“May You Always Be Forever Young”

Lately, I have been obsessed with videos, photos of and interviews by Rod Stewart. Yes,that “Maggie May” Rod Stewart. You could call me a super fan.  Young or old, it doesn’t matter, Rod and I are together. By the way Rod Stewart recently turned 76, and I would still answer yes, to his question “Do You Think I’m Sexy?”. I could try to figure out this obsession, but “I Don’t Wanna Talk about it.” I just know he’s “You’re in my heart”. He’s given me “A Reason to Believe” that the Danita today is greater than the sum of my years. I could add up all my years and life experiences, and I still wouldn’t have a clue how I got here, to this Danita, today, August 19, 2021. 

What do I think Rod can do for me now? If I close my eyes I can’t tell if the “Rhythm of My Heart” I’m hearing is sung by Rod at age 30 or last year. He looks older, he is lots older, but somehow he is “Forever Young” to me.  I want to be forever young too, and maybe Rod can guide me. After all he still has lots of spiky hair, it’s his trademark look. At least he has a “look”, unlike me, who is still experimenting with my look. People say that someone  looks “ageless”, but I don’t know what this means. Don’t I want to be “agefull”instead?  Even after all the answers I have found, I have lots of questions that keep coming. Rod seems comfortable in his own skin, relaxed and not self-conscious. He smiles a lot and looks like he enjoys singing and performing, now as much as ever. He often sings some of his classic hits with guest artists the likes of Tina Turner, Stevie Nicks and Elton John, always graciously sharing the stage and also recognizing the musicians and singers that are part of his show. Dare I say it? He seems like a nice guy, a loving husband and father, and— he could be none of these things for all I know! I still believe he’s real and genuine, and I stubbornly cling to this belief. Yes, Danita, you just need to believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and Rod Stewart.

All the things I believe Rod Stewart possesses, I want for myself.  Eureka! I just realized that I look at Mr. Stewart as an excellent example of positive aging. He fills many roles, as performer, husband, father and model railway builder. Yes, you read that right, for over 25 years, Sir Rod Stewart has been building an intricate model of a railway which is set in an American city. It currently fills almost the entire third floor of his Beverly Hills Mansion. In fact, he has frequently booked an extra hotel room while on tour so he can work on construction and landscapes for his model railway. So he has a public passion for his music and also a very personal passion for model railways. And he even has a song titled “Passion”! What I see is someone who has a fire in his belly for creativity, and it is still burning at 76. His very public life is balanced by a rich private life filled with family and model railway construction. 

Since I retired a couple of months ago, I have been constructing a life that doesn’t include paid employment. It seems like all my interests and passions have rushed in to fill the space once filled with my job. I’m learning to be “age-full”. My fingers itch to create, to craft and to write. I’m completely comfortable saying that my son Tyler and my family is my “Reason to Believe.” Friendships are a priority for me, and I am willing to invest my trust and love in them. I won’t be singing “Do You think I’m Sexy”, but I am still a sexual being. My hair is not spiky like Rod’s, but my hair is longer than ever before, allowing for some styling experimentation.  I’ve been finding inspiration to fill my life with riches by watching Rod Stewart’s example. “This Old Heart of Mine” gets many life lessons from Rod Stewart, so I guess you could say I’m a student of Rod Stewart. I trust him. We grew up together.


I’m sure most of you heard that Simone Biles, considered by many to be the best gymnast in the world, elected not to participate in most of her events during the Olympics because she was suffering from the “twisties”. 

The “twisties” in gymnastics refer to a phenomenon wherein an experienced athlete suddenly loses their sense of where their body is in space – a sense that is crucial to the sport and the sudden loss of which could result not just in an Olympic loss but in serious bodily injury or even paralysis.

Its a mental thing. She didn’t twist her ankle, she had an injury to her mental health. She chose to take care of herself and give herself the time and space to heal. A psychic wound needs “wound-care”, just as a physical wound does. She was criticized by some for backing out, being weak, or being a quitter and trying to cover-up a poor performance. Biles defended her choice to take care of herself and many applauded the example she set. Her voice was powerful.

