“Can you imagine us years from today

Sharing a park bench quietly?

How terribly strange to be seventy.”

~Paul Simon, Old Friends/Bookends

I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the new number that is peeking out from my calendar on the last day of June.

Seventy.

How terribly strange, indeed.

I’m not sure what this number is supposed to feel like or whether it will even be a good fit. But unlike a new pair of shoes that I can try on before deciding to keep them, a number can’t be returned or exchanged for a different style. It’s here to stay. For one year only.

And if this number is anything like the ones that have come before, it will grab hold of the wind and take me on a magnificent ride at a speed I can’t begin to imagine before it disappears into another June sunset, making room for the shiny new number waiting in the wings … just when I was getting used to the old one.

I’ve celebrated a few of these milestone birthdays in places so vivid in my mind it’s as if they just happened. I turned 50 in London โ€“ our family’s first trip abroad and my first trip back to the place where I’d studied in college. My 60th landed in the middle of a Baltic cruise on the day Herb and I traveled by high-speed train from St. Petersburg to Moscow, where we celebrated with champagne and stroganoff. And my 65th happened to be the day our daughter and son-in-law chose for their wedding, a date I was honored to share.

All are glorious memories that are planted deep inside like a garden that is always in bloom.

To celebrate this new decade, Herb and I will be traveling to Paris and then taking the train southward to Lyon for a river cruise on the Rhรดne. We will be stopping in Arles and Avignon and other towns that have been dancing in my imagination since my days of high school French class. After the cruise, we’ll be staying on in Lyon before heading home in time to celebrate the official day with our family.

I plan to make good use of this portal to a new decade. To honor it, celebrate it and treat it with wisdom, thought and care. It’s a wonderful gift, and I’m bursting with gratitude.

I just need to get used to saying the word.

Seventy.

Luxembourg Gardens, Paris. 2021.

28 Comments

  • Happy early birthday and enjoy your trip. I can’t wait to see the posts from your travels.

    • I couldn’t agree more, Erin! There’s something about celebrating a special day while traveling that leaves the most profound impact on our memories. Hope you’re doing well and have recovered from your epic Australian adventure! ๐Ÿ˜Š

  • Looking forward to your trip to France. Your photographs and comments are wonderful.
    Wonderful to go on a special trip honoring your birthday.
    Early birthday wishes.

    • That’s so sweet of you, Jacquline…many thanks. I’m looking forward to honoring this special milestone in this special part of the world!

    • Thanks so much, Jeff and Shannon! I love your YouTube link…brought back some fond memories of the first song I learned in French class!

  • Happy upcoming birthday, Mary.

    I just hit that number 8 weeks ago and it’s been wonderful….and so it should be for you!

    In the last 3 months I’ve been to Mexico, New York, Las Vegas, New Orleans and Denver is coming up next week, as I look forward to more.

    A very good friend of mine from high school has a full 8 days on you and she too has the same thrill for new adventures and experiences as do you.

    Keep enjoying the park benches, the waterfalls, the sights, the aromas and the wonderful adventures that still await and wouldn’t be complete without you.

    • Those are the loveliest thoughts, George…Thank you! And Happy Belated Birthday to you! It’s great to know we share the same number๐Ÿ˜‰. It’s also wonderful to hear that you โ€“ as well as your high school friend โ€“ are embracing this new decade with such zest and a positive spirit. I will be sure to take in all the sights and adventures that await. Wishing you continued happy and enriching travels!

  • Happy Birthday Mary!! Josiah and I send all best wishes for your 70th year! I just had my 72nd birthday and I had similar feelings to yours when I turned 70. It has been a good new decade so far!

    Susan Daniel

    • It’s great to hear from you, Susan! Thanks so much for the 70th wishes. It’s nice to know I’m in such good company and also comforting to hear that you had similar thoughts about this most dramatic number. Will you and Josiah be heading out soon on your upcoming trip? I do hope our travel paths will cross again๐Ÿ˜Š.

  • Happy Birthday indeed. Ah to be 70 again. I must be the elderly of your followers at 84 (don’t tell Herb, my investing guru, that I am that old).
    Safe travels.

    • Rose, your delightful comment made me smile and put the “numbers” issue in great perspective! I often react the same way when someone talks about an age that I once was โ€“ or when I look back at my younger self. Congratulations on number 84! I’m so happy to have you following The Modern Postcard, and I wish you good health and happiness!

  • You write beautifully, Mary, and have a wonderful zest for life! There is no doubt you will make the most of EVERY year. I look forward to reading about your travels, and wish you a happy EARLY 70th birthday! ๐Ÿ˜Šโค๏ธ

    • Julie, you are so kind…thank you! I completely agree about making the most of every year, and yet there is something about a milestone that seems to call out for special acknowledgement as well as inner reflection. Many thanks for the birthday wishes…and as always, thanks for reading!๐Ÿฅฐ

    • Aww, thanks Mar. Hahaha, yes, off to Europe for both of us. Have a fantastic trip! It will be fun to catch up and compare notes when we both return! โค๏ธ

  • Happy June birthday! Having just joined the club, it has turned out to be just fine! So glad you are headed to another adventure and then home to celebrate with your people!

    • Thanks, Ann! It’s a great month to have a birthday! I’m glad to hear that the club is turning out to be a good fit.๐Ÿ˜‰ Onward to a wonderful new decade for both of us!

  • Happy Birthday and Many Happy Returns, Mary! This business about “the number” is strange, isn’t it? For, however many times I count the years, requiring more fingers and toes than I have these days (even going round multiple times!) in my head, Im still 34. Why 34? I have no idea. But I have to pinch myself that our son will turn forty in January, that I’m a Grandma and my energy levels are certainly not those of a 34 year old. Our outlook on life doesn’t change, however, and I recognise that same spirit in your approach to celebrating another journey around the sun. Have a wonderful time in France and enjoy the family celebrations!

  • Oh, Gill, I just LOVE this! Thirty-four…that’s kind of a perfect age to have imprinted in your mind, even if it makes no sense to the calendar! And I completely agree that our true “number” lies within our spirit and our outlook on life, even if the real number doesn’t quite match up to what we expect from ourselves. Many thanks for the happy birthday and travel wishes!

  • Hello Mary, I enjoyed reading your blog! Have a wonderful birthday in France! We will
    also be in France June 23-29. Going to Bordeaux and then meeting Ryan and his family in Paris. Looking forward to your birthday lunch when we return. Welcome to the โ€œclubโ€ ๐Ÿ˜Š.
    Chris

    • Bonjour Chris! We just arrived in Paris. It will be fun to compare notes from our trips when we return. Thanks so much for the warm welcome to the “club” ๐Ÿ˜‰ and the happy birthday wishes. I’m looking forward to our lunch! Safe and happy travels to you and Frank, and have a wonderful time with your family!

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