Louise HayWhen I’ve heard folks say, “Well you know, we’re getting old” I would physically feel my heart rate increase, my eyes would squint, and my rebuttal reply was, shall we say, terse. “Speak for yourself.” Of course, readers are saying, it’s that fear of aging. And yes, you are right. But the other day I heard myself say something that I vowed I’d “never” say. It had to do with getting older.

In six months I’ll be seventy––certainly not the end of my life; I plan to go into triple digits. But I do at last admit with more than superficial ownership, I am on the down side of the mountain. And I intend to enjoy the ride as much as the uphill lift has been.

For quite a while, I told myself, “I can’t be old. I’ve got things to do, goals to reach, dreams to realize.” OK, here’s a hint that a shift was coming. Now when I miss a bit of sleep for whatever reason–too much sugar, or non-stop rumination–I find the next day I’m not quite able to bounce back “like I used to.” I can see quite clearly, this may have something to do with aging. What this means is a shift is in the making. I can still do just about anything. Just in a different way.

Well, I do admit I don’t want to bungee jump anymore, and I don’t want to go on the highest fastest rollercoaster. I remember years ago, when I was in over my head with educational committee work, my college mentor said, “Just cause you’re good at something, doesn’t mean you have to keep on doing it.” This year, the fragility of life was never brought closer to home than with the death of my stepdaughter, and then a dear friend, who will never have the chance to do new and different things.

I have a rich and full palette of life–intellectually, socially, personally, and physically. I have an insatiable curiosity to learn more, do more, see more. And I also know that if I throw some of that “more” onto this rich and full palette, the colors will get smushed into something kind of messy, rather than colorful and light and enjoyable. Too many colors, too many daubs.

So I’m stepping back to see what it is I’ve been painting, look how beautiful my days and months and years have been. I’m going to leave that piece, or this work, and step closer to something new.

In my writing life I’ve created a number of groups, gatherings, and events, both in Arizona, New Jersey, and New York of which I am extremely proud. I believe I have influenced and helped many writers, speakers, and professional colleagues. An incredible number of people, writers, Toastmasters, neighbors, mentors, and friends challenged, paved, and smoothed the way for me. The exhilaration and sense of belonging and pride in each of these relationships has been a gift to be cherished. Writers Read, Writers Lunch, gatherings with writers, workshops, have given me lifelong memories and friends. And it’s time to step away. Writers Read and Writers Lunch can continue if any colleague wishes to take over the facilitation – I’ll be happy to send you the existing mailing list. Both BREWD (eastside) and 5 Points Market (downtown) have been gracious hosts for Writers Read. Fronimo’s (sort of central) has been our eating meeting for Writers Lunch. If you are interested, you can call or e me.

I’m stepping away from these events, but not the people, so that I may step closer to some new things and step closer to things and people that have been waiting for me.

2017 is my benchmark. March 15, 2017 is my celebration date. Stepping away, and stepping closer.

I plan to enjoy the occasional speaking or workshop presentation that calls to me. I look forward to expanding my craft of writing and coaching. Reading about writing. Writing about writing. Writing essays, articles and blogs about life and more about the relationships that make life so rich, challenging, exciting and astounding! Being with people, traveling to the places in the world and in my adopted home state of Arizona that are different from my everyday surroundings and activities. I feel a calling to spend time with my thoughts, and my dreams. Listening to other people as they share their dreams. Being.