OK OK! I promised I would do this for almost one year. I said I would write a monthly column for The Bulletin and just kept putting it off, or more accurately, just couldn't find the time to fit it in. But, I do think it is important and it could be beneficial to readers. Also, I have been preaching about New Year's Resolutions and about stretching oneself, about learning something new, about stepping up to the plate. So, I am practicing what I preach, and I am making a new year's commitment to writing a monthly column.

That shouldn't be so hard, should it? It won't be hard, especially if you all give me feedback and ideas for material.

This column is written for those of us who are in the stage of our lives that some authors refer to as the "Third Age." During the "First Age" we grow up, go to college, start careers, find our mates and settle down. In the "Second Age" we have families, continue our careers, raise our children, get them through college, and help them to live independent lives. Now we are at a time when we are ending, or gearing down from, our careers and wondering what the next step will be. This is the "Third Age" of our lives.

Third Age is a time for new beginnings. It is a time to learn a new sport, take ballroom dance lessons, study opera, try new wines, visit places we always wanted to visit, learn a new language, take yoga or tai chi, or learn to paint or quilt. Good friends of mine just came back from a weekend in Vermont where they spent a day learning how to handle falcons at the British School of Falconry. Who would think that one would ever have a chance to be that close to a falcon sitting on your outstretched arm and looking you right in the face? A new thing! Stretching yourself and learning more about yourself.

I have decided, in addition to committing to this monthly column, to take up Nordic Pole Walking. I hear it is good exercise, that you can burn twice as many calories as with traditional walking, strengthen core muscles, reduce stress to the knees, hip and back, enhance cardiovascular performance and improve posture. Sound likes a good thing to me. A new Nordic Pole Walking group is forming at the Orange Senior Center on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at noon in the High Plains gym. Why don't you go purchase some poles (you can get them locally at Foot Solutions in Orange) and come join us. It is time for new beginnings!

Joanne Byrne is the Orange Senior Services Coordinator. Welcome Joanne!