that truly hit home this year is this: Nothing is guaranteed. Friends move away, literally or figuratively. Marriages fail. People get sick. Loved ones pass away. It seems like doom and gloom all around. Sometimes, that’s how life appears.

Fortunately, it’s not the end of the story. New friendships blossom. Couples fall in love and marry. People get well. Babies are born.

I’ve experienced both extremes this year.

Experiencing life’s extremes

I said goodbye to 2 aunts and an uncle, but I also welcomed a niece into the family. (Finally, we have another Marcks girl to carry on the proud family tradition.)

I’ve watched the marriage of someone close to me crumble, but I’ve also been swept into the whirlwind of planning a wedding. With great excitement, we will welcome a son-in-law into the family this spring.

And what about sickness? Today, I saw the doctor for my annual physical. I’m not in perfect health, but I’m better off than the guy I saw when I left the clinic. He was holding his chest and struggling for breath. He definitely belonged in the emergency room. I walked out of the clinic on my own two feet, while the nurse rushed to get a wheelchair for the poor guy.

Treasuring the moment

No, nothing in life is guaranteed. I guess that’s why it’s so important to stop every once-in-a-while and appreciate what we have in life. That’s one good reason to celebrate a birthday.

I call it treasuring the moment. You freeze time and experience the special moment a little longer. Then, you tuck the treasured moment away, into your memory.

My birthday was filled with treasured moments.

My husband, Bill, said the sweetest things at dinner. It made me treasure our love even more. My nieces, Chelsea and Sara, said the funniest things when I opened my gifts. My sister, Cathy, gave me a script from a 1970s play. I was about 12 years old at the time, and I had a part in the high school play. When I dramatically read a few lines, Chelsea said, “It’s like no time has passed.” When I opened 3 pairs of pajamas, Sara said, “Now you can go shopping at Walmart.” We all laughed. It really made me treasure the love of my family.


Celebrating a birthday

Turning 54 has changed me for the better. Thanks to everyone who helped me celebrate. We’ll celebrate again when I hit 55.

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Author: Joan Koehne

Once a mild-mannered reporter and editor, Joan Koehne has taken on the persona of her alter ego, Wonder Writer, saving the world one word at a time. In 2017 she went up, up and away to launch a writing services business, Writer to the Rescue, a division of Packerland Websites. A 2017 college graduate, Joan earned highest honors and the Marketing Student of the Year award.
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Joan Koehne

Once a mild-mannered reporter and editor, Joan Koehne has taken on the persona of her alter ego, Wonder Writer, saving the world one word at a time. In 2017 she went up, up and away to launch a writing services business, Writer to the Rescue, a division of Packerland Websites. A 2017 college graduate, Joan earned highest honors and the Marketing Student of the Year award.

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