Appreciating Life More at 60 Than at 16

By LIZ MARCHI

Life is about the lens you choose.  Age can give us a refined sense of what’s important, beautiful and meaningful.  I loved the glasses I wore last week.

That last few days I have spent with childhood friends from Auburn, Alabama and their spouses.  Not all of my “ legends in our own minds” circle of girlfriends was able to make the trip to Montana this summer.  The two who did are beach girls to the core.  Neither had been to Montana or spent much time in the west.

It was a week I will cherish when days are not so warm and childhood not so close.

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Nancy, me andMimi

Mimi was Miss Auburn High.  In the Deep South, that’s much bigger than being Mother Teresa.  She is super fit, beautiful, sweet, kind and a talented artist.  We love her in spite of her many gifts. Nancy and I shared less cheerful dispositions as teenagers.  We were more likely to be Miss Smart Asss but that didn’t get you a crown and a bouquet of flowers. We all survived the wins and losses, heartaches of cheating boyfriends, the loss of young classmates and are sharing the loss of our parents whom we all knew.

Nancy lost her Dad at 52.  I loved Nancy’s Mom who is now gone.  She was not the typical southern Mom.  Nancy’s Mom was in the Women’s Air Corp and flew planes in World War II.  When she went to college, she had a piper cub.  Pretty unusual in the 1950’s for a woman to have a plane in college.

Both of Mimi’s parents taught art.  She just lost her beautiful Daddy at 95 a few months ago.  Nancy and I remembered that my Dad and her Dad were both on the City Council at the same time when the issue of the decade came up in Southern Baptist leaning Auburn, Alabama:  Would liquor by the drink be approved.  At that time, only the private clubs could serve liquor.  (Yes, it passed)

I have spent so much of my life breaking new ground, pushing new causes, meeting new people, going to new places that I forget how comfortable it is to be “with people who know your people.”  That’s the deep DNA of my childhood that will never change, people matter most.

We laughed about bad wine, bad haircuts, bad outfits, bad choices but cherished every moment of hugs and laughter as we cruised Flathead Lake, zip lined, on Big Mountain, hiked in Glacier Park, ate, drank and took in the glory of Montana’s August.  My favorite photo is these two hitting Flathead Lake for the first time.

You can’t go home again but the joys of lifelong relationships are many and more appreciated at 60 than at 16.

60 versus 16

The girls are introduced to FlatheadLake

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Liz-MarchiLiz Marchi lives on a ranch in Polson, Montana  with her husband Jon. She is the Fund Coordinator for the Frontier Angel Fund and spends a lot of time thinking and learning about entrepreneurs, the economy and Montana’s unique place in the world. She has three daughters and a stepson and daughter and a grandchild.  She graduated from Hollins College and is entering the final quarter of life…unless we go intoovertime.