Halfway to 100


Happy New Year everyone! I have been absent from here and have set my New Year Intention to spend my time with more purpose; less Face Time, more face-to-face time. Basically, be mindful and be present. We’ll see how that goes.

Last month, I was fortunate enough to celebrate my 50th birthday, which is by far my most highly anticipated birthday ever. Turning 50 was basically a miracle for me; I never thought I would live much past 21. I’ve spoken before about how becoming pregnant with my son saved my life, by taking me off a path that was heading straight for heartache, misery and ultimately, death. That was a huge shift in my thinking, my priorities and the beginning of the end to my selfish, all-about-me attitude. It was time to grow up and cast aside the foolish, dangerous ways I’d lived for years, step out of the darkness and into the light. Even after I had Devon, there were many dark nights of the soul, so to speak and I was never sure if my will to live and love for my son would be strong enough to ride out the overwhelming desire to sleep without waking. So – that is one reason I celebrate this birthday, the grey hairs and the frequent midnight bathroom trips all with equal vigor. It is a gift, all of it.

I hear other women refusing to tell their age, cease celebrating birthdays, lie about their age, become seriously depressed at the prospect of another birthday. I know a great deal of this is the obsession of society with eternal  youth; Frankenstein would have a never-ending supply of willing subjects if he advertised for a “volunteer subject” for a product testing that promised eternal youth. We see it already in the multitude of products, procedures and poisons available at any beauty counter, drug store, gym, department store and possibly even Dollar Tree stores. I have also set an intention to judge not, whether aloud or to myself, so I am not going to disparage these women. I don’t know them, but I feel for them. Aging is a privilege, it is not guaranteed nor is it a right that we all have. It is largely a series of choices, attitudes, environment and that “other” something that cannot be explained, which I mark up to faith.

I don’t know how many years I have left to live but I do know that I will celebrate each and every birthday until there are no more. Every year, I receive gifts of new friends, reuniting with old friends, creating wonderful memories and learning lessons, usually the hard way. Each day I find beauty in everyday places, I see hope burning brightly under a mountain of darkness; I see kindness in strangers and heroes in everyday people. I see angels among us, fighting for our very souls. I see children educating parents and educators teaching compassion and social conscience; I see the never-ending battle of good vs. evil, in all forms and fashions.

This gives me hope, helps me to realize that I am not an observer or passive participant in this life, unless I choose to be. I have power, I have compassion and I have a voice.  This isn’t to say there are not still dark nights/days of the soul and mood swings that make me question everything, rude neighbors, ignorant individuals and racist jerks who flip a switch in me that is red hot and would definitely earn me a spot on Santa’s Naughty List, if the thoughts were made into actions. I have moments of absolute, pure rage in traffic and I’m certain that wouldn’t enrich the lives of those around me if I were to voice my thoughts and frustrations. I just know now that I can choose to jump into those moments of madness, a willing participant in an exercise that ends with me feeding myself tons of poison and expecting the other person to die or I can choose to breathe and let it go. The moments of unpleasantness, pain and depression do not negate the positive, which includes hope for the future. I can’t control the world, but I can control how I choose to live; my intention is to do just that. No longer a leaf at the mercy of the wind, I will set my course and with determination and intention, arrive at my destination, wherever that may be.

Thank you all for following me on this grand adventure, for your generous praise and for all that you do.

You rock.

But you already knew that. 



As most of you know by now, I am big into planning, strategizing, researching and in general getting deep into the details of whatever I am thinking/planning/dreaming about. I tend to get distracted easily, like a small child walking through the forest I find myself not looking where I am going but instead my gaze is cast toward the sky, the treetops and the falling snowflakes; I am so enthralled that I lose any sense of direction, purpose or mission. My attention flits to follow every shiny object, butterfly or even just random thought and as a result, I tend to find myself off course a great deal of the time. Knowing this and experiencing the frustration of trying to remember the exact location where I zigged when I should’ve zagged, I have gotten in the habit of leaving myself a trail of mental breadcrumbs to help me find my way back. Maybe it’s not even about adjusting course; often times it seems to be the realization that the destination I had in mind was just a work of fiction; like Never Never Land or some would say, heaven. This is a hard truth to bear and even more difficult if one has accepted that vision as truth and invested in that vision to the point of exclusion of almost everything else. I have 99 different ways to sabotage any chance at happiness but sometimes it’s simply a matter of unreal expectations, turning a blind eye to truths that may not fit with the vision in my mind. I don’t know if that’s due to human nature, a survival mechanism or just the desire to believe in happy endings or something altogether different, but I once again have strayed off the course and need to get back to the topic of getting back to where I need to be. There is nothing wrong with seeing the good in people and wanting to be a part of something greater than just oneself; however, I personally have a very difficult time setting aside my primary need for independence to allow that to happen. It’s not a trust issue, it’s a lack of desire to be dependent upon anyone else other than myself. I don’t want to need anyone. I want to stand alone, stand strong, but I’ll also stand by my man, stand up for what’s right and stand strong in solidarity with my sisters or brothers.

