Ten hours into the experience, it's pretty clear I'm going to like 56. 

The scattering of friends over time zones (as well as a few beloved first-in-line overachievers) started the texts, posts and emails last night.  I traded a few live messages very early this morning at the cottage kitchen table/desk, collected a birthday kiss from Charlie when he woke up for a bathroom break and headed to my summer Saturday morning "office."

I stopped on the way to the post office box and was not surprised to find notice of a package from Jen and Nick to pick up when the window opens. A couple of surprise cards cemented the goofy smile that had been growing since the first messages 

Yes, Tim Horton's has better coffee but it's mobbed. At the nearby Dunkin Donuts there is no competition for a table and the staff seems grateful for the company. I plugged in my computer, spread out my files , placed an imaginary candle in the crazy-after-losing-120-pounds indulgence of an Everything Bagel WITH BUTTER and slowly savored every forbidden carb. Both halves. All mine. 

Birthdays are inevitably a scorekeeping device, but it took this refugee from the fourth-grade "smart class" 55 years to figure out its not the score or the game, but your fellow players who count. A person who will easily shares with you their love, trust or ideas is invaluable, the rest is just stuff. Today I am (regardless of what he may say) richer than Donald Trump. 

Yes, there are people I miss. But time spent in mourning or anger over those you have lost - whether permanently or by their choice -- is time unavailable to those with you now. I've finally figured out how to honor the lost with love and memory but keep my heart open to the possibilities of today and tomorrow.  

Whether it's a gift of the Creator or simply intelligent design, good health and vitality help us survive the stupidity and surety of youth. The inevitable physical wear and tear we take on at this point keeps us humble once we start figuring things out. I could not imagine trading who and what I know now for physical gifts of then. 

I'm happily humbled today by the love and good wishes of my friends and family - and excited about what is sure to be the best year yet.

Thanks all. 


Don't mess with lilacs

Don't mess with lilacs

A lilac is a kick-ass plant for real people. It naturally and actually likes a long, cold winter and is among the first bushes or trees to push out buds in the spring. While most other flowering  plants, trees and bushes are still holding out for better conditions and a stronger sign of summer, it's lilacs that say "Screw you, winter," with a bloom and fragrance so heady and ostentatious you know it means business. 

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Bad, bad blogger

The busier the rest of my work, the more I neglect blogging, tweeting and all those other important planks necessary to build my "personal brand platform." I know that one of these days the long coattails of my career will stop serving up work and I will regret my lax social position.  If I were my own client, I'd give me hell.  But there are only so many words in a day and the ones that pay - or have the potential to pay --  always push to the front of the line. 

When I started blogging a dozen years ago, it was exhilarating to be part of a small community of writers basking in the freedom of instant, accessible, unfiltered publication. Now that several million other folks have flooded the space, it's hard not to feel like a transcribing monk faced with that damned new moveable type.  Back in my day...

I am an early adopter -- lining up quickly and enthusiastically in the first throes of eBay, blogging, gmail, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  Selected and deployed appropriately for my clients, these tools deliver in astounding ways. It's still fun to put together the pieces. But it's much like working a long day in a spectacular bakery -- the last thing you want to do when you get home is make a cake. 

My preferred off-duty confection is my personal FB page which offers a real-time window on the adventures, travels, obsessions, and ideas of my family, friends, bead buddies and colleagues scattered all over the map. It allows me to keep up with the folks in Texas when I am in New York, and New York when I'm in Texas -- as well as watch Jen and Nick's pup grow, Jon and Tina's family adventures in England, Harry's film career in L.A and probably a couple dozen other feeds that always make me smile and close the time and distance between me and people I love.  If you think it's excessive to need to see a new picture of my new grandniece Mia every day -- it's only because you haven't met Mia (see image column right and say awwwww.... ) . There are even a couple of FB savvy folks in their late 70s -- high school friends and peers of my late father --  who have a talent for unintentionally triggering my best memories of him in their posts. Personal FB time has no potential to deliver income, but at this time and place it as far too rewarding to surrender.

In preparation for book marketing, I should be hitting at least four pithy/amusing/informative tweets a week, killing it with a great story-telling image at least twice a week on Instagram, and blogging no less than weekly.  Of course, these things should all feed my business FB page and supplement the otherwise engaging content there.  

But let's be real. My clients get the marathons.  it would be progress for me to just lace up my blogging shoes. 

I'll blog weekly in June and figure out July later.  

I've already told myself that this one doesn't count.