A Look Back

A Look Back

2016 was quite a year. Unless you were hiding away all year in your safe place you know it was not a particularly good year.

In the United States we had a historic election. The battle to the White House was the nastiest in history. We had our first woman on the ballot.  She lost after securing the popular vote by more than 2.5 million votes.  I will not elaborate.   It has all been said.

Europe saw continued focus on terror attacks with the worst assaults in Istanbul and Brussels.

In Orlando a mass murderer opened fire inside the Pulse Nightclub, our deadliest mass shooting of the year.

Britain voted to leave the EU, a real shocker to folks across the pond with rippling financial consequences. There are efforts underway to block Brexit so we will have to stay tuned.

Cyber hacks and WikiLeaks contined to make regular headlines.  The Russians have been accused of hacking into the Democratic National Committee’s email server, attempting to sway the election in Trump’s favor.  WikiLeaks may have conspired with them by releasing thousands of the hacked emails.  Data breaches at many of large US corporations may have put your personal information at risk.  Yahoo just announced this past week that their system had been hacked…..again.

Aleppo. A humanitarian travesty of epic proportions. Pray for these people if you pray.

Fake news.  Apparently it is everywhere.  Will 2017 give us a guide to help us find real news?

_______Lives Matter.

I will stop with this list.  It is not nearly complete but certainly highlights some of the top issues we have faced as humans during this year, 2016.

However, good things happened in 2016 too.

A woman was acutally on the Presidential ballot.  We have to remind ourselves of that milestone. The thick glass ceiling was shattered by Tammy Duckworth, Kamala Harris and Catherