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Life in my 50s: the final frontier

Today I begin the first day of my last year in my 50s. Feels significant in some inexplicable way. I guess all the birthdays become significant, or more significant, as we age. I woke up this morning with my usual aches and pains in hips and knees and lower back, with eye issues that have become chronic, and the ability to jump out of bed becoming a distant memory, and yet I thought: I’m breathing. I woke up to see another day, another year, another birthday, and for that I am grateful. At one point this morning I remember thinking: I am now 12 years past my mother’s age when she died. Trust me, that is no small thing. And most people who have lost a parent too young totally get that.

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Chair Yoga: Breathe, Stretch, De-Stress

Take 15 minutes to let go of tension and re-ground yourself. I originally recorded this short practice for the Diocese of Albany’s virtual wellness day. I thought I’d share it here for anyone who needs a breather.

Only love can save the world

When I was leaving my gynecologist’s office recently, I exited the building with a younger couple leaving the same practice. I guessed that they likely were there for a pregnancy checkup and smiled at the memories of those days in my own life. As we all crossed the road, we arrived at the door to the parking garage simultaneous to a woman in a wheelchair who was being pushed by an aide. The woman, who had severe disabilities, was trying to communicate, or maybe she was in pain, and her cries were anguished and loud and continuous.

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Age & Expectations: a new Life Lines podcast is up

My new podcast is back on track. Finally! I went into hiatus immediately after my late July launch because too many other things were demanding my attention, namely the retreat I was preparing to lead, the concluding weekends of yoga teacher training, and, if I’m being perfectly honest, my inability to remember how I even managed to record and create that first episode via Garageband. (And no Olivia at home to give me pointers!)

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Wisdom Wednesday: 1,000 blessings

Yesterday was a momentous occasion. The gratitude journal that I have kept on my nightstand since April 2019 hit #1,000 — as in 1,000 things for which I am grateful, 1,000 blessings even amid sorrow and struggle, 1,000 gifts given without my asking or deserving. Every night I write down three things from that particular day for which I am grateful. At the outset 1,000 can sound like a big number, but taken like that, just three blessings every day, it adds up so quickly.

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Defy definitions, trust your own story

Everyone has his or her own story. Our history, family, faith, environment—all of it combines to create a background story that runs through our entire life, for better or worse. Through the ups and downs, the surprise plot twists, the losses and accomplishments, we write a new chapter day by day.

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The gift of community, the joy of the tribe

The older I get, the more I like to tackle things I probably have no business tackling. In the course of the past 10 years, I’ve done everything from tennis lessons (I was never much of an athlete) to dance classes (hip hop and belly dancing, of all things), from pottery and mixed media (I was always known for being “bad” at art) to Italian lessons (Spanish was always my second language of choice). And for the pièce de résistance, I am nearing the completion of 200-hour yoga teacher training, where I am, by far, one of the oldest in the class.

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The way to ease is not easy

September always feels like the start of a new year to me, much more so than Jan. 1 ever does. It must be the perennial student in me. I can’t even resist the piles of discounted school supplies that fill every store at the end of summer. I buy at least a few neon-colored, spiral-bound notebooks and one box of perfectly pointed Crayola crayons every fall. Something about it settles my soul and makes me feel like I’ve got a blank slate and the possibility of a rainbow within reach.

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Fierce and Fearless at 57

“I’ve done my best work, really, my most important work, from the ages of maybe 57 to now.” That quote is from the poetic writer and musician Patti Smith, 72, in a recent interview with the New York Times.

That quote struck a chord and affirmed what I’ve been feeling as I head into this new stage of life. I turned 57 yesterday, and I can tell you that I believe, God willing, I will be able to say the same as Patti when I reach 72. I believe my most important work is ahead of me. I am talking about in addition to THE most important work of mother and wife, which would be enough if that was my only work in this life.

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Seeking light in winter’s darkness

One of my favorite things about this season of seemingly ever-present physical darkness is the occasional pocket or flash of light. Not just the leftover twinkling Christmas decorations, although that helps, but the “mundane” glimmers that, to put it in artistic terms, create everyday versions of the on-canvas beauty created by artists like Caravaggio through the use of “chiaroscuro”—a technique that contrasts deep darkness and brilliant-but-concentrated light in dramatic fashion. Read more