Inspiration, Travel

Unexpected Reflection

On Friday I was on a plane heading home and deciding how to fill the time when I noticed a Brittany Spaniel service dog, Bella, in the row ahead of me. Her owner told me they were returning home to Atlanta after months of being away, and it was clear Bella was a seasoned traveller. As we all got settled in, I decided to watch The Whale, which I found in the critically acclaimed films category Delta offers. The main character, Charlie, gives up on himself and ends up obese and alone, and the film is shot entirely from his apartment with a handful of characters coming and going. The movie has received its share of criticism—narrowly depicting the grossness of obesity, unlikable characters, and so on—but I find this single room filmmaking interesting much like I found My Dinner with Andre. The two movies couldn’t be more different, but this cinematic style works when you’ve got a smart script and exceptional performers in the room.  

There were stories within this story, and I was taken aback by its triggering effect, and after the credits scrolled off the screen, I was left choked up and teary. What was it? Isolation, loneliness, being different, tasting love and then losing it, the memories that haunt us from sweeter times, or estrangement and painful family relationships? It then dawned on me that seeing Charlie’s struggle to breathe and with tubes in his nose flooded me back to my mother’s battle with emphysema. At the end, she was on oxygen 24/7, and I still wince seeing photos from those days with her breathing paraphernalia so in focus. Most days she sat on her couch at an angle with her elbows resting on her knees to take in what precious little air she could. Her medication left her a swollen blown-up version of herself, and her long, beautiful legs developed permanent elbow-sized divots above each knee. I always thought things would get better despite her deteriorating health unfolding before me. 

It was in December a month before she died that I took her to the Fox Theater to see the Nutcracker. Her breathing was now regularly labored, but I thought a little Christmas cheer might bounce her out of this slump, or at least table it for a few hours. She looked festive when I picked her up and we made our way south down Peachtree Street. As I pushed her wheelchair down the theater’s incline, groups of people making their way to their own seats parted ways, opening our path. Here, my mom appeared less like my mom and more like some hunched over woman on oxygen I’d begun wheeling into the theater. She graciously smiled away this worst kind of attention, occasionally interjecting that she can walk but this is more convenient, which wasn’t a lie. 

It seemed as if the incline’s momentum grew exponentially, and my slight frame strained to grip the resolute runaway wheelchair. I never wanted her to see me struggle on her account, so I locked eyes with an usher who kindly stepped in to get us to our spot and the chair into park. I was enormously proud of our efforts to even be here and for our festive girls’ night out, but my mother’s self-consciousness was real. Perhaps sitting higher up in the aisle separate from those in the rows below, each unaware of their glorious bottomless breath, she thought about earlier times here with her husband on her arm at Christmastime. Here now did not align with where she imagined she’d ever be, yet for me she’d always be the creative, spirited woman who squeezed the most out of each day, all the while talking up a storm but with breath to spare.  

The Nutcracker performance was predictably good, but I was distracted, forcing a smile when she’d look my way, and focusing on the logistics we faced leaving the theater. I noticed there were side exits, and after the show we negotiated our way outside where an attendant stayed with her while I got the car. Among other things, her illness brought incontinence, and these hours with no bathroom break left the car seat underneath her damp. I doubt she even knew, and I didn’t dare mention it, and honestly, to hell with the seats in this convertible I bought with my inheritance from my father’s passing. In a matter of weeks she would become the second parent I’d lose in a span of two years when I was all of 31.  

The film’s central character confined to his home with his best years behind him, brought memories of my mom’s last years living in her apartment. Her decorating flair accompanied her everywhere she went, in health and in sickness, and though the apartment complex seemed a bit dowdy to me, she made her space warm and elegant like she did all her homes. It was the right price and in the perfect location, but there was one detail she decided to overlook. The lease stipulated no pets, yet her gorgeous orange tabby, Izzy (short for Isadore), was coming with. Full stop. The work around proved more work keeping Izzy away from the windows and sequestering him when management occasionally knocked, and in time, Izzy grew bored and craved an outside view. And so my mom began to give him one. Eventually either it was a resident who snitched or an apartment staffer who discovered him, but in any event, Izzy had to go. Amid her declining health, witnessing my mother’s lonely longing for Izzy and defeated tears brought me to my knees.  

At the end of our lives what is it we most want? Is it to know we were loved, made a difference, felt supported by our body which remained strong, or is it possibly simpler? Maybe it’s nothing more than to have a creature to love and live with and hold close. The Whale dove into deep waters of sadness and longing and life’s meaning and cravings, but it also hovered near sunnier themes of strength, connection, and triumph.

