taking stock on life

by Sharon Santoni


I celebrated my birthday a week ago, in the company of good friends.  I was not the only birthday girl there, and it turned out to be an extended birthday weekend /country houseparty  which was great fun.

There was a lot of good food involved, champagne too, and several morning-after salutary walks on beautiful but cold beaches, the sand dunes dusted in snow.

Unsurprisingly everyone present was around the same age, with a majority of empty nesters, and at that stage of life where you are tempted to turn around and take stock of the path so far, and thinking about our next steps.

It’s only recently that I realised how much soul searching takes place at this stage in life.   In our twenties we are trying to work out what to do next, and which road to travel.  Our thirties and forties see us rushing, or dawdling, or walking down the chosen road.  We make babies, decorate homes, run businesses, write books ….  and before we know it a great big fat chunk of our life is accounted for, and we are left wondering what we have to show for it.  And what we still want to do.

A girlfriend said to me recently she was worried she had “done it all wrong”.   She felt she hadn’t made the right choices earlier in life and she was paying the consequences now.   Such a sad thing to think.  We chatted about her life choices and actually of course she has much to be happy about, it was more a question of getting things into perspective.

So I wondered how you feel about where you are in your life today?    Do you look back happy and grateful or do you have regrets?   Maybe you are busy making plans for the next part of your life, eager to do more and go further.  Maybe you have a specific regret or joy, and you can pinpoint a decisive moment that influenced your life in one direction or another.  What would you say to your teenage self?

I know that my greatest joy is my family, and the pleasure we have together and the way we all communicate non-stop no matter where we are.  I’m so happy that my kids get on well together and are each proud of their own and their siblings’ achievements.  I am grateful to have a loving husband who encourages me in everything I undertake, and I’m very aware of how fortunate I was to reinvent myself nine years ago and create this blog and the boxes and the magazine.  I’m still in a hurry, and still thirsty to do a whole lot more.

If I could talk to my twenty year old self right now, I would say go for it!  Live that life at 300% all the time.  Live each age to its fullest; push the boundaries and never settle for less.  There is no right or wrong way to spend our time here.   We all know it’s advisable to stay on the right side of the law and generally be kind and mindful, but besides that maybe our biggest obligation is to ourselves, because nobody can live our life for us.

I’d love to know what you think about all of this, I’m pretty sure I’m not alone here.  Leave me a comment or send me an email.  Let’s rejoice in our freedom to choose our own path!


Saundra Friedman February 9, 2019 - 1:18 pm

I was just thinking about all of this this very morning!! Happy Birthday and thank you for the beautiful and thoughtful piece this morning. I agree completely with everything you say and am inspired by your words. This morning I read Mary Oliver—her essays are amazing. I think you would love them. You may know of her–she is a poet and an essay writer—recently died but very much in love with life especially nature. She reminds me about everything beautiful and joyful and so I like to read her in the early morning to boost my spirit in these difficult political times . I admire your zest for life and your energy. Thank you again.

Sharon Santoni February 9, 2019 - 2:00 pm

Thank you Saundra. I don’t know Mary Oliver’s writing but I’ll certainly look out for her essays, thank you for the recommendation.


Vicky(from Athens) February 9, 2019 - 2:19 pm

Here’s one of my favorite quotes from a Mary Oliver poem that is so appropriate for today’s post:
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Don’t you just love it?!
Thank you, Sharon, for this thought provoking post. Having lost my only sibling to terminal brain cancer, I know well the importance of living each day to the fullest, taking chances, enjoying new experiences, going new places, enjoying family and old friends, making new friends, taking time to smell the roses … the list is endless.
I would love to know the location of these beautiful photos!

sharon santoni February 9, 2019 - 2:59 pm

Dear Vicki. I am so sorry that you lost your sister. Certainly a reminder to make the most of each day!
These beautiful beach shots are from Norfolk on the west coast of England.
Best wishes

sharon santoni February 9, 2019 - 10:46 pm

So sorry, that would be the east coast of England !!

Saundra Friedman February 9, 2019 - 2:22 pm

If you want to read her essays buy UPSTREAM!!! She is a wonderful poet as well–known mainly for her poetry. Saundra

Vicky(from Athens) February 9, 2019 - 2:37 pm

Thank you, Saundra, I’ll do that today!

