I want to begin today by thanking everyone for the kind and thoughtful wishes that were sent to me yesterday on my birthday. I was (and still am) greatly overwhelmed by the many people here who I consider my friends. I usually don’t think much about my birthday if I can help it. After all, it is just part of life. We have all had ‘birthdays’ or we wouldn’t be here. Usually the day comes and goes for me without a whole lot of thought. For the past several years I have been spending my birthday at the lake at Bernie’s and we have a nice dinner and celebrate not only my day, but also Ellen’s too, as her birthday is this week also. It is always nice to have someone to share it with.
This year, I find that I have thought about the day a great deal. It seemed like more of a milestone because I turned 50. I am not afraid to say my age, as in many ways I look at it as only a number. (Besides, the secret is kind of out!) I suppose that I believe that the most important thing is how you choose to live your life rather than be bound by a number.
Turning half a century old can be frightening. While growing up, I remember thinking that when one was 50, they would be on their way out. But as my age got closer to that number, I kept waiting for some profound change that never really happened.
Yes, there are days when I feel a bit ‘older’. My body doesn’t behave like it did when I was in my twenties. I also find that my mind wanders sometimes and my ‘word search’ gets stuck where I know what I want to say or write, but I can’t quite come up with the proper word. It can be frustrating. I can feel it in my legs more too, on those cool damp mornings when they take half an hour longer to get up than the rest of me does. But overall, I have been very fortunate. For the most part my health has been good and I feel no different than I have for the last several years. In fact, I feel better.
I find that I have been doing a lot of ‘reflecting’ in the past couple weeks as the big day was approaching. I tend to be an introspective person anyway, but this was certainly a time to evaluate my life and what I have accomplished with it so far. I have thought back to my teens, the time I spent raising my children, the inception and development of my business, and the present. There are many different chapters that I have lived – each in itself could be a novel.
In thinking about these times in my life, I certainly would have done some things differently if I had the opportunity to do them again, but overall I think I would do things exactly the same. For every step that I have taken on the path of my life so far has led me to be where I am today. And I am happy.
I don’t have a big house. I rent an apartment right now. I don’t have a large bank or savings account, or lots of jewelry or extravagant things. I am sure that in some people’s eyes I may not be very successful by their own standards. But I don’t really care.
I have two beautiful and productive children, which who I am so very proud of. My son is successful and someone who has dedicated his life to help others. He has a beautiful, loving wife and is hard working, and happy. My daughter, who is younger, is still finding her way in the world, but she is on the right path and every experience that she has is teaching her the ways of the world. It is amazing to see her finding her way.
I wake up every day and I am thankful for the life I have. I have found a partner who not only supports my own creativity and work (not to mention the cats!) but is an incredibly creative person himself. I have friends from all over the world – many whom I had the pleasure of meeting in person – who I admire and share with every single day, as well as friends and family who are around me here in Canada as well as the United States. You are all here for me to give me advice, share your knowledge or just be here for me when I need to vent or have a shoulder to cry on. It doesn’t matter that we are scattered all over the world. It is as if we are all in a single room talking together and it is very easy to forget that we are all from different cultures, backgrounds and countries.
The world today is filled with troubles. There is much turmoil regarding war, finances and the overall well being of people in general. But this is one of the good things of the world. The fact that we are able to communicate instantaneously with someone on the other side of the world. We are able to gather together at places such as this to share our knowledge and thoughts and forge friendships that have no political or geographical lines. We are all bound together by a love of creating and sharing and teaching. All positive things that we choose to focus on nearly every day.
I have been asked what I get from spending the first hour or so of my day writing here as I have been doing for the last year and a half. Do I get paid? Is it worth my time? Why do I choose to spend the amount of time I do writing?
I began this blog as part of a campaign I to gain exposure for my business. Although I knew that there were not many scroll sawyers here on Lumberjocks, it was an easy and convenient place to start a ‘blog’. I had never followed blogs before or even really knew much about them. The first time I hit the ‘post’ button, it was scary. After all, who would want to read about my silly little life anyway? These people here were all serious and talented woodworkers. I wondered if I would just be considered ‘fluff’ and disregarded.
But through this blog I have made many fine and lasting friendships. I not only received wonderful advice from my friends, but I also think I was able to help some others too. Before long, I felt that I was accepted here and even liked and respected. Those feelings have helped my own confidence and growth in ways you can’t even imagine. I am not here because of my business, I am hear to visit with my friends.
Now this is part of my daily routine. I like to hear from you all and over the months this blog has been a good venue for me to get to know each of you better. You have helped me so much with your knowledge, advice and most importantly as your friendship.
Thank you all so much for what you have contributed to my life. I will never be able to properly express how much you all mean to me and how proud I am to have you as friends. The posts yesterday were something that I wouldn’t have expected at all, and they are greatly appreciated. You all made a special day for me even more special, and I am proud to be part of your group.
So on to the next 50 years! How am I going to top this?
Have a wonderfully creative day!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"