Isn’t She Lovely?

This photo makes me smile, mostly because I want to be that old woman. I have always believed that the ultimate freedom is being yourself. It is a freedom many of us will never fully know. Yet with this freedom comes power. In this old, eccentric lady, I see power that no one can take away. It’s the kind of power that comes with loving and accepting yourself as you are, and expressing who you are, without apologies, excuses, or justification.

Wouldn’t that be lovely?

I think it would, which got me humming this old Stevie Wonder tune. Hope you enjoy!

The Ultimate Sacrifice

Omaha Beach, Normandy, France

With Memorial Day on the horizon, it felt right to share these photos of my 2019 visit to Normandy, France to see the D-Day beaches. I was blessed to be able to cross off this bucket list item when I stepped foot on Omaha Beach that rainy day in October. The visit to Paris, and the day trip to Normandy, was a gift from my mother for my 50th birthday, a once-in-a-lifetime mother/daughter trip, for which I will always be grateful.

Standing on Omaha Beach was a bucket list item

Standing on that beautiful, sacred ground, it was hard to imagine that 75 years before, thousands of Allied troops, many in their teens, stormed the beach at dawn, not knowing if they would live or die. Hitler was asleep when they landed, having given orders not to be disturbed before noon. His general in charge of Normandy had gone to Germany to celebrate his wife’s birthday. Though they had been anticipating an attack, they weren’t sure where, and it never occurred to them that the Allies would risk stormy weather to catch them off guard.

Juno Beach, Normandy, France

With the rain falling lightly on my face, the waves lapping at my boots, and the  delicious scent of salt air filling my nostrils, I closed my eyes for a moment. I wanted to take it all in; the sacred energy of the place, the overpowering feeling of being humbled and inspired at once, the sadness over the loss of life, the gratitude for their courage, and the freedom I had to be able to stand there, safe, protected, privileged.

To all the men and women who have served and died so that we and our allies might be free from tyranny, merci.

Sand from Omaha Beach, rocks and shell from Juno Beach, Normandy, France

Open Your Sails and Fly with the Wind

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”
~John A. Shedd

Newport Harbor, Newport, Ri http://www.dailyherald.com

When was the last time you really went for something? (And no,  hoarding toilet paper during a pandemic doesn’t count.) Seriously, though, what is it you want? What might be holding you back from going for it? Are the barriers you face real or imagined? Can you find a way around them?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and dreams.

Land That I Love

 

One of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever seen is that of Lady Liberty from the ferry that transports passengers from New York City’s Battery Park to Liberty and Ellis Islands. This is the place where my great-grandparents and my paternal grandfather came to the U.S. in the early 1900s from Europe, immigrants in search of opportunity. Some of their names are engraved on the wall at Ellis Island. I wish I could talk to them now, ask how it felt when first they laid eyes on Lady Liberty after a long journey across the Atlantic. Were they fearful? Hopeful? Relieved? Homesick? Did they cry, too, when they saw her?

With Age Comes Freedom

I was raised to care what people thought of me. I knew instinctively that my actions and behaviors were not solely my own. They represented my entire family.

I understood that I was supposed to be good, follow the rules, be an asset to my family and community. Instead, as a teenager, I was naughty, broke rules, and became a liability.

In my 20s, sensitive now to disapproval, I became a people pleaser. Desperate for acceptance, and to prove I wasn’t a royal screw up, I adapted my personality and goals to meet others’ expectations. Convinced that my true self was fundamentally flawed, I buried her, deep.

It is only now, in midlife, that I am beginning the process of excavating her.

I want back some of what I buried. I want the passion, the creativity, the wildness. I want the ultimate feeling of freedom that comes with being one’s self regardless of whether or not others approve. I want these things with the benefit of life experience and without the teenage drama.

I understand now what I didn’t for years: When you are authentic, you attract like-minded people and the right set of circumstances. This is more important than trying to win the approval of people who will never understand or appreciate the real you.