I had simply wanted to while away a few hours and get lost in a movie, but I got much more. With perfect timing and a nose for just what I needed, Bella came by twice for kisses. And then we touched down.  



Roots & Vines

I was in it for the little visits in the front room, rocking in the chairs on the porch, swirling my spoon in a bowl of local clam chowder and noticing how fresh clams aren’t uniformly shaped like the canned ones I use. Each turn of the spoon churned up bits of skin pulled away from potato—or is that a clam or bit of bacon?— all of it luscious, velvety goodness.

I envisioned cool mornings at the kitchen table with a pot of coffee on and banter about how we slept, plans for the day, or nothing at all, which was everything. I had hoped to get a lobster roll, the warm kind on a crispy buttered bun, full of meat drizzled with butter. The days didn’t disappoint.

I didn’t expect someone would bring a frisbee and there would be the ideal side yard for tossing it. Or how much I’d delight in my son’s familiar energy—which always reminds me of my own—and repeated invitations to throw it, and how wonderful it would feel to toss a frisbee together in a quaint little side yard of a weathered shingle cottage in a coastal Massachusetts town. 

The calm of a tiny airport

I didn’t expect the layers this big life brings to peel away so quickly and usher in a simplicity I’ve been craving, one I think I must have given up on, or relegated as being from a time long ago. It’s not the lobster roll that I will most remember and crave again, but the little moments that added up. I allowed myself to wander more and move in the direction of things I enjoy. I was back to being that little girl who loves walking ahead in an airport to the luggage conveyor belt to see if she can be the first to spot everyone’s bags.

The one who would have the chance to follow a sign for fresh eggs, walking on foot one afternoon and meeting the egg purveyor himself, who presented a dozen eggs collected that morning, plus a tour of his backyard, refurbished coop, outdoor shower, and deck. People take pride in their homes. As well they should. That person who is filled up by farm stands, as if seeing them for the first time, bursting with gorgeous vegetables neatly stacked, homemade pies, breads, and flowers scattered around. But wait, do those heirloom tomatoes have a grown in Canada sticker on them? No matter, their beauty travels and looks and tastes divine here, and besides, I’m all in.

Getting away demands that the noise of the city and the rooms in your house and in your head, the ones that yank your attention this way and that, take a break and make space for whatever pops up or nothing at all. This place and its cool temps were ripe for coffee in a warm robe and fuzzy socks. Always pack your robe. 

I didn’t expect the intermittent toothache I brought with me some 918 miles as the crow flies to ramp up and bring a suffering so intense that my memories of natural childbirth would seem like the cake walk it most assuredly wasn’t. Warm coffee and chowder consistently set the tooth off, awakening it from the many-Advil-a-day slumber I’d worked so hard to achieve. I was left instinctively cupping my right cheek, as if turning my palm into some form of dental brassiere would cradle the pulsing tooth and lessen the pain. It did zero. Weeks earlier, I’d seen both an endodontist and ENT, and neither could definitively diagnose me with a sinus or tooth problem, but the ENT at least sent me off with an Augmentin script in case of infection.

On the plane, the tooth reared its ugly head, leaving me in a puddle of tears, a real spectacle. There is no crying in airplanes, but the pain had nowhere to go except out my eyes, and so I let it. A flight attendant and woman in the row in front of me offered mothering eyes which said, oh how I wish I could help you, you poor dear, but they had to ride it out just like I did. I didn’t want them to also carry this slice of hell and assured them the Advil should kick in soon. 

Weathered and wonderful

The front door of the weathered shingle cottage opened into the living room, and a screened door brought in early June breezes and sounds of people walking by and cars passing. The adjacent sitting room had a small TV mounted up high in the corner (fortunately perched bottom of mind as we have visiting to do, not shows to watch) and a space heater we could wheel between these rooms. The yard was simple—a few chairs and a table, fire pit, outdoor shower, and picnic table. The bird bath was popular and we were delighted it had occurred to someone to fill it. If this long joyful bath time was any indication, Martha’s Vineyard birds might be better bathers. 


