Happy Birthday to Me

Between now and my next post, I will turn 60. Turn can mean ‘curdle’ but it can also mean ‘twirl’. I’m choosing to believe I’ll be twirling into my next decade.

birthday cake

I can’t pretend I’m 100% enthusiastic about my upcoming birthday, but – please pardon the cliché – it’s better than the alternative. And so what if I have osteoporosis, an arthritic finger, a bunion that sometimes hurts and whiskers if I forget to pay attention. I have family and friends, good health and satisfying work, and many other blessings I’m extremely grateful for.

I also have, and have had, senior role models teaching me by example their secrets to enjoying the years when much of society says, ‘You’re not young anymore.’ Those who have embraced the later decades of their lives best, it seems to me, have kept themselves open to new ideas, experiences, and learning, and keep physically active as well. So of course that’s what I’m aiming to do, too.

In the months and weeks leading up to my birthday, I’ve been making more opportunities to practice yoga – for strength, flexibility, balance, and for mental acuity and attitude, too. I’ve been attending a Sunrise Yoga class at Living Yoga & Health in Guelph and do sessions with online instructors at Yoga Today and Do Yoga With Me as well.

Having enjoyed listening to TED talks for some time, I also attended this spring an independently organized TED event in Waterloo, where I was stimulated to think about Physics and Biology for the first time since leaving high school, and was inspired by talks about vulnerability, fear, passion, a necklace of hope, a simple idea that went viral, and about sons and daughters. My sister attended the conference with me and she’s written a number of great posts about sessions we attended.

I also this month made the leap into the 21st century (about time you say?) with the purchase of an iPhone. My sister’s stepson who helped nudge me in the direction says this almost qualifies me for geek status. 🙂 One of the first things I did with it was subscribe to TED Talk and some CBC podcasts. (I also downloaded a flashlight app and the IMDb and goodreads apps.)

What apps have you found helpful? I’m open to suggestions but no addictive games please! I’m looking to keep physically and mentally active in my 60s, remember? I especially welcome suggestions for apps that might be helpful to me as a writer because my 60s are off to a good start in terms of my writing. I’m currently working on revisions to a YA novel scheduled for publication this fall, a picture book a number of people are pretty excited about, and a collection of short stories. The short stories are currently on hold till I can get these other projects put to bed.

Speaking of writing and TED talks, here’s one you won’t want to miss. It’s one they played for us at TEDx Waterloo last month. Why not wish me a happy birthday by sending me a link to one of your favourite TED talks? And if this is the first you’ve heard of TED, do check it out!

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Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.

Kathy Stinson


  1. Patricia on April 18, 2012 at 3:54 am

    Happy birthday, Kathy!!

    I think (and hope) this TED talk is inspiring for you. Have you seen it? It's with Jane Fonda, talking about, (ahem) her 'third act', figuring things out now that she is a more mature lady. It really resonated for me. Once upon a time I didn't care much for Jane Fonda; I used to be quite critical of her. But my view of her has softened, because, well, we're all human, and as long as we're learning from our mistakes, that's all that matters! Enjoy:


    — cheers,


  2. ann severn benedek on April 18, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Happy Birthday Kathy!

    I remember Sixty was good – a good time to gain new perspectives on alot of life issues; a time to look behind with gratitude, and to look forward with anticipation.

    And Seventy? Seventy is Great . . . so far!!!



  3. Kathy Stinson on April 19, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Thanks Patricia. I haven't heard the Jane Fonda TED talk and look forward to doing so. Thanks for taking my birthday request for such links seriously!

  4. Kathy Stinson on April 19, 2012 at 9:33 am

    I like that, Ann. New perspectives, gratitude, anticipation. May we both enjoy all of those as we continue into what Jane Fonda called (see comment above) life's third act.

  5. Julie Lawson on May 23, 2012 at 6:53 am

    Happy Birthday, Kathy!

    As someone about (in November) to turn 65, I'm proud to say I've joined you in the iPhone department. I feel very trendy, and quite smug as I go about twiddling my thumbs on various letters that may or not make words — but iPhone has that covered! with the automatic mind-reader device that provides the words you need. How cool is that?! Right now I'm visiting Blogs and Facebook pages with the aim of doing my own, hopefully soon. Maybe TED Talks will have something to say about that.

    60s — a time indeed for gratitude, new pursuits and discoveries. And RED is still best! Although I don't see much red on that birthday cake …

  6. Kathy Stinson on May 23, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Hi Julie. Good to see you last week. My dad, who will be 85 this month, has also just acquired an iPhone, and already he's shown me one of its camera capabilities I hadn't yet discovered.

    Have fun perusing blogs. A couple I enjoy checking out from time to time are Erin Thomas's and Lena Coakley's, both friends of mine. http://www.erinthomas.ca and http://www.lenacoakley.com. Please be sure to let me know when you've got yours set up. If you're not doing it yourself and don't know yet who you'll hire, you might consider my sister who set up mine and who works with a number of clients at a long distance. She's at http://www.organizedassistant.com. As you'll discover if you visit her site, many of her clients are professional organizers, but not all, and even if you don't end up using her services, you might find some helpful blog-related info there.

    As for that birthday cake – did it not occur to you that perhaps it's red on the inside? 😉

    Happy continuing 60s, Julie.

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