Emm February 10, 2019 - 3:39 am

In addition to Mary Oliver’s better known poetry and essays, I think you would like especially a collection from a few years ago: “Dog Poems”. She was a dog and beach person, too.
Cleaning some papers out of my desk earlier today, I came across a note I’d made of a quote from Meister Eckhart: “And suddenly you know … It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”

Vicky(from Athens) February 10, 2019 - 3:06 pm

Emm, thanks for another wonderful quotation to add to my collection of favorites!! And thanks for pointing me toward “Dog Poems”.

Teresa Person February 9, 2019 - 1:40 pm

Lovely post… love your accomplishments you have shared with your readers… love your books and their inspiration… I too am blessed w/ talents in the creative world and am always reminded to share these w/ others… great family and friends and always my dogs and cats throughout the years…painting is my passion and I’m so blessed that others want to purchase my art… and most of all good health that makes it possible to enjoy this life God has given me.. thanks for your post.. Teresa Person

Sharon Santoni February 9, 2019 - 2:02 pm

I’m convinced that doing something creative every day is of prime importance! I’m so glad you are enjoying your art Teresa



Catherine Kelly February 9, 2019 - 1:54 pm

Yes, I love the freedom God has given me, and the guidance to make the choices that bless me and others. Like Sharon, my family gives me great joy and the love they share makes for wonderful times. The beauty of this web page enhances the beauty I see around me, my joy in the glory of our farm and bush, architecture, decorating and design.

Barbara lilian February 9, 2019 - 1:59 pm

Although I followed you for a long time, reading about your great achievements in so many diverse ways, I always drool over your posts , be it your garden, flower arrangements, your trips to create your books, I love them all. I am thinking of my twilight years, after a long break from my watercolour painting , due to several health setbacks, which thankfully I’m back on track, my hubby has had an atelier/ guest room built for me, I’m looking forward to restarting my painting, life is always changing & we must live each stage to the fullest. I can see you enjoy your life. Continue doing what you enjoy.

Liz Walters February 9, 2019 - 2:02 pm

Hi Sharon, I was reflecting the other day about the history of my life as a 54 year old woman. All of the things that are right and all of the things not so right. All the plans and aspirations when I was young and what actually is. Thank you for writing this piece and giving voice to exploration, contemplation, and reflection of our lives.

sharon santoni February 9, 2019 - 4:45 pm

Thank you Liz. 🙂

Freddie Ann February 9, 2019 - 2:10 pm

Happy belated birthday.
I have enjoyed my past, only one regret and that would be finacials (played a little too hard ), but working to resolve at age 60. I’ve worked at the same firm for 34 years so luck was with me when I first interviewed. I call it luck, but my Mother calls it my hard work and dedication (gotta love our Mothers). When I turned 60 last year, I decided to look at myself and I am now working on making sure I will continue to enjoy life, remain healthy, and still take care of my husband who is not well, my Mom (age 93), and make sure I include myself. Your books and blog help me put life in perspective. Looking forward to your latest book, as soon as it hits the library.

Alice Genzlinger February 9, 2019 - 2:31 pm

Happy birthday Sharon. I knew that at a very young age that I would try with all my heart to live a very different life than my parents. I made many miss steps and when I think back I find I learned something from each one and that I am a better person because of those miss steps. What I know for sure is that God was there from the beginning and was straightening out my path and protecting me as I went along. Do I wish I had not done some of the things, yes. I don’t dwell on them because i can’t change them. Today I am 28 years into a wonder filled second marriage that has brought me much joy. When asked how I met my husband I always say God gave him to me. We both made many changes to live this much blessed life. Today at age 77 I love being a home maker and sharing my talents with my sweetie, friends and neighbors. You are what you think, so think big, dream big dreams and stretch your mind and follow your dream.

Mary Ellen Eckels February 9, 2019 - 2:31 pm

Bon Anniversaire, Sharon!! And thank you for this beautiful post. I have filed this post under ‘ageless’ and ‘wisdom’ – two gifts of a life well-lived :-). I love the gift that comes with age – perspective – that you shared with your friend. It’s so true, isn’t it? And I loved your message to your twenty year old self – and the wisdom to ‘live every age to the fullest’. We tend to think sometimes that we should continue to live exactly as our ‘new adult’ selves did, feeling badly or that somehow we’re missing something, when we either don’t keep up, or create a new rhythm and purpose in our lives. But your words to live each age fully defines the various stages of our lives . It would be reasonable to presume it’s ‘ok’ to adjust to each stage. So instead of telling myself “I can’t do that any more” and really wouldn’t want to – the truth is, life has evolved into a new age, with new purpose and mission. And it’s perfectly okay to adjust my approach and experience to it as my own wisdom prescribes. I’m 65, soon to be 66 in a month or so. I don’t think about age so much as my journey – where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going. Thank you for your beautiful blog and book. Such a lovely companion on the journey.