A few blocks from our cottage was The Crossroads Gallery. Owned by Michael Blanchard, former CEO-turned addict-turned photographer-and writer, the gallery displays Blanchard’s stunning photos he’s taken around Martha’s Vineyard and sells copies of the two books he’s written. We were greeted by resident labradoodle Brodie and soon after, around the corner appeared Michael. The space was welcoming and warm like Michael’s smile. With his dog Brodie and cat Rocket Man, Michael now calls the Vineyard home, but life hasn’t always been this storybook existence. Michael’s past struggles with addiction took a toll on his work, family, and livelihood, and he doesn’t mind talking about it. We talked about how life brings many of us challenges that change us but connect us with one another too. Talking with Michael was like chatting with a good friend, and he exuded a comfortable familiarity free of judgement or fear. I talked of my own health challenges and another person mentioned a difficult time they’d also experienced. Also, we loved his photos and bought three.

Michael and me

His book, Through A Sober Lens, artfully captures scenes and insights from his experiences, and three quotes in particular spoke to me: 

  • “A shared human experience may be the only point.” 

(Amen and what I am increasingly finding feeds me the most.) 

  • On speaking of his addiction, “The only way to stop is to starve it.” 

(Think of all the ills we feed knowingly or not, and how putting the brakes on their fuel is how we not only survive but thrive.) 

  • “Above all else, don’t die with your music still in you.” 

(Please, no! This may be the greatest injustice any of us could face.) 

Over the course of our five days, we saw sailboats and ferries, rabbits and wild turkeys, and of course, plenty of The Black Dog swag. The cliffs and beaches and lighthouses and window boxes and pickets and farms were bursting with charm, and my ailing tooth danced in and out of pain through all of it. I never knew what it would bring—sometimes the heartbeat and heavy pulsing ache, and other times it was as if someone with a serrated knife had made little slits all around the tooth’s gumline and squirted lemon juice (or was that battery acid?) in the cuts. At times, both things happened at once, and then my hand rose to cup my cheek and I went radio silent. My silence a rarity, it became clear when I was mid-flareup, so people knew to just leave me alone.

A few more bowls of chowder later and I was back on a Delta flight. “Ladies and gentleman we’ll be saying goodbye to you at echo 31. E as in echo.” Nothing to watch on TV, but I’d brought books, two I’d been trying to finish for months. It was dark in the cabin, so I lifted my window shade to find an explosion of color stretched out before me on the horizon. It was a show I’d nearly missed, like one of those beach sunrises you give up on and walk away from, but when you turn around to look just in case, you are stunned in the best of ways. So much is not reliable, but nature? She just goes right on doing her thing. 

Morning Glory Farms bouquet

Maybe I should have brought home some big takeaways, but instead I’ve got little ones:

Getting it done

Find some stillness. Listen for the quiet. Go to more farmstands and eat a huge salad every day. Take lots of pictures and buy some photos from a small gallery owner if you can. Keep calling your doctor if they don’t call you back, and if your tooth feels as I’ve described, schedule yourself some relief. The root canal happened the day after I got back, and the pain is now gone.

One last takeaway: if you find yourself at dinner overlooking the water, look up because something spectacular might be sailing by. Happy 4th !

Home Renovation, Victorian Home

Color Ways

My mother always used to tell me, “Once you make your mind up about something, there’s no stopping you.” Very occasionally this statement was a compliment, referring to my tenacity and stick to it-ness, but the truth of the matter is she was probably exasperated by me and was referring to my stubbornness and singleness of mind when pursuing something or proving a point, a trait I feel certain she realized we shared.

Take paint colors, for instance. Choosing them can be exhilarating, infuriating, and intimidating, yet it’s an opportunity for change that can go either way–beautifully or else very wrong or else land in that in-the-middle meh space. Our 1860s Victorian home with its rich history, striking architectural details, dramatic verticality, and prominent bay windows was ready to go, all stripped and scraped, and just waiting to be painted. No pressure. No pressure at all.

Finding the right color for this beauty was no simple task. But is anything? I recall early last year when I was knee-deep into paint research and we were noticing houses on walks, drives and online. We often talked of painting it grey–not just any grey, but an extremely pale grey such that the visual jump from clapboard to trim was so minimal that it would look unique in the subtlest of ways, a head turner. Still, we’re talking grey, and as it is, the world is saturated with greys and greiges.

After a walk with my sister, Anne, visions of color began dancing in my head and a new approach took hold. There was a beautiful house we’d walked past which was painted a gorgeous found-in-nature green with touches of blue and grey–lovely, storybook even, in Anne’s own words. It made her heart go pitter patter, and because she has exceptional taste, my own heart couldn’t help but do a little skip, too. 

