So now I’m 59

I turned 59 yesterday. As you get older, your birthday goes from being the high point of your year to something you give a wary sidelong glance as it whips by.

You back away a little. Birthdays start reminding you of all the people who aren’t around anymore to celebrate them with you — grandparents and parents and siblings and friends.

So to have an amazing birthday — that’s an unexpected grace note in your life, something you don’t expect anymore.

My amazing birthday started when Matt and I walked a tiny distance to a local bakery in our new town and bought a bunch of very NOT keto celebratory stuff.

Then we drove to Gnadenhutten, where I showed Matt and Joe the three houses I’d lived in when I lived there — one on Cherry Street when I was three or four, one on Spring Street when I was five to six, and one on Tuscarawas Avenue when I was seven (before we moved to Alaska).

Showed them my school, which was the elementary and high school when I lived there, but which is now apparently just the high school.

Finding places you lived when you were very small is challenging — but while Gnadenhutten has gotten a bit bigger (and is still a lovely town), I was able to locate both the Spring Street and Tuscarawas Avenue houses.

The one on Cherry Avenue is kind of iffy, because I was around three or four when I lived there, and I remember the place only because the lady who lived downstairs from us (and from whom my parents rented the upstairs) had these gorgeous tucked red velvet pillows that she would let me touch when I went to visit.

And because that house was the place where I got my mouth washed out with soap when my rideable Yogi Bear threw me to the sidewalk, and I loudly called him a goddamned bear. S l225

I have tended to wax philosophical in some of my past birthday posts. And I don’t do them that often, because birthdays when you’re an adult are usually just another day.

But here’s the thing…

Yeah, I’m getting older, and getting older carries with it the sure knowledge that you’re pushing toward an ending, and you’d prefer that to remain a long damn way in the future.

But at 59, I’m down a minimum of a hundred pounds and a max of around a hundred thirty from the most I ever weighed. I stopped weighing myself when I hit 231, but I kept gaining weight while increasing another whole WalMart X size. So I don’t know exactly how much weight I’ve lost. I know it’s a lot.

My blood pressure, blood glucose, and overall health are superb.

I no longer have a parathyroid tumor, and am still clear of tongue cancer. We’ll ignore the fact that I have a cold today.

And I now live in Ohio.

As you get older, birthdays stop feeling all that special. But this one — this one was spectacular.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and indie-publish my new ones.

38 comments… add one
  • Kathleen A Frost Dec 11, 2019 @ 21:10

    Happy belated birthday. I’m glad yours was better than mine (I spent my 72nd birthday, Dec. 2, in the ER with what turned out to be Bell’s Palsy, not a stroke, though it looked like one. Since I can’t blink or close one eye and have it taped shut, my computer/writing time is severely limited, but I will get back to reading your posts and writing in a month or so. Thank you for all you do for writers.

    • Holly Lisle Dec 16, 2019 @ 14:41

      I’m so sorry. That’s an awful way to spend your birthday. I hope you’re okay now.

  • Therese Oct 12, 2019 @ 18:23

    Happy belated birthday, Holly! I’m glad it was a good one.

    • Holly Oct 15, 2019 @ 16:08

      Thank you, Therese. I really appreciate it.

  • Lisa Oct 11, 2019 @ 22:22

    Wishing you a belated happy birthday, Holly, and many, many more years of contentment. 🙂

    • Holly Oct 15, 2019 @ 16:07

      😀 Thank you so much.

  • Sylvia Oct 11, 2019 @ 18:52

    Happy belated birthday, Holly! So glad it was a good one and that you’re happy to be back in your hometown. I want to thank you for contributing to my own weight loss over these last two years. When you began writing about your success with intermittent fasting the same time I was reading about it other places, I said ‘why not?’ First time I’ve kept the weight off, too! Bet you didn’t know you’re not only a writing guru, you’re a weight loss guru, too!!! Wishing you much more success and happiness.

    • Holly Oct 15, 2019 @ 16:05

      First time I’ve kept the weight off, too! Bet you didn’t know you’re not only a writing guru, you’re a weight loss guru, too!!! Wishing you much more success and happiness.

      Oh, no. I’m not that. I just pointed to the thing Matt found that actually worked for us.

      But thanks. It’s been damn near the best birthday ever.

  • Jacquelyn Oct 10, 2019 @ 20:23

    Happy Birthday and congrats on the fantastic health achievements!

    • Holly Oct 15, 2019 @ 16:02

      Thank you, Jacquelyn.

      The weight loss took a while but was ridiculously easy. No exercise. Just ate paleo — and then, to get the last 40 pounds off, keto — and stuck with it.

      The writing is coming, the books I’m doing make me happy. And Ohio just keeps being better and cooler than any of us expected. How often does that happen?

  • Bruce Andis Oct 10, 2019 @ 20:16

    Happy birthday!

    I’m famous for being lowkey about my birthday — I said nothing about my ninth, when my mother suddenly remembered around 6 p.m. and started frantically baking a cake.

    But like you, this year’s was special — the first spent with my college sweetheart with whom I reconnected this past January after 41 years. And who surprised me with a trip to NYC to see “Wicked,” which I had promised her I would see ‘some day.’

    So. Maybe it’s the season for truly happy birthdays. My heart is warmed by your’s.