Susan Collard February 9, 2019 - 2:37 pm

The thing I love the most about your blog and all that has evolved from it is that you are not a “spring chicken” and you haven’t let it stop you from pursuing something fulfilling. I am 59 and still shocked by it! How did it happen, where did the time go? Am I too old to actually, finally have my little cottage business? There are days when I feel very foolish growing cut flowers for “Do it Yourself” Weddings and other categories. Will brides be shocked when they meet me? Will they think I have no credibility because I am not young and “current”? I take stock of my life nearly every day. I worry terribly that I will have nothing to show for it when I am here no longer. I wonder if I am setting myself up for failure because I don’t have that many more physically able years left. But… all of that said, I love what I am doing. I have always been very active caring for our 5 acres, raising our girls and taking care of multiple animals two of which are horses. I have always loved gardening and this is gardening on steroids! Not only that, I have had to learn how to do all of it plus become much more familiar with social media and everything that goes along with that. So, my brain is working and learning which I think is very important. In ten years when I look back and take stock once again, I hope that I am happy with my choice. It is hard to know at this point. I think we just choose what we think is the right thing to do and it will show its true self at a later date. Thank you for your beautiful blog. It is a treat for me to read.

Robert February 9, 2019 - 10:44 pm

You are growing beauty and sharing the beauty with your cut flowers! You are leaving memories and joy for everyone that you share your flowers with.

Anita Lee February 12, 2019 - 8:29 am

Oh, Susan, I will soon turn 74 and I had to smile broadly when you asked, “Am I too old to actually, finally have my little cottage business?” I have done so much since I was 59 that I feel like I’ve had a lifetime of blessings just during these last 15 years. I’ve written and published a book; created a life coaching business, which I still delight in; traveled all over France with my darling husband (six annual trips and counting); and recently began painting in watercolor and have had some of those paintings hung in shows. There’s so mush life after 60 if you are blessed with good health. How wonderful that you are using your gifts to make special days for others! What an inspiration Sharon is to all of us who love to take the time to embrace the beauty around us.

Betty February 9, 2019 - 2:45 pm

Your thoughts are perfect for going into a
New Year, and who knows what is in store
for each one of us? I must be older than
all if you, but I find that what I would say
to my teenage self is the same thing I would
say to myself today:
Have courage! Resist peer pressure.
Be myself in spite of criticism or
Negativism from others- even well meaning
friends or family.
Yes, create something every day and
find fulfillment in it.
Show love to people each day.
Never, never, never give up!

Jeanne February 9, 2019 - 2:51 pm

Sharon I like best that you said, “There is no right way or wrong way to spend our time here”. We make choices and they take us places in our life – the best direction is forward! There is poem I gave my son once: “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. That’s life. I wrote a blog recently about my dog that was put to sleep between Christmas and New Year. I pretend I had a conversation with him about his life – if he had it over again, what he would do differently. I know he would say, “I have no regrets. I didn’t waste my time – I did everything I wanted to do. I lived my life, every day. I did as I pleased and I hurt no-one. Why do you ask me if I was happy? What does happy mean? If it means having a full heart, a heart full of everything, then of course I was. My life was a dog’s life, I didn’t expect it to be anything else.”

I want my life to be like that. With nothing but love in my heart. Without any wasted time and without any regrets. I want to do as I please and I don’t want to expect my life to be anything else, other than what it is.

So yes, taking stock, I am glad to know that my life is everything I wanted it to be. If you want peace and contentment, then you trust the road you are on. And are glad for the road you came along. And you look up and forward, going for it 300%!

Bon Weekend Sharon! <3

bonnie groves poppe February 9, 2019 - 6:39 pm

Yes, Jeanne, we should all be more like our dogs. Its fine to reflect on your life, but unless you’ve really screwed up (in which case you may not be reading this blog), you just wag your tail and say, Oh Yeah, It was Good! Can I have a cookie?
bonnie in provence

Margo February 9, 2019 - 3:16 pm

One of the hardest years of my life was my final year of working prior to retirement. I found it difficult to be tying up loose ends rather than starting projects that stretched into the future. Physically I was tired and ready to give up all those years of striving to get ahead in my career. It was a difficult transition complicated by nagging health issues and moving to a smaller home in a more rural community. I’ve felt cut off, sometimes feeling like I’m smothering without the busy life I had. I have had a good life, a strong marriage of 48 years and both children and grandchildren. I find it hard to know that my best years have gone by and that planning for a future at this stage of the game is very different. Even when planting a tree in the garden I think that we won’t be around to care if it has gotten too large after twenty years. I am grateful to this site because I have found links to blogs that I never knew existed. They have been my saving grace these past few months. Especially when reading other comments and realizing that there are a lot of women out there just like me who still spend a great deal of time working in their home and enjoying this stage of life. I’ve recently rented space at a new little shop to try and sell some of the excess things we have from our previous house. I also work there one afternoon a week which I consider the best therapy I could ever get. So between that and connecting with everyone on these blogs I have found something new to do in life and an outlet for creativity and socializing. I am very grateful for this.

sharon santoni February 9, 2019 - 4:47 pm

Thank you for sharing your story Margo 🙂


Sue February 9, 2019 - 8:17 pm

Margo, I appreciate your comments. We too are tying up loose ends now just 23 months from retirement and from moving 700+ miles south to a very downsized home. Like you, I recently rented space in an antique mall and am selling-off lots of the excess. So much stuff. It feels good to divest.

Marti Jessup February 9, 2019 - 3:25 pm

I will be 81 in May, which I can’t believe. There have been many wonderful times and many sad times during my life (my husband suffered from Alzheimers for 11 years and my two sons died – one at 40 from cancer and the other at 60 from a hear attack). The thing is, you must move on with your life and remember all the good times spent with your family and friends. There is a song “My Way” that says so much about how we handle our life. We have all made mistakes and done things we shouldn’t have, but put those things behind you and move on. Tell your family you love them, do something special for a friend (or yourself), laugh, cry, sing and dance. Life is short and there is so much still to do. My passion is travel and I plan to go and do as much as possible for as long as I can. This year my travel plans are to see the Northern Lights in Finland, a river cruise in France, a schooner trip off the coast of Maine, to spend Christmas in Paris and anything else that comes up. Look forward, not back. Life is precious to make the most os it.

sharon santoni February 9, 2019 - 4:49 pm

Dear Marti

I am so sorry for the dreadful sadness you have known. Your optimism and sense of adventure is a lesson to us all

Take care


bonnie groves poppe February 9, 2019 - 6:41 pm

way to go, Marti. Be glad for the good, accept the sad, continue forward. I’m only 75 and I want to be like you when I grow up.
bonnie in provence

Kelly Durden February 10, 2019 - 1:41 am

Bravo, Marti! I am saving your post for uplifting inspiration! Thanks to you for your optimism and thank you Sharon (and Happy Birthday!) for opening this dialog. What wonderful readers you have!

Sharon Santoni February 10, 2019 - 1:17 pm

I agree Kelly, I am indeed blessed! I never ceased to be amazed by the people who read this blog. All your comments are read, even though I can’t respond to each one, and I count myself extremely fortunate to be in such good company




Marilyn L February 16, 2019 - 6:14 pm

Marti. You have made me think. I was widowed 18 months ago after 40 years together. You make me realise I must stop thinking ‘poor me’ and get on with life after all I am only 72! Despite financial limitations there is still plenty I can do. Thank you.

Dottie Monta February 9, 2019 - 3:52 pm

Happy Birthday, Sharon! I, too, am grateful that my life is beautiful and that I wouldn’t change a thing. Sure, it’s fun to think about the “what-ifs,” but I’ve concluded that it had to be more than my judgment leading my choices: I’ve kept the good Lord busy guiding my paths! What is so important, as you point out, is to create, to contribute, to share. There is such beauty in the world that it is hard for me to understand (my mother felt the same way) how anyone could suffer boredom. How like you to remind us of this, as you do so sweetly, often, whether you realize it or not!

Marilyn McPheron February 9, 2019 - 4:17 pm

On Wednesday, I attended the celebration of the life of my aunt, 101 years and 7 months old at her death. I went with my mother, age 92. My aunt was vibrant and healthy, lived on her own, until 18 months ago when she started to become frailer and frailer BUT never lost her quick wit and bright mind. At 92, my mother is still quite busy all the time but often laments the things she can no longer do (a very short list actually!). I hope that I have inherited their longevity genes. In that vein, I have been considering what I want from the next 30 plus years of my life. I have some ideas. Some that I must achieve on my own and some that I must convince my husband that this is the best way to live our lives when he retires — lol. A note on Mary Oliver — a long time residence of State College PA. I knew of Mary when we lived there. I knew she was a poet. What I did not realize was that she was famous and known all over the world for her poetry. I discovered that in her obituary! Mary died in January this year. Many of my friends in State College did know her personally and their words of sorrow and missing her when she died touched me…she was beloved. I have since been reading her poetry and like it. Here’s the NPR essay on Mary: https://www.npr.org/2019/01/17/577380646/beloved-poet-mary-oliver-who-believed-poetry-mustn-t-be-fancy-dies-at-83