From all the previous back and forth, I’d assumed my husband was hellbent on grey, so there seemed little point in making the case for color. However, when Anne returned this past April, we did our walk again and found ourselves back on the green house’s street. She gushed again and I could see how much this color fueled her sense of wonder and joy. If I could have then and there, I would have bought her a sweet little house on a hill that she could paint this dreamy color. Later that day, we drove to the mountains to visit a favorite pottery shop and have dinner near there, and talked more about the green house, wondering where my own house color choice would land. 

On the drive, I noticed on a hill all by its lonesome a lovely boxy old house painted a most extraordinary blue. I gasped and couldn’t take my eyes off it. It was darling and looked happy and it pulled me in, but still trying to make it to that store, we kept going. On the way back, we drove past the blue house again, a charming B&B I couldn’t wait to see up close. Making our way up the drive, we found several cars parked in the gravel lot, and Anne stayed in the car while I walked to the front door to see if I could learn the house’s color. I found it odd that this special place had no name plaque or marker outside, but it did have screened French doors, which were unlocked and open, and so I stepped in. 

Looking around the foyer, something felt out of place, and I quickly realized that something was me. There were family portraits on the walls and in the room to the left, an upright vacuum stood in the middle of the rug, its long cord connected to the wall, as if someone mid-vacuuming had been interrupted. This was no inn. I was inside a family’s private home! It was too late now. I was inside and still very much on my paint color hunt. Without advancing from my position in the entry, I began calling, “Hello? Hello?” to which an increasingly and understandably agitated female voice in the distance replied with the same. Seconds later, a woman appeared, the homeowner, whose expression made it clear that the stranger standing in her foyer had some explaining to do, and explain I did. I calmly said how beautiful her house was, especially its color, and apologized profusely that I’d come inside, but I didn’t realize… and then I moved on to the reason for the visit: Would she be willing to share her house’s beautiful color with me? 

Meanwhile, still waiting in the car, my sister was growing concerned because she’d seen a loose dog running around the property. Recently bitten by a stray dog and with that memory still uncomfortably clear, she could only assume the dog would lunge in my direction. The dog turned out to be a love bug and its owner was friendly, too, and she introduced me to her mother who stood smiling in the driveway as we walked out. Like me, they’d lived in Atlanta before, and also like me, the daughter had struggled choosing house colors, moving toward greys before deciding on color. With a pay it forward style exuberance, she graciously and proudly handed me her extra paint chip to take with me, Sherwin-Williams Dutch Tile Blue, and off we went, mission accomplished. 

Back home, Anne and I went walking past the green house again. I was of course done knocking on stranger’s doors, but with a new-found fearlessness, Anne had to uncover this magical green’s name, and so she knocked. It took some time, but after a while, an older woman came out, understandably guarded and with arms crossed, to see what it is we wanted. It took no time after seeing these two beaming fans of her house and its color, for her to go back inside and retrieve her own paint chip: Sherwin-Williams Halcyon Green. This time, it was Anne who was the victor, and with this information, the year plus long color search felt complete. She left the next day to return home to Chicago, but with so much invested, remained ever close to our house color saga.

Next, I bought poster board and paint samples and painted one board the blue and one the green. My husband, presumably still in the grey camp, would now have two more choices to consider. I seriously loved this blue but didn’t want to let on because it might not work out as I’d hoped. I reminded myself I’m merely half of this equation, and we both have to love the paint color we land on. With uncharacteristic zero pressure, I presented the two poster boards outside in the sun for him to peruse. I gave him plenty of time and shut up about the benefits of each and told him it was his decision, knowing full well I was DYING for that Dutch Tile Blue while my sister miles away held steady with team Halcyon Green, confident either option would be stunning. After what seemed like an eternity with Joe pacing in front of the house, looking up at the front façade, and then back down at the poster boards, he uttered a simple, “I’m thinking the blue?” as if it were a question that needed answering. I was screaming inside, but let out a simple, “Are you sure?” and after that, he nodded and said he thought it looked great. I offered a succinct, “Okay, sounds good,” and moved quickly to remove the poster boards and any chance of a change of heart. And that was that. 

