• Fundamentals for Fun at Fifty-Five

    1. Dare to try new things

    2. Say yes to opportunities

    3. Relax, smile, dance away your worries

    4. If not now, when?

    5. Just do it (you can analyze later)

  • Discounts for Fifty-Five +

    Golden Griddle Restaurant - 10% discount (excluding alcohol)
    Shoppers Drug Mart - 20% discount on Thursdays
    Zellers - 20% discount first Monday of month
    Thrifty Rental - 5% off time and mileage
    Best Western - 10% off room rates
    Sandman Hotels - 25% off room rates
    Howard Johnson Hotels - 10% off room rates

  • Fifty-Five is …

    fabulous, fanciful, fancy-free, fantastic, far-out, fashionable, fearless, feisty, fiery, fine, flamboyant, flashy, flattering, flirtatious, folksy, forthright, fortunate, foxy, frank, free, fresh, friendly, frivolous, fulsome, fun, funky, funny

Soaring To Unexpected Heights

There are some birthdays that stand out in my memory because of the unexpected delight they provided. One of my favourite experiences occurred on my 52nd birthday.

I’d been travelling through Ireland for over two months, exploring the south and then heading into Northern Ireland to visit the area along the coast where my grandmother’s family came from. I’d booked a cottage for an entire month on the northern coast near Bushmills. It was on a small farm lane near the extensive cliff paths that meander along the rugged coastline, and only a short walk from the Giant’s Causeway.

I spent my days exploring the cliffs and beaches by foot, arriving back at the cottage for a simple meal eaten in front of a warm fire in the small coal stove. Some evenings I’d go to the next-door cottage to listen to new friends play toe-tapping tunes on violins and Irish harp. One evening I was invited to a pub in a nearby town to hear the same group plus a bodhran (Irish drum) player. It was a magical time.

My last day at the cottage was my birthday. I had planned it that way, although I had no particular plans for the day. In the morning, I decided to go for a walk to say farewell to some of my favourite spots. When I returned, the owner of the cottage (we’d become friends) had arrived to suggest we go and watch her husband fly a glider plane in another town.

It was exciting to see how it all worked – the tow plane taking off with the glider in tow, circling higher and higher. The tow rope was released, and the glider soared on the wind currents. It defied logic.

Suddenly my friend said to me, “It’s your turn.”

What? It seems that they had arranged for me to have a flying lesson for my birthday!

"My" plane

When the time came for me to go up, there was a problem with the tow plane, so I joined my instructor in a glider that also had a motor and a propeller, enabling it to take off on its own. Once in the air, I learned how to fly the plane, using my feet and a lever. It was fun to be up above the fields, looking down on Derry and the Lough Foyle.

Suddenly, my instructor reached over and turned off the engine. Silence. My brain screamed, “We’re going to die!”

He must have seen the terror on my face because he calmly said, “Remember, this is a glider.”

And so we soared. In silence. With me at the controls. Over the northern coast, all the villages I’d visited on foot, the Giant’s Causeway, and even the little cottage I’d been living in.

I was flying a glider. On my birthday. Over Northern Ireland.

Imagine that.

Soaring high!

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  • Julie Wise is …

    a writer, author (Dream BIGGER: Reclaiming a Life of Joy and Ease), life/relationship coach and an intuitive healer by day. By night, she dances flamenco, thrives on chocolate and good red wine (shiraz will do!) She secretly plots to change the world, one dream at a time.
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