June February 9, 2019 - 4:51 pm

Happy Birthday Sharon and thank you beautiful ladies, for all your inspirational posts. I too am amazed at my life and how I became 75 years old so quickly! I have so much gratitude as I reflect on my life. I love having access to your blog, Sharon, as I can see that I share so many experiences of your readers. I’m happy to learn about Mary Oliver and plan to access her poetry to add to my spiritual growth.
Thank you all for sharing!

suze pfaffinger February 9, 2019 - 5:00 pm

Thank you Sharon for the insightful thoughts about living. I just completed 10 1/2 years of working with children who are facing many challenges through no fault of their own and now pondering and waiting for the next chapter to unfold. I’m enjoying more time now to not be hurried with appointments or take crisis calls all hours of the day and night. I’m spending time reading more, meeting for coffee and chats with friends, being creative at home tiding up my clothes closet etc. People have asked me what work I’m seeking now & I tell them I’m not rushing into something but waiting for God to direct my path each day by enjoying the solitude that is at my disposal now & not filling each moment with doing something but listening and restoring my soul with beauty and the good things of life. Dallas Willard is a marvelous bible theologian and talks about soul keeping & John Ortberg wrote a book with that title. They both say that caring for the most important part of you is soul keeping. The soul needs a future, rest, freedom, blessing, satisfaction, gratitude, & God. These are all the things I’m leaning into right now and it is good.

Lorraine Kleinwaks February 9, 2019 - 5:03 pm

Hi Sharon,

Happy Birthday. I’m so glad I just signed up for your blog. This is the first one I received. What a lovely way to start. Lorraine

Sharon Santoni February 10, 2019 - 1:19 pm

Thank you Lorraine, and welcome on board! 🙂


Ida Duplechin February 9, 2019 - 5:30 pm

Happiest of Birthdays Sharon! I loved this blog and all the comments. I am moving through a transformation, also. The most important lession I’ve learned for me to is to avoid reflexive binary thinking: good/bad, on/off, yes/no. I accept that I’m a matrix thinker: what’s the spectrum of possibilities? What are the congruent actions that bring it life into alignment? I’ve also followed some wonderful advice that I hadn’t considered in terms of my life. As a gardener, I know that a pleasant and productive garden requires maintenance which includes pruning. I’ve reviewed my life and begun the pruning process w/relationships because this has been my greatest challenge. I have the well-honed ability to have fine dogs, cattle and horses. I know about my garden. For some reason, I didn’t have well-developed skills with relationships. As I’ve matured my joy is now in the pleasure of a routine that is supportive in my self-care, self-love and congruent with my core values of integrity, compassion and equilibrium. Now that I’ve begun to recover from the hurricanes and horrific flood, I’m gradually adding activities back to my life that align with my core values Thank you for your blessing of your sharing such a post of empowerment and support.

Natalie February 9, 2019 - 5:49 pm

Happy Belated Birthday! I love this post about life and going forward. I will be 46 years old in a couple of weeks and know more of what I want than ever. I regret I wasted my twenties after college by marrying the wrong person. My twenties were comprised of paying off his debts. My thirties led to divorce which was like taking the world off my shoulders. However, in between, I still had the spirit to live in joy. I had my small hobby farm and left it. But what I have discovered is that if you have the formula to do anything you can recreate, as I have done. Finding the magic in between trying times is another formula that serves well in life. Sometimes I have had to remind myself of that. Life can be filled with magic. Maybe it’s a secret garden, or a journal that reflects our inner glimmer that will not fade.

Natalia Radula February 9, 2019 - 5:51 pm

Happy Birthday,dear Sharon!Blessings and health for many more,shared with your beautiful family!
Your words never fail to bring peace and inspiration,something to look forward to and try to fit onto my own life.
My birthday is next month(72nd).I tend to reflect on my life,too
Now,though I spend most of my time giving thanks for the grace and happiness I have been granted–recovery from cancer and health issues,a wonderful husband of 54 years,my beautiful family,the fulfilling career I so wished for.So many blessings!
If I could talk to my 20 year old self,like you,Sharon,I’d say GO FOR IT! And if my 20 year
Thank you for giving me opportunity and wish to once again realize this.I am on the way to revisit Mary Oliver and Robert Frost(my favorites also).
Blessings to you and yours!