No more second guessing. We both love the color and I think the house feels the love too.
Empty nester, mothering, Parenting

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

I got the job back in 2000. Before that, it was connections or good timing or experience that always closed the deal. But for this job, I’m crediting the winning combination of perseverance and a proclivity for gymnastics. Being away from home and in that fresh Brevard mountain air didn’t hurt, either. I’d been at this job search for six months with no luck, so I figured what could it hurt to throw a little creativity and physics at the situation? After twenty-four plus weeks, this baby making project had lost any spontaneity you’d typically associate with such an endeavor. But with an eye on the prize and my husband in the bathroom, I slipped into a headstand, held up by the wall behind the bed’s headboard in this single room North Carolina cottage. 

I wanted to pull off this maneuver without an audience because it would appear odd if I were to suddenly break into a headstand after an enjoyable dinner followed by what we’d hoped were well-timed baby efforts. Who does this when they’re relaxed and nearly lulled into a delicious sleep? Shall we go ahead and add in a cartwheel or roundoff for good measure while we’re at it? Bring on the balance beam, too! The wall held me up, and with blood rushing to my head, I hoped gravity would work its magic as I listened for the bathroom door handle to turn at which point the plan was I’d roll back out and slide under the covers, with no one the wiser. 

Fast forward forty or so weeks and as it turns out, I did get that job, and a second similar one a few years later (requiring travel to coastal Alabama, but with no headstands this go round). It’s been 23 years now, and even though they never did write me a job description or discuss compensation, I did score a job title, which is a nifty palindrome too. They call me Mom. 

I realize there have been scores of moms doing this job for all of time, but my getting to join this esteemed club still feels new and original and particularly tailored to my strengths, yet it’s humbling too, illuminating my many faults the role willingly dredges up. It’s hard to describe, but you can’t say the days aren’t interesting. Every day you get to improvise or run a 10K or both, and you can’t ever predict how it’ll go. And then there are the two sweet humans in your life you helped make and who the hospital let you take home. You try to hold on to their sweetness, especially when things sometimes turn sour, and remind yourself that you’re playing the long game. Other days you lean into it all and feel you are exactly where you belong and marvel at your great luck. You get eighteen years to hold on to them and then you get to let them go, these boys who in a blink have become men. These two are my greatest triumph and treasure. 

Never has there been a role with so many others sharing your job description. With no formal training, we are all winging it and failing and succeeding every day–but isn’t that what they call living? This boatload of parental colleagues you’ve met along the way lets you compare notes and share the ride and, along with your children, you learn and laugh together, and roll along through the days unaware of the lifelong friends you’re making.

Time snails along and then races forward, and these children grow taller than you, take the wheel of your car, eat you out of house and home, and then move out of that home. But the story doesn’t end here. The book continues and you become a little less author and a little more reader, and having set the stage for a fascinating plot, you now reap the rewards of settling into the story in a comfy chair with a cup of tea. You are now a reader in your children’s chapters, but still very much the author of your own. With a quieter house and a little more time, you’re in that sweet spot between diapers and Depends, those middle years where the road has opened back up and new choices appear. 

You look down at your hands, now marked by wrinkled knuckles, and you see your life so far, and these hands that have been attached to you this whole time, which have moved you along monkey bars, enabled your headstands, and held your babies, they hold it all–all the stories, all the struggles, all the work, and all the wins. And inside you are the little girl, the mother, and the grown woman, each still with places to go.

This song pretty much sums it up:

Career, connection

The Intern

Get up! The day’s a wastin’

I’ve gotten back into the workplace for several months now and it’s opened my eyes to how much has changed, how much I’ve changed, and how much more there is to see ahead. Here are some highlights.

There are no stupid questions. Seems everyone’s computer screen in the orientation room was displayed as full screen, but mine was minimized and with a mess of distracting icons crowding the space. Noticing my lag, a helper walked over, “You might want to make your window full screen, ma’am.” I’ve gotten used to this elder etiquette lobbed my way, but this and at orientation no less made me cringe. Is it that obvious? Because inside I’m nowhere near fifty-nine. Accustomed to my Mac’s screen, I’d hesitated a bit. Ahh, yes. Full screen. Ok, this ma’am is all caught up. Since then, the IT folks have helped me with anything else that has cropped up and kept me ticking along beautifully. 

You DO have something to wear. Up at zero dark hundred to draw a bath–well before my shamrock plant has even thought of opening–you find your makeup bag so you can sketch some semblance of awake onto your face, and cobble together whatever might be whispering business casual in the hall armoire. Then it’s out the door to see if you can travel six miles in under 30 minutes. Some things haven’t changed: Atlanta still bleeds traffic. 

