Tag Archives: milestones

A Milestone Birthday and Summer in My Garden


Today is a milestone birthday for me.  But, savvy woman that I am, this post was written in advance, so I’ll share some reflections as I close out this decade of my life.

As I’ve shared in this blog, I have spent the summer helping two of my adult children move apartments, traveling and growing a vegetable garden.  It occurs to me that all of these activities share some common themes: putting down roots, exploring the world outside of home and engaging in strenuous physical activity.  These themes have defined my life and pretty much describe my personal outlook.  I believe in strong roots, connection to my culture and home.  I believe that a secure foundation helps us feel confident about leaving home to seek out new experiences, be they far afield or in our own environs.  I also believe that a strong sense of identity helps us create our own values and keeps us afloat in a turbulent world.  And physical activity builds strength, both inside and out.  Developing the discipline required to commit to exercise or sports keeps mind and body engaged.

At one point during the latest move for my son, as I was schlepping yet another box from the truck to his apartment, I looked at him and proudly reminded him of my age.  He smiled and said, “I know mom, you and dad aren’t like other parents.”  Well, that may or may not be true, but I felt good knowing I’ve maintained my health and fitness and can enjoy an active life.  I plan to continue working towards greater strength and stamina and look forward to another physical challenge (though the next move will involve professionals!).

This last ten years has been one of incredible emotional growth for me, and for my family.  Our move to Nashville was difficult.  Much of the time I have felt like a small dinghy being blown about in a storm.  I’ve struggled to find my balance and today I am stronger for weathering it.  I’ve built a great life, found amazing friends, started a business and created a comforting home.  The toughest part these days is living away from my children.  In fact, each of us lives in a different city.  I’ve worried that leaving their childhood home would make them feel adrift as well.  I’ve come to realize that they are creating their own homes and building lives that is unique to each of them.  I also now, finally, understand that we are always a family, regardless of where we live.  When we come together, we are as we’ve always been, The Dab Family.  And, this weekend, they have all planned a wonderful family vacation to celebrate my birthday.  I am truly a lucky woman and have much for which to be grateful.

And as for my garden, well, it’s a little out of control.  I have four rather large pumpkins developing, several spaghetti squash, gobs of cucumbers, bushels of tomatoes and some tired sunflowers.  The broccoli and cabbage have not thrived, but the jalapenos are doing great.  I’ve made a batch of fresh gazpacho and grilled some zucchini.  All in all, it’s been a successful summer season.

My hopes for my future have evolved, too.  I no longer wish for material things, bigger houses, more prestigious career moves.  Instead I wish to continue on the path I’m already traveling.  I wish for more years to enjoy my husband and children.  I wish for more joy, good health, connection to my community and my spirituality.  I wish for contentment and to recognize when I have enough and when I am enough.  I wish for these things for all of you, too.  Oh, and world peace (ref. “Miss Congeniality,”).

About Barbara Dab

Barbara Dab is a small business owner, journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant.  She is the proud owner of Nashville Pilates Company, a boutique Pilates studio in Nashville’s Wedgewood/Houston neighborhood.  Check it out at  www.nashvillepilatescompany.com.  She is also the creator of The Peretz Project: Stories from the Shoah: Next Generation.  The Peretz Project, named for her late father-in-law who was a Holocaust survivor, is collecting testimony from children of survivors.  Visit http://www.theperetzproject.com.  If you are, or someone you know is, the child of survivors of the Shoah, The Holocaust, and you would like to tell your story please leave a comment and Barbara will contact you.

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This weekend I had another birthday. Since it seems I was 50 for only about 3 months, and enjoying that milestone and nice even number, I was surprised at the speed with which the next one rolled up.   It has been a great year.  Looking back to when I was coming up on THE BIG 5-0, however, there were things I wanted to have done by that time … be fit, be the ‘right weight,’ hike more, speak Italian, learn to paint, and so on.  While my life is better than I could have dreamed and I have many of the qualities that I value (strong friendships and loving family relationships), personally there were accomplishments I wanted to have achieved.

Because I lost three of my four brothers when they were fairly young, I look at birthdays as gifts and time as finite.  Life in my family seems not to be long-lived so, for this important fiftieth birthday, I embraced truly living deliberately … to do the things that interested and took care of me.  I wanted to no longer put off having experiences and a quality of life that I might never have if I didn’t get on with it and work with what I had (me) so, I gave myself permission.  It has been a great year. I have been getting up early to work The Artist’s Way, a book of recovering and growing our creating self, I am exercising often, even jogging, and taking myself out into nature regularly.  For me, today, life is to be lived on purpose, with purpose.  I have reached an age where I realize that honoring my truths, wants, and needs is the best way I can be in the world because when I take care of what I value (my wants, my health), I am a better and more loving person to those around me.   If I could go back and speak to my younger self, I would say, “Don’t worry so much.  Accept others as they are and don’t spend time thinking about what other people think of you.  Live the way you want, honor your belief system, and keep the focus inside your hula-hoop where you have some ability to change the things you can.  It is going to be o.k. ”

It is a gift to be this age, and to have had the experience that 51 years brings.  I have this knowledge, this place in time, and because life continues to grow and change, I am excited to get up in the morning and get on with the day and see what comes, more open to possibility and the places that I will grow.  I am emerging.

About Renee Bates

Renee is the executive director of the non-profit, Greenways for Nashville, a member based organization. In addition to growing private support for the trails and green spaces, she enjoys oil painting, hiking, nature and working in the garden. Renee is married to David Bates of Bates Nursery and Garden Center, a 3rd generation business begun in 1932 by a savvy woman, Bessie Bates.



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