Saskia February 9, 2019 - 6:05 pm

At 55, after living in NYC all my life, I bought a country house about an hour north of my NY apartment;
at 65, I published my first book, having vowed that I would never write one. At 75, I am active, contemplative, and serene. These milestones teach me that each stage of life has its own surprises and its own rewards. I don’t look back, except with appreciation for what life has taught me. I don’t spend too much time looking forward either. I believe the present is where I should be. So, taking each day as it comes allows me to enjoy the moment; and when those moments have passed, I’ve created warming memories. Thank you for sharing your open heart and stimulating thoughts.

bonnie groves poppe February 9, 2019 - 6:54 pm

Thanks for reminding us to take stock. I think its something I do continually as I move through my long life. I’m only 75, but there’s a lot that’s happened on the way here. Regrets seem self-indulgent unless you re-label them as learning experiences. I regret nothing (I think that’s an Edith Piaf song) but I know there are choices I could have not made that might have been a good idea. Oh well. I’m amused by the responses from people in their 40s and 50s, they’ve got lots of time and I hope they know that. I was once married, but that was a long time ago; I had no children by choice; I have no religious beliefs. Every day I think how fortunate I am, what a great life I’m having, and also the many people in the world who are less fortunate than everyone I know. Coulda, woulda, shoulda is not something that I’ve embraced in my life. I stopped working for pay when I was 55, due to some real estate investments (good houses in bad shape, working a job during the day and fixing houses at night). Good luck and good choices. So here I am in Provence, France, being thankful every minute of every day. I think you probably feel the same.
bonnie in provence

Sue February 9, 2019 - 8:34 pm

O.k, you’re officially my hero. Well done.

Karen February 13, 2019 - 11:33 pm

Thank you Bonnie. At 55 you are an inspiration for my future!

Lin Powell February 9, 2019 - 7:20 pm

At 70 yrs old, I do a lot of “taking stock” as well and I’m happy to say there is not a lot I would change. There was some tweaking that might have been good, but nothing major. My family have all been blessed with good health so I don’t have “duty” calling on me to help out, and we have enough money to live our retirement comfortably if we don’t spend in a silly way. I found that I have happily and purposely retreated into a quiet life of playing with my art supplies, something I missed or squeezed into brief moments when raising a family and working. I want to try to get all the ideas and practice that had been gathering in my head, out before life changes my circumstances. Now I am spending time with self care without guilt, and loving where I am right now.

June rubenstein February 9, 2019 - 8:40 pm

I say Amen to all of the above ladies comments.
At 82 I live every moment. I love every moment. It’s difficult to reflect and wonder what I would have done or what might have been…because the past is in the past and it really doesn’t matter. The future is the rest of this day and I am ever grateful for whatever will be.
I started painting at 65 and it’s my pleasure now…Tho I struggle to find time to do it.
And lastly my children and their children are my greatest joy. And I am thankful for that!
I would advise anyone under 82 to reflect and see wahat they can do better tomorrow if they are blessed enough to have tomorrow..
Happy Birthday Sharon…you are truly blessed.

Robert February 9, 2019 - 8:46 pm

Happy Birthday!! I am amazed by the brave, brilliant, and adventure-oriented women! YOU and your readers are so generous to share your “joie de vivre” and your philosophy for a wonderful life.

Sharon Santoni February 10, 2019 - 1:20 pm

Thank you Robert! My readers are generous, as are you to leave such a kind comment 🙂



Sunflower February 9, 2019 - 9:06 pm

What wonderful, positive, caring and uplifting comments these are to read. There is no critical comments made about anyone who posts but I do feel that this is very much how as older women we become reflective and grateful for what we all have or have had and our main source of love is our families.. I also think Sharon your blog sets the scene for this kindness and love towards each other. Thank you
On a location note Sharon, Norfolk is on the east of the UK, I don’t want you going the wrong direction on a future visit! Norfolk is a beautiful rural county with Norwich as it’s capital and boasts wonderful coastlines as welll as historic cities and delightful rural villages. The Queen also has a rural residence in Sandringham where she always spends Christmas there. The sun always seems to shine in Norfolk when we visit which we do often.

sharon santoni February 9, 2019 - 11:10 pm

Thank you for your kind comment and your timely correction. Of course Norfolk is on the East coast !! Not sure why I typed West! 🙂

Mary Ziegler February 9, 2019 - 9:13 pm

Happy belated birthday Sharon! May you keep experiencing all the wonders of life and sharing those indelible moments on your blog! You make the world a better place!

