Another Trip Around The Sun

Yesterday was my 60th birthday, and I am here to report that after years of searching, I believe I may have finally hit upon a way of thinking about aging that doesn’t make my insides curdle, and find me staring at the ceiling in a cold sweat in the middle of the night.

I think I have actually hit upon a consoling metaphor that  makes me feel happy about taking one more trip around the sun.

And it is actually that very idea of “taking another trip around the sun” that has captured my imagination.

Here is the thinking that is making me feel happy: Everyone is born on some random day on this pretty blue marble. It spins in space around the sun, with us on it, and when it gets back to that random date where we started, we have completed one year and have a birthday.

On that day we get to pause, and if we like, kind of “assess” the ride.  Like getting off a roller coaster and going, “Whew! That was, (fill in the blank): exciting, intense, exhilarating, frightening, nauseating, etc.

Every year has its particular ups and downs and ins and outs. Within each year there are times of quiet and times of turbulence. Since this roller coaster ride lasts a whole year, lots of different things can happen.

But when it slows down as it nears the “born on” day, the starting point, you get a chance to get off and think about the ride that just ended. You get a chance to look around and see who shared your ride: those who shared most of it, or only parts of it; those who made the ride more joyful and more interesting; those who made the ride easier and more comfortable, and those who made it a bit more difficult.

And this is what I have been doing for the past few days: assessing my ride, taking inventory.

So here is this year’s assessment:

I am healthy and vibrant and full of energy. My relationships are amazing. I get to do work that I not only love, but feel is the work I was put on this earth to do.

I feel loved and valued and appreciated by all the people who have shared this year’s ride with me. I cannot think of a single person who has made my life difficult in any way.

This has been a sweet, sweet ride. I feel not just happy, but ebullient. I want to get back on the ride and go again!

Can we please go again? Please??? I want to take yet another trip around the sun. If I make it, this one will be my 60th go-round. Some people don’t get to go that many times, but I’ve been lucky enough to have had lots of rides. And I want many, many more!

I want a chance to experience ups and downs and ins and outs and backwards and forwards and fast and slow and easy and hard and happy and sad. Can we please just go again?

And can all the people who have made this year’s ride so amazing and wonderful and joyous, can they all come too?

The other night I paused over my candles, took a big breath in, closed my eyes, and made my wish. As the smoke rose from the  candles, I took my seat, strapped myself in, and prepared for yet another trip around the sun.

Starting Over

For a long time this blog has been a lie. When I started it back in 2009, its purpose, its founding intention, was to be a place where I’d report on inspiring people, places and ideas. I would live my life looking for such things and report my findings here, I said.

And for quite a while I chugged along happily with that intention. Then the fracking circus moved to town. And that completely and utterly derailed me.

I became terrified at what I was seeing. I became distraught to the point physical hand-wringing and heart palpitations.

I became frantic to get out of here and to find a place to live that was safe, because I no longer trusted that this would be, or could be, such a place.

And what was even worse, I felt like a paranoid lunatic because so few people shared my fears. Yeah, everybody bitched about the constant parade of residual waste trucks, water trucks, the flatbeds with their enormous piles of gargantuan machinery making it impossible to get anywhere on time anymore, but in the next breath they would say something about how good all this was for the local economy.

My inspiration sources began to dry up as quickly as open fields turned into wastewater ponds, old buildings were razed or repurposed for fracking-related businesses, and well pads sprouted where corn used to grow.

The idea of writing a blog called “Inspiration Location” seemed ludicrous, not to mention naïve and foolish in the face of this. I could no longer read my “About” page anymore because it sounded so Pollyanna-ish. “Oh good lord, I thought, “I said I was going to go on an inspiration hunt every day, and now look at me, my sole survival strategy is to just put on my blinders and try not to see.”

“Inspiration Location” felt like a lie. And I felt like a fraud whenever I approached the creation screen to write it. I thought seriously about killing it: taking it down, and starting over with a concept blog that I could write with more authenticity.

But in the end I didn’t kill it; I kept it and I still wrote on it, albeit sporadically. I made a conscious decision not to write  about the fracking issue, though. If I couldn’t be inspiring, at the very least I would try not to make this my personal residual waste dump.

In my real life I spent a lot of time researching other places to live, cleaning out the basement, paring down for an eventual move, and occasionally writing here about oh, you know, stuff: sipping gimlets on the deck, practicing yoga, what I had for lunch—all that boring stuff the pundits advise not to write about if you want a blog that is read.

Fact was, I didn’t want to be read. “Inspiration Location” my ass.” I thought.

I clung to my daily rituals: writing in 750 words, and doing my home yoga practice to keep me grounded, stable, and operating with a certain level of unmedicated optimism.

Now the price of gas has gone down, and with it the truck traffic. Most of the white trucks are gone. The countryside is still staged for fracking, but the circus has moved to another town. It could all start up again tomorrow if the winds of profit shift, because everything is still in place and ready to go,


In this little reprieve, I have had a chance to catch my breath.

And to be able to breathe fully, deeply and easily is a blessed thing, believe me.

It takes away the panic. And with this drop in panic has come the desire to find myself again, to find the self I was when I started “Inspiration Location,” the self I was before the Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Play came to town.

Right now, I am sitting here, watching birds at the feeder. Right now, there is a normal flow of traffic on the road in front of the house. A new year has started and with it a new/old desire to notice the little things again, and to become brave enough to remove some of my filtering screens.

I want to focus again on delight: a long soak in a lavendar-scented bath, a glass of pinot in front of the fire, a fat novel on a freezing cold day in January, the shocking red of a cardinal flying into a brown flock of sparrows.  And, of course, the daily miracle that is my life as a small town yoga teacher.

In a few days I will turn 60. I have just completed most of a memoir. I have also recently finished another 500 hour yoga teacher training. I have resussitated a dormant meditation practice and I am challenging myself to a difficult power yoga practice every day. I continue to grow, and I would even say, flourish.

I am still looking for that place to jump to in case the gas drilling circus decides to come back to town in a big way. I am a person who needs a “Plan B.” But for now I am practicing gratitude, and trying to notice, and then write down, what inspires me each day.

I recently found a little piece of software called Happy Rambles that I like. Each night before I unplug from the internet, I open my email and jot down in Happy Rambles the sweetest things I can remember from the day that is about to close.

I want to go over that list each week and pick something and write about it in more detail here. I want to make this my Inspiration Location again. I want to make this the place where I deposit the memories of my moments of wonder.

I want to amass a collection of those things that delight me and put them here, in one findable (and searchable!) place so that when/if I ever despair, I will know where my treasure box is, and go there and paw through it to locate my most authentic life. Because really, whenever I am noticing amazements it is then that I am who I really am. It is then that I am living my life with integrity.

When I never forget that my life is amazing, and that I have an infinite capacity to love and be loved, and that it is the little moments, the small things, the everyday miracles and goofinesses that make it such fun, and such a kick, to start yet another amazing trip around the sun? It is only then that I can claim that I am truly living this one wild and precious life.