Go to bed! The first few days after work found me lying prone on the bed in my son’s empty room for several hours surrounded by cats, bored from coexisting in silence all day, hovering and hopeful that I would infuse the place with some energy. Sorry kitties, the tank’s empty. On any given evening, if you were to do a midnight drive by, you’d likely find our house ablaze in lights, very likely the only one on the street like this, the one with no sense. What are we doing except feeding fatigue? I actually fell asleep at a stoplight on my way home the other day. It wasn’t for so long that someone had to honk to wake me, but still, my eyelids closed for a pregnant pause, and for a second, I forgot where I was. I am finally learning that sleep is no longer some out of reach luxury. You’ve got a job to do, girlfriend. Get some sleep.   

Put down the cookies. Always simmering on the back burner, my sweet tooth has flared up again and I broke down and bought some Oreo thins which I’d planned to use in the crust of a raspberry pie I wanted to make. But until pie making commences, I’ve been snacking on them. The other day, sated with cookies, I pulled the familiar, I’ll just lie down for a second on my bed routine, this time in my room. I was curled up for a most delicious catnap when I woke with a startle. It seems a little stream of drool had trickled out of the side of my mouth and onto my cream-colored bedspread. Not your run of the mill translucent drool, this was Oreo cookie drool. Lovely. Ok, people, nap time is over. There’s a bedspread to clean. 

Structure is underrated. I’ve started and run my own business before, and I remember that you wear a lot of hats. Most days you’re Fred Flintstone propelling your own car with your own legs, also focusing on where you’re headed, finding clients, getting gas, repairing equipment, and orchestrating and paying for it all. In a larger work environment, engines are built into the cars so you can focus on all the rest. It’s that same feeling after someone took the first shower and you start yours when the water is already hot. You’re free to lather, shampoo, exfoliate, shave or even sing, but you don’t have to wait on the water to get hot or wrestle with the mechanics of getting it out of the showerhead in the first place. 

The plumbing’s changed. Here, we boy moms consistently find sparkling clean toilet seats in the delightfully DOWN position nestled behind blonde wood louvered doors which extend to the floor. These toilettes it seems doubles as bidets. If you sit a little too long emptying that bladder, the sensors assume you’re all done and kick in and present you with a startling complimentary splash. Similar to the carwash you get if you fill your tank, here you get the freebie if you are too leisurely emptying yours. Also, there’s piped in music, which isn’t awful. Think tea at the Ritz versus Muzak. 

People need people. Working alongside people together yet separate inside a thick cloud of silence leaves me feeling isolated and tends to sap any creativity and energy I brought with me. For me, collaboration and connection, even in tiny doses, is the missing link. I have discovered a non-negotiable absolute for my environment if I’m to pursue something more regular. I only know this because of what happened Monday, which was shaping up to be a fine, full day until I got into an impromptu chat with two colleagues, also recently back in the workforce. We briefly compared notes on work challenges and family and whatever else needed to spill out into the open in that moment, and then got back to our respective afternoons. The rest of the day rolled along pleasant and productive enough, yet something had shifted. I felt better about everything, in large part due to this wonderful newfound sense of belonging as if I were in the right place after all, and everything made sense–the work, the people, me. I’ve worked plenty of places, but I’ve yet to discover an easier, more perfectly controlled experiment which speaks volumes about myself. I need to interact with people, if only for a few minutes each day, if I’m going to be happy. 

I can see clearly now

Life is short. Get the frames. As most nearsighted 50 somethings have learned, the distance from book to computer screen to farther away requires different strength lenses. I’ve avoided getting progressives because I’ve heard so many whine that you must retrain your brain to look up then down and here and there, and they’ve all sounded so unhappy and this nuisance has left them full of regret. As a result, I’ve spent a decade too long flipping my glasses up to read and putting them back down to see far away, yet never finding that middle distance clarity you need to see a computer. Until now, and I will add I am in love with my new frames. 

If you don’t get help here, please get help somewhere. This subhead is from an ad years ago for a drug treatment center in Atlanta. The idea is if you don’t come to our institution for help, get help somewhere. This instruction holds true for most things, including one’s career. At this stage of my life, I am appreciating how there needs to be a place outside your four walls where you can go and think clearly and solve problems and contribute, and cogitate on things that matter, things outside of your own life. You’ve invested years in your family and your home and all the trimmings, but there is still more out there, more to understand, invest in, contribute to. Yourself included. And if you haven’t yet found it, keep looking. 

Not sure what’s ahead, but this sure feels like a start, and I’m grateful.