Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Celebrating My 61st Birthday

Today I am celebrating my 61st birthday. Just wow! How did this happen? It has been 51 years since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon. It has been 40 years since I graduated from college and began my first job in the insurance claims industry; 35 years since my first wedding; 32 years since I moved to Asia and 27 years since I returned to the USA. I've lived on the east coast for 26 years and Virginia for 15. I've been at my current company for 18 1/2 years. Hopefully, if all goes accordingly, I can retire in 5 years.

My life has not followed the path I'd mapped out during those days of youthful dreaming when anything seemed possible, 30 was considered old, my career appeared to be on a soaring trajectory, I moved as a newlywed to Plano, Texas and began life far away from the Hoosier state where I was born, raised and yearned to see the world. I wanted to be somebody sophisticated, dine in fine restaurants, shop in elegant stores, amass jewelry and furs, drink wine from bottles with corks, experience urban excitement, find adventure, travel first class, wander the world and see the Terracotta warriors in Xian.

It is amazing to look back and consider that much of what I wanted to experience I've had the good fortune to achieve. However, the path that the roller coaster of fate and fortune caused me to follow nearly toppled me into an abyss on more than one occasion. I've experienced marital strife, an addicted spouse, divorce, dysfunctional relationships, heartache, career disappointment, financial challenges, adversity from my own stupid decisions, the loss of too many loved ones, and fear of never being "good enough". Fear of so many things over which I had no control.

Fortunately, by the age of 45, I met people who helped me discover the tools I needed to live a life of joy, gratitude, happiness, serenity, contentment, a focus on the positive, and a reevaluation of what is truly important in life. My marriage to an addict led me to Al Anon while I was living in Hong Kong. When I returned to the States, I continued to attend meetings. While it took me years to work the 12 Steps, the introspection, letting go of the past, and focusing on doing what is healthy for me changed my life. When I began working in Baltimore, one of my coworkers (Alice) introduced me to Doreen Virtue and Healing With The Angels. While I initially approached the studies with a bit of skepticism, I learned the power of spirituality, putting positive thoughts into the Universe, asking my angels for guidance, and....this led me to my husband of 14+ years, Todd Harrington. While it may by corny to say - he truly is the love of my life and we've celebrated the good fortune of meeting one another everyday for 15 1/2 years.  My yoga practice and rediscovered love of Pilates keep me physically fit. I've embraced therapeutic massage and acupuncture to manage stress.  I truly try each day to practice an attitude of gratitude for all of my good fortune.

The lessons I've learned on the path I hadn't intended to follow actually brought me to where I am today - a rocky ridge at the edge of the Shenandoah valley surrounded by refugee cats, possums,  wild turkeys and  evil plant eating deer. I'm relaxing on our screened in porch with a glass of Virginia Bordeaux style red wine, listening to our hosta-leaf water fountain, contemplating the amazing new experiences that I've been blessed to have over the last 15 years, and looking forward to the next 35 years.

Namaste, ya'll!

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