February 15, 2021

I'm 55 Today: Here's my Ten Cents

Fifty-five. Double-nickel. Somewhat officially over the hill, whatever hill that is.

I am so happy to be here.

I didn’t “do” anything “special” today. I did the usual 9 am yoga. I received a bunch of beautiful messages from people I love and miss. My boyfriend brought me a butter croissant from Moxie Bread (so I could stay warm and not face the afternoon scarcity of these choice items). I met with a bunch of clients and felt enlivened by my connection with them.

I’m SO happy to be here.
I’m so HAPPY to be here.
I’m so happy TO BE here.
I’m so happy to be HERE.
All of it.

I grew up with a dad who had serious health problems for almost my entire life before he died way too young. I have faced a few major scares of my own, and most of those conditions remain, lurking behind the scenes, but present. So I’ve never expected to live a “normal” lifespan. I’ve mostly focused on treasuring the days when I feel great and the people with whom I’ve been privileged to pass those days.

I have no goals, no strategic plans for this next chapter. I simply want to keep living days that feel spacious and energizing.

One of my golf teachers once told me that amateurs don’t grow as golfers in part because when they hit a great shot, they try to hit the next shot exactly like they hit the last one. As amateurs, that’s usually impossible. He recommended, instead, to use the driving range as a chance to practice hitting the ball in all sorts of “wrong” and different ways to see how the ball would react. Then you can learn about the full range of possibilities and play into a broader span of options instead of a limiting, perfectionist mindset. The latter doesn’t work in golf, and it rarely works in life.

I feel like I’ve hit so many clubs in so many ways that felt pure and so many ways that landed me in a bunker. I don’t really love bunkers (thought I’ve holed out a few bunker shots that I of course still remember to this day), but if there were no bunkers, there would be far less joy in the shots that land inches from the pin. My life has had range, and I’m endeavoring to keep that range wide, complex, risky, and unpredictable.

So instead of looking forward, hoping tomorrow is just as great as today, I’m just here, open to whatever might unfold. Not completely ambivalent (I have plenty of fears and preferences around a future that isn’t as delightful as this present), but primarily focused on taking things day by day, or hour by hour, with an enormous amount of appreciation for the ride.

Sue Heilbronner

Sue Heilbronner is an executive coach, Conscious Leadership facilitator, and catalyst for change.

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