I don’t know about you, but I certainly have felt the “twisties”. I can’t even do a somersault, but sometimes I don’t know where I am in space. Where is up and where is down? How will I land? On my head or on my feet? I don’t wear a bandaid on my psyche, but I have been injured and struggled. Even though I feel I am the only one who gets the “ twisties”, now I know I’m not alone.  Mental illness hurts, pain can be rated at 10, and therapy is often needed, just not of the physical therapy kind. Should we all “just get over it”? Push it down, put on a brave face and don’t let them see you sweat. Sometimes I have been able to keep it together, but the glue ended up being toxic. There is a huge cost to denying the truth about our mental health. It is far easier to fix a wall when only one brick is out of place than when half the wall has fallen down. 

For me, one “wonder” of aging has been my increasing unwillingness to stoically disregard my emotional health, and my increasing willingness to accept my imperfections and recognize my emotional needs.  I’ve often said and thought “I won’t twist myself into a pretzel to get you to like me, to meet expectations, to people please, to impress you …etc., but now my actions are usually consistent with these words. I’m much more aware of when I may be getting sick with the “twisties” and take actions like self-care to boost my immunity to this malady. Self-awareness can be bolstered, so I can better judge where I am in space, stay in the moment  and live my life by my own rules. 

Trauma, like grief or excessive stress, can destroy equilibrium and throw anyone’s life into chaos. This is not the time to expect optimal performance from ourselves. Do not operate heavy machinery or do the Yurchenko double pike vault as Biles did in May, making her the only woman to ever complete this vault. If we pay attention to our state of mind and emotions and allow ourselves to focus on healing what needs to be healed, emotionally and physically, then we will  overcome our “twisties”. The gymnastics of living are very difficult, and thank God we do not receive a score for our performance. There is no perfect 10, and believe me you do not want to see me in a leotard!

True Colors

Yesterday I went with my sister Ann, and my friend Missey to the CSU Experimental Gardens. We  took a walk thru the rows and rows of flowers and plants and read the signs with identifying info and color names. There is no such thing as a “blue” flower or “pink” flower: there is a “summer sky” or “tickled pink” flower. It’s like paint colors. Benjamin Moore, for example, has “white” paint names like Chantilly Lace,  Simply White, Cloud White, White Heron and Paperwhite, and this is only the tip of the Iceberg, which is another Benjamin Moore paint color! We are surrounded by color, but some` people are color blind and are unable to distinguish certain colors, most often red and green. Your friend tells you they have achromatopsia and you think this sounds like a fatal illness, but you are relieved to find out that achromatopsia is the rarest form of color-blindness and your friend cannot see any color, instead everything appears in shades of gray. Now, at least you know you will never ask your friend”Does this color look good on me?”, but you may feel sad for your colorless friend as you witness a beautiful sunset or a rainbow.

“People of color” is a descriptor we hear a lot today. We are in the midst of a racial reckoning and unfortunately as a society we are not “color-blind”. We are influenced by racial prejudice and skin color. White, black, and brown are more than skin colors, they are part of our identity and can affect all aspects of our lives. Discrimination based on skin color is also known as colorism. Wikipedia says”…people who share similar ethnicity traits or perceived race are treated differently based on the social implications that come with the cultural meanings that are attached to skin color.” Historically even within the African -American Community skin tone has been used to determine social status and privilege. Lighter-skinned African-Americans sometimes benefit from having a skin color that is closer to that of whites. What do paper bags have to do with colorism? “Paper bag parties” common from 1900 up to the 1950’s were held in neighborhoods with a high concentration of African-Americans. Clubs, churches, fraternities and other organizations based admittance on whether a persons skin color was darker or lighter than a brown paper bag. There is such a thing as being “too black” or just “white enough”.

“Color my World”. Chicago

show one’s true colors:
To reveal what one truly believes, thinks, or wants; to act in accordance with one’s real personality, temperament, or disposition

True-blue: unwavering in one’s commitment, extremely loyal. Blue: sad or unhappy

Yellow or yellow-bellied:cowardly, behave in a way that makes you unable to do what is right or expected

Seeing red: refers to when someone becomes so angered that it controls them, enraging them

Green · inexperienced at a particular task or in a line of business · a : marked by a pale, sickly, or nauseated appearance, b : envious

We color our world. I spend lots of time playing with the colors on my ipad. Us older folks remember that fresh box of crayons we took to school. I loved the  colors in the box and the fresh tips on the crayons. It made me feel there were endless possibilities. I perused the colors and chose one and began to color outside the lines.