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Forty is much better


Fri, Apr 26th, 2002
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Monday, April 22, 2001

A decade ago, I worked at a bookstore in Fairmont with a wonderful woman named Rhea. She was a kind soul with a habit of championing underdogs. She was a chain smoker and feisty. Its embarrassing to remember that I was whining to her one day about the fact that I was soon to turn thirty.

"Youre right," she said. "Thirty is no good."

I was surprised. "What do you mean?"

"I didnt like being thirty. Forty is much better," she said. "When youre thirty, you still worry too much about what other people think. At forty, you start to not care so much about others opinions and youre a lot more free. And then at fifty, you really NEVER worry about what others will thinkyou just make up your own mind. And then at sixtyLOOK OUT WORLD!"

She gave an evil little laugh. She was in her sixties.

My next birthday will be the big 4-0. Ill be honest: most of the time I dont feel so good about it. I keep mentioning it to people, "Im almost forty," hoping theyll register some shock or at least surprise. But they dont. I dont feel forty, but I look it. Sigh.

But as a firm believer in the "silver lining" principle, Ive been trying to remind myself about Rheas wisdom. We tend to look at getting older as a process of losing things, but maybe theres much to gain. Yet why is it that with every advantage to getting old, theres at least one disadvantage? You may lose some of your self-consciousness, but you gain weight. You gain new priorities, but they involve things like getting to bed earlier and having comfortable shoes. Not exactly thrilling.

In addition to the new prioities, Ive noticed that as I age, there are many things I cannot tolerate. Raw onions. Diet cola. Fools. Bullies.

Perhaps another symptom of aging is the urge to offer advice. I overheard some of my twenty-something students talking about how they wished they could stop being so self-conscious, worrying about what others will think of them.

"Oh, that goes away," I interjected. They stared. I was compelled to explain. "That feeling? You know, not doing something you really want to do because of what others would think? As you get older that goes away. Isnt that good news?"

I could tell by their stunned expressions that it was, indeed, good news. If they hadnt hurried away, I might have shared a few more helpful gems of wisdom, that have just sort of come to me:
--Youll spend the first .....
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Foods Weekly Ads

Are You Game?

Fri, Apr 26th, 2002
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Monday, January 21, 2002

A quick note on the NFL playoffs which are in full swing with the Vikings sitting on the couch watching on TV like most everyone else. Look for the Rams, Eagles, Patriots and Ravens to go to the next level. The Packers ..... 
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Bluff Country Bird Festival

Fri, Apr 26th, 2002
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Monday, March 18, 2002

"I think of Fillmore County as my true home," says John Hockema, one of Minnesota's most skilled birdwatchers. John and I are visiting over lunch at the Harmony House. We have just come from a planning meeting for the th ..... 
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"Taming a Shrew is Highly Unlikely"

Fri, Apr 26th, 2002
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Monday, April 1, 2002

Despite a superficial mouse-like appearance Shrews are not rodents, the mammalian group characterized by chisel shaped incisor teeth to which mice, rats, squirrels and a host of other plant eating species belong. Instead, ..... 
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2002 Perennial Plant

Fri, Apr 26th, 2002
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of the Year
Virginia CooperMonday, March 4, 2002

The Perennial Plant Association has named Phlox 'David' to be the plant of the year. Each year this esteemed group chooses a plant whose character and grace deserve a place of honor.

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A Ham and Cheese Weasel, Please

Fri, Apr 26th, 2002
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Monday, April 22, 2002

It has been a hard couple of weeks for our chicken population. We had sixteen hens until one day last week when I went out to find one lying dead in the barn. I wanted to dig a hole anyway to see if the frost was gone so ..... 
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A Toast to Writers

Fri, Apr 26th, 2002
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Monday, April 29, 2001

We held our semi-annual Journal writers get together last week at the Parkway Pub in Lanesboro. Most of the free-lance writers whose stories you read each week often send their work in by e-mail and dont often get the c ..... 
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Fri, Apr 26th, 2002
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Fri, Apr 26th, 2002
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