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CARMICHAEL: The crazy old broad looks at 70

My 70th birthday was this week, but I didn’t celebrate the milestone.

Yes, I’m grateful to have made it through another year when so many did not; but when COVID strikes near to home and you can put the names of people you know and love next to the statistics, your own mortality becomes reality.

I’ll admit, I have never been particularly health-conscious. I never deviated from burgers and fries when ordering at restaurants until I was 13 years old. That was the year that my father took a look at my pudgy waistline in a bathing suit and demanded that I eat salads and vegetables on our annual summer vacation. He never said so, but I’m sure he regretted that edict when he was forced to stop at every restroom between Kentucky and Florida. My system rebelled.

I have consistently touted an aversion to anything that might result in sweating. My lifelong motto has always been, “Southern ladies do not sweat — we glisten.”

My sainted mother felt so blessed to have the opportunity to adopt me, she baked whenever there was any assault to my physical or mental well-being.

“Fall off your bike? I’ll make you a nice cake”

“The mean ole boy broke your heart? Here’s a yummy cobbler.”

And since she and Daddy had never experienced a pregnancy, when I carried their first precious grandchild, they insisted I just lie still and eat whatever I craved. By the time I gave birth, I needed to be rolled into the hospital like a giant beach ball.

It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes a couple of years ago that I was scared straight.

At long last, I cut carbohydrates and sugar out of my diet. Incentive to care for my 14-month old great-grandchild, I was finally able to get up off the couch.

I now lift those adorable 22 pounds a dozen or more times a day a few days a week and carry her up and down stairs. Before the temps dropped below 40 degrees, I pushed the baby in the stroller for a mile or more twice a day.

Admittedly, like many of you, I’ve become weary from the nine months of pandemic lockdown. I’ve never “wintered” well.

Long, dreary, cold days tend to be depressing for many of us. Add to that the stressors of the coronavirus and restrictions surrounding the holidays, and most of us have comforted ourselves with a little more eggnog (with or without the “nog”), baked treats from happier Christmases past (and eaten them) and tumbled off the fitness wagon.

I do challenge myself to stay mentally sharp. I take all the legitimate intelligence quizzes I find online. I’ve successfully completed at least one NY Times Crossword puzzle without cheating.

None of us know what 2021 will bring, but I plan to do everything in my power to tread safely forward, not only to protect myself and ensure a few more good years, as well as to keep those with whom I come in contact safe.

I wish each and every one of you and yours a safe, healthy, happy holiday.

Remember, the sacrifices we’re asked to make this year will mean we’ll move forward together into the new year.