OK – see? A clear demonstration of me going completely off track. So, back to my breadcrumbs. I set a series of goals for myself and have a specific calendar that I keep those goals, dates and any notes that I have regarding the goal, etc. When I check in with that calendar, those dates are my breadcrumbs. I set a lot of goals upon my return from Scotland this summer and looking back, I have accomplished zero of those goals. I set new ones shortly afterwards and strangely enough, they have little to do with me personally; they are about finding new ways to live, to allow another person into the bubble that I live in, into my world. How to allow people be who they are, not take things so personally and in general, compromise. Nothing wrong with those goals as they are skills that every human being should possess, but the reason behind those goals is significant. Did I make those goals for me or did I make those goals with a specific person in mind? Am I once again trying to “become” what this person needs me to be? Or am I just trying to grow and get outside of my solitary circle of comfort? I don’t know. That’s the tough part. I do not ever want to make a change for someone else. I have done that in the past and it never works out well. I have to make changes for myself, understanding that everyone around me will also benefit because I will not be resentful or be motivated by guilt for having made a change I did not willing wish to make.

I have brought out a new calendar, with new goals and new thoughts to ponder along the journey. I feel strongly that everyone who is in my life is there for a reason and I value them for that and for the incredible human being they are (all my homies are incredible human beings) and celebrate what gifts they’ve given me throughout our time together. Some have been in my world longer than others and some have been to places in my world others have not, but the important thing is that even though I choose to be single, I am not alone. Even though I appear to be somewhat happy and well adjusted, I am mostly not. I am terrified of  many things, although spiders are not one of them. I have learned and grown a great deal in the past year, but I know I am never done learning. I have laughed, cried and raged and will value those memories for the lessons they imparted, the good times they brought and above all else, the people that rode the tsunami with me.

The Winds of Change

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails”

William Arthur Ward

I came across this quote back in November and wanted to write a post around it but couldn’t figure out how to convey what it says to me, specifically. I’m going to try now, so bear with me.

I’ve long believed that I was powerless over circumstances, that I was like a leaf in a storm; at the mercy of the wind, with no say in where I would go. I went along with whatever the group mentality was, never questioning whether it was what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go or who I wanted to be with. By doing this, I set up myself up beautifully for great disappointment and the role of the ever-suffering victim. I gave away my choices, my voice, my power and then couldn’t figure out why I was always so unhappy; why I had no sense of self, no idea who I was. It has taken me many years and a great deal of wrong turns, heartbreaks and utter despair to realize that no one had made me a victim, except myself.

Now, that’s all fine and good, but what could I do with that great revelation? We’re talking a lifetime of identifying as a follower, how could I un-learn all those behaviors? How could I reclaim my voice, my power? I had no clue, but I did know that if I didn’t try, nothing would ever change, except to possibly worsen. There is another saying regarding a long journey and it beginning with a single step; that is exactly what I had to do. One step. One different thought. Turning left instead of right, speaking up instead of suffering silently, making one decision to change one thing. They all add up. Just as a bad habit is formed over time, the same is true of a healthy one. I had been living this way my entire life (40-something years) and I would have to have great patience and determination if I wanted to change.

Now, a little over a year free from alcohol and I have found my voice, I am slowing realizing the extent of how much power I gave away and am in the processing of getting it back and then some. I have a greater sense of self, of purpose and of value. Needless to say, every day isn’t like a scene from some ridiculously happy and upbeat musical, but it’s good. The challenges will always be there, although their form and delivery may differ, I will still have to find the strength to make good choices while allowing myself to be human. The words “failure” or “victim” can never be used again when I’m thinking about who I am, what I am. I am a fighter and I will fight the good fight until I can no more. I am looking forward to each next day, each new lesson learned and each victory celebrated. I will keep steadily on my course, my mind focused on my destination, eyes open for whatever beauty appears and gratitude in my heart for the people that have loved me through thick and thin. And if the seas get rough, I’ll adjust the sails.