    • Tuff Oct 10, 2019 @ 20:28

      My best birthday was actually in 2018, when I proposed to a dear college friend after reconnecting almost 30 years post college (in 2017)…and she said YES!!! We married this past April and I’ve never been happier. My 2019 birthday was great as well, my first married to the best woman on Earth. But 2018 will always be my best birthday because I completely surprised her. I knew she would make that day all about me. She asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday and I had told her a picnic, and for her to pick her favorite place to go. We arrived, found a great spot in a flower garden area, laid out the blanket, got out the wine and cheese and started talking. The conversation naturally flowed to the discussion about what I thought I was getting for my birthday. That’s when I told her I knew what I hoped to get for my birthday, and proposed to her. GOT HER!!!!

      • Holly Oct 11, 2019 @ 14:58

        And WOW. That’s so romantic. 😀

    • Holly Oct 11, 2019 @ 14:57

      Aww. That’s wonderful. Congratulations.

  • Kim Iverson Oct 10, 2019 @ 16:51

    I’m so glad you had such a great birthday. You deserve it after all you’ve been accomplishing! Love the story of Yogi too, lol.

    I understand all too well how birthdays can just be an “eh,” at times. Mine started to be that way after I lost my father. He passed two weeks after I turned 21, and it was on his 56th birthday. So it was VERY hard to get into caring about them, hopefully one day I’ll be able to again. I’m 39 now. BUT on a completely random sidenote, I have a funny story for you that I just remembered. For whatever reason last night I dreamt about you. lol You were listening to a lot of “90s,” music (they were actually 80s songs, but in the dream it was referred to as 90s) and dancing around like a teenager (like the running in place shaking head, just enjoying the song dance). ahaha Last song I heard which is still in my head was the Ramones – Sedated. I’m still giggling about it.

    • Holly Oct 11, 2019 @ 14:59

      You were listening to a lot of “90s,” music (they were actually 80s songs, but in the dream it was referred to as 90s) and dancing around like a teenager (like the running in place shaking head, just enjoying the song dance).

      That’s scary… because I actually do that…

      • Kim Iverson Oct 11, 2019 @ 16:42

        Well dang. lol That makes it even funnier to me, but also a little . . . weird. haha

  • Bonnie Oct 10, 2019 @ 14:09

    You continue to amaze me. Uprooting (even to re-root) is a huge freaking deal at 59. (I did it at 50, but with my fingernails in the woodwork). To do that AND get healthy AND be ready to sit down and get creative? You rock. Happy Best Birthday.

    • Holly Oct 11, 2019 @ 15:01

      Thanks, Bonnie. This has been a really good year for me, and I’ve enjoyed the writing, and the moving, and a lot of other good things. 😀

  • Vanessa Oct 10, 2019 @ 13:22

    So happy that THIS birthday was spectacular.

  • Ken Casey Oct 10, 2019 @ 12:39

    Happy Birthday, Holly! And, congratulations on your move. I hope you settle in well and enjoy Ohio living. 🙂

    • Holly Oct 11, 2019 @ 15:02

      I love this place. I have always loved this place, and to come back nearly fifty years later and discover that it still deserves to be loved is a testament to the place.

      Thank you. This has been a tremendous birthday.

  • Sue Osthaus Oct 10, 2019 @ 12:18

    Happy Birthday

  • Clare Oct 10, 2019 @ 12:09

    Happy birthday, Holly! And welcome back to the midwest. You picked the best time of year to return. Here in the Chicago area we are enjoying our famously lovely autumn!

    Here’s to being 50-something! (53 on the 26th!! Woo hoo!)

    • Holly Oct 11, 2019 @ 15:04

      Happy upcoming birthday — and we’re not quite to the leaf-peeper stage yet. But I’m waiting. Joe, who has never seen snow, is a bit more impatient than I am.

      But I’ve missed that, too.

  • dragon Oct 10, 2019 @ 11:46

    Belated birthday wishes! Sounds like you are definitely enjoying life and having fun. What more can anyone ask … well, words, maybe …

    • Holly Oct 11, 2019 @ 15:04

      Yeah… I definitely have to finish unpacking and get back to the words. I wrote three novels this year, and ALL of them need to be revised.

  • Lita Oct 10, 2019 @ 11:30

    Awesome! Happiest of happy birthdays (a little late), Holly, with much love xxx

  • Tuff Oct 10, 2019 @ 11:13

    Happy birthday Holly! Glad to hear these are happy times for you! Here’s to happiness the rest of long-lived life! Cheers!

  • emmiD Oct 10, 2019 @ 11:03

    Happy birthday! Happy life with health!

    • Holly Oct 11, 2019 @ 15:06

      Thank you so much, Emmi. The health thing especially. 😀

  • Reetta Oct 10, 2019 @ 9:35

    Happy birthday! It’s the perfect time to be back home again, and to revel in some nostalgy.

    • Holly Oct 11, 2019 @ 15:07

      I’m revelling. I cannot believe how much this place is still as I remember. Lovely and graceful and full of wonderful, friendly people. I’m so happy to be home.

  • Stephanie Oct 10, 2019 @ 3:34

    Happy Birthday! So glad you guys got moved safe, and made this birthday one for the record books.

    • Holly Oct 11, 2019 @ 15:08

      Thanks, Stephanie. I’m now hoping we don’t set the OTHER record — longest time to finish unpacking. At the moment it kind of looks like we might be giving that one a good run.

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