I love how Henry David Thoreau framed it, “Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one.” Life to me is an open door full of endless possibilities and choices. I have always held on to my unique self, while embracing the different stages of my life. Each stage of life has been a continuum of self-discovery, learning and enrichment. As a result, I recently started a blog – Awakening Wonders, which wound not have happened in my professional “career life”. Now with the added luxury of time, I feel ready to embrace this exciting adventure and share with the world my embraceable moments. A time to awaken others to all the simple pleasures that make life grand!

Thank you for your insightful post, Taking Stock on Life! Wonderful . . . and again wonderful!

suzana borlovan February 9, 2019 - 9:58 pm

Sharon, at the young age of 53, I have lived. I have left footprints in the sand. I have walked barefooted on the grass. I have sang with the radio and danced while there is music.
Regrets? Life is too short for regrets, the mistakes/choices I have made over the years, have made me the person I am today.
I embrace my grey hairs, the wrinkles on my face, the not so firm skin on my abdomen. I have EARNED them.
Suzana xxx

Carole J February 9, 2019 - 10:40 pm

Hi Sharon, great scenery of the beach, snow and seaside! Wonderful you had a fun birthday weekend and a time for reflection as well. I do not live with regret, I view each stage of my life highlighting the positives and blessings in each year. I know we have all heard this many times over and over, but eating healthy, some exercise program, and rest are essential. I think to find what one enjoys in life helps directs a path. Being true to ones self, not measuring against another person but finding in ourselves what brings us joy. Find even the smallest glimpses of joy everyday. If there are any struggles I look to the possibilities of solutions. Don’t dwell on the past, it’s the past, for as I say, ” that was then, this is now.” I try to keep a positive outlook. That was great advice to your friend as it’s true don’t lose perspective. I am sure you helped your friend see the positives in their life, and to go forward. Have a lovely weekend !

Carol February 10, 2019 - 12:17 am

Well, the best part of all this is that everyone is thinking similar things to me, both the negative and positive comments. I am not alone! Wonderful!

Colleen Taylor February 10, 2019 - 12:37 am

Happy belated birthday Sharon! Mine was just a few weeks ago. Mistakes & regrets, yes I have a few but who truly doesn’t. One thing I’ve constantly strived to do was continue with a positive forward progression. I try not to look back but occasionally I do catch myself, however, my mind quickly shifts into another gear. What I lost out on when I was much younger, I’m making up for that lost time now.
I still have many irons in the fire & I wish there were more hours in the day to complete more of my desires. I wish I had the time to read all these wonderful responses Sharon because many are priceless. I do know I want to be Marti when I grow up.

Mimi Brooks February 10, 2019 - 5:27 am

first of all …. happy birthday, sharon!
i am at that stage where i think upon those same things. regrets? i have tons. but since there are no time machines (yet!), i realize there is nothing to be done about changing the past. so i look forward to having time now to try really hard not to make the same mistakes and just breathe. live like there are no “what ifs”. baby steps. and i’m having a marvelous time of it!! xo mimi

Debbie February 10, 2019 - 7:09 am

Happy belated birthday Sharon. Your birthday getaway sounded like a perfect way to spend a birthday.
I think as we get a bit older we have more time to think. Less distractions and time to compare our lives with others. I am happy and content with my life but have the occasional trip down memory lane and wonder if my life…..could have been a bit different, but to be honest I think if something isn’t broken then why try to fix it. I have a friend who appeared to have a perfect life (well, that’s the Facebook life) but one day she woke up after 30 yrs of marriage and said. “Enough of the not so perfect life” and left her husband. No cheating, no fighting to blame. He is such a lovely man. She just wanted change. She wants to feel like a teenager again. Me,,,,,I’d go on a holiday but she does something so drastic her entire life is upside down and she is starting everything from scratch. I only hope she doesn’t later have regrets and it’s too late for reconciliation. I guess we all do things differently but I really believe appreciating all the good things in relationships and life is better than focusing on the tiny negatives and too much nostalgia creates way too much melancholy. For me rushing around trying to impress fakebook friends is so last century. I much prefer a walk in a gorgeous garden watching butterflies, walking on a quiet beach, going on holidays any day and I’m definately not doing selfies.
I love the pics of your flowers and garden. Love your blog.

Judi Miller February 10, 2019 - 7:43 am

Happy Birthday, Sharon! I just loved reading your post – brought up the many thoughts I’ve been having for a while. Reading all your wonderful readers’ notes have also given me a big lift! I just want to start small in ‘doing for the rest of my life.’ – thinking the ‘tidying up’ craze is right up my alley…. now for follow-through!

Shelia P. February 10, 2019 - 9:22 am

Happy belated birthday Sharon! I’ve just recently signed up for your blog and it seems as if I’m in the right place! As I’ve gotten older the one good thing is, I’ve stopped caring what other people think. I used to always feel like I had to look a certain way or act a certain way. Now I just don’t care and it’s so freeing! I threw away all my makeup and grew my graying hair down to my waist and stick it in a ponytail. It’s been truly liberating! I have plenty of regrets but I try not to let them eat me alive anymore. I’m a work in progress. I have no choice but to keep moving forward and with a little bit of grace. Have a wonderful weekend!

Ann P. February 11, 2019 - 5:54 am

Happy Birthday, Sharon!
Just celebrated mine, February 5.
I guess in short, trying to become closer to the
Lord in all I do for others: family, friends,
The poor and the sick. Preparing for that
Big Day is something we should all strive for
Daily. Can’t get to Heaven empty handed!

Andrea K. February 11, 2019 - 9:45 pm

Simply. You have no idea how much I needed to read this blog today. Long story short, I am at a momentary stand still and asking myself these very same questions and for Universal support! Always a reason for a just by chance – I signed up for this blog. Thank you!

Kerry February 11, 2019 - 11:36 pm

Good Afternoon Sharon
I read your blog and follow your visual story much like a child listens to a fairy tale. A life of horses, gardens ,dogs , family, freinds and all things French!
I am not well prepared for being an empty nester and don’t have the answers to the questions that come to call during life reflection.
I’m intrigued by your readers comments and hope I can one day exude such strength of character.
You are inspiring!

Sharon Ponticelli February 12, 2019 - 12:18 am

If I could talk to my teenage self I belief I would say, get the best education you can but that you also never stop learning. Learn to live on your own before taking on new relationships. Really listen to your elders and their wisdom. Make a plan to follow your dreams and stick to it. Be alert, try not to fall into any of life’s traps that may bring you down. Don’t settle for anything less than what you dream. Know that nothing stays the same forever, so live each day to the fullest. Be brave! And most of all, walk with the Lord and stay in His Word. Life is beautiful!

Anita Lee February 12, 2019 - 8:56 am

Sharon, thank you for posting your birthday thoughts. I’ve enjoyed your blog and books for years and love the comments that this particular entry has elicited. May you have many more inspired and creative adventures to share with us in the future.

Kat February 12, 2019 - 10:28 pm

Ah, the hopes and dreams of youth. I chose a career path and work loation to be close to my dearest grandfather. One of my favorite people. When he was no longer here, I switched careers that would allow me to live where I had always dreamed of living. Unfortunately, timing was wrong and the move was put on hold. Fast forward a few years when I was almost killed in a massive vehicle pile up. It was time for me to live my dream. We sold everything, packed up and moved to sun and sand.
Now 20 years later, I feel I need a new dream. I want to live in France for a few months every year. The country has stolen my heart, and everywhere I went, I felt I had been in another life.
I love your blog and use it as inspiration to plan my next chapter

Linda February 13, 2019 - 10:15 pm

Haooy Birthday Sharon, I have seen the world change in many different ways over the 74 years of my life. I have changed and I like to believe for the better. At 20 I didn’t think to look at my future and quickly made decisions that I wouldn’t today. However, all my decisions have lead me up to where I am today. I am much stronger, kinder, compassionate, tolerant and loving. I have a wonderful and loving family that I wouldn’t change for the world. I have been blessed beyond measure. I am spending the rest of my life in service to my family, friends and those who need help more than I do. Plus I am having fun and joy along the way.

Kimberley Fielding February 27, 2019 - 7:38 am

My husband Kevin is retiring tomorrow. And it is his birthday! Happy birthday to you Sharon!
The sentiment you stated is so true. My husband had cancer last year and is now cured (remission). We just bought a RV van and are traveling through the U.S. We don’t care so much about our home in the Bay Area or our home at Tahoe as much, we are just going to wing it and live life. The only thing that matters are relationships. Family and close friends make the world go around. And our faith. We will go round the world to meet close friends. Blessings everyone, k


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