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Well, I’m at that age where I’m looking for magic potions to smooth out my skin. When I was younger, I always said, “Why can’t people just grow old gracefully?” It’s not until you’re older that you realize no one grows old gracefully. They get old and look old, unless they get plastic surgery.

So I bought some anti-aging skin cream, and on the front of the package, it said that “97% of the people who used this cream saw results in two weeks.” Oh, I saw results all right.

Results:

  • I realized I’d just thrown away twelve bucks for no reason.
  • I realized I’d spent five minutes each night faithfully applying glop to my face for no reason.
  • I realized that the sample size of those who had used this cream and seen positive results was exactly three (3) people, all of whom were related to the manufacturer. Joe Wrinklecream’s mother and two sisters said it works like a charm.

Over-Hyped and Under-Performing Broken Promise Potion would be the new name I’d give to that product. But then, does anything live up to its claims these days? Did I really expect a miracle in a jar I got on Amazon?

The true life lesson is that “aging gracefully” is another way of saying “living gratefully.” I’m glad I’m still here. I appreciate my blessings. There’s still much to look forward to, wrinkles, stray greys and all. Living in the present and an attitude of gratitude? That’s what works like a charm.

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cardigan of comfort picture

So, I just read an article that tells me, “It’s Official: Women Are Invisible After 49!” I think the author must have gotten some blowback, because later, the title was softened to, “It’s Official: Many Women Become Invisible After 49.” Gasp! I’ll be 50 (God willing!) in August.

But I had to really mull that over. That’s okay; God’s invisible too. Miraculously, He still gets the job done!  And in a way, I feel that I’m on God’s payroll. The salary is negligible, the job requirements vary, but the retirement benefits are out of this world!

Some of my best work really is invisible to the human eye. Praying. Encouraging. Offering a kind word to a stranger. Writing for this blog. I’ve realized that what I really write about is “the good life.” Well, not in the way the world might think of it. It’s not partying till dawn and getting into a limo to go to the secret rave.

When I was up and at ‘em, hale and hearty, ready to party… well, that wasn’t me anyway. I believe I squandered the gift of good health in my younger years, and didn’t realize that stress leads to illness. Even the stress of, where’s the party? What is everybody doing tonight? Having to be in the group, keeping up with the gang, it really never led me to peace. Nor even a sense of belonging. It seemed to be someone else’s idea of what “the good life” was.

It was the stress of a terrible job that led me to believe that going out with friends all the time after work was a relief valve, and that it was actually good for me.

Like so many people, I was looking for the right thing in the wrong direction.

It wasn’t until I left that life and became a Freelance Writer – and, more importantly, found faith again – that I realized we are all trying to fill a void, feel a sense of peace, of purpose, of community. Find those who share interests that are meaningful to us. Connect with the divine.

So I worked to create a home in which all those who enter (save burglars, tax collectors and sundry miscreants) feel welcomed, appreciated, even loved.  Remembered the joy of reading a poem that stopped me in my tracks (like, well, Marge Piercy’s “Tracks”) as I marveled at the power of words. Sat in the sunroom with a good book and a steaming cup of coffee and basked in the stillness, grateful to my bones for God’s grace.

So you say, cloak of invisibility. I say, cardigan of comfort. Tomato, tomah-to. It doesn’t make a difference if the world doesn’t recognize me. I know who I am. I know whose I am. Believe me. This is the good life. And I’m still here.

When I was a child, I knew nothing of You.
Others spoke of You.
Old as time.
Inscrutable as infinity.
And I came to think of You as an antique.

Now that I am of a “certain age,”
I see us both as vintage.

It wasn’t until I’d lived a long time
that I came to what now seems
an obvious conclusion.

God doesn’t make mistakes.

You said it all with Your name.
I am that I am.

If I am Yours, I’ll ride the tide of years
and wear it all proudly:
grey hair, bi-focals, crow’s feet.

This is where the journey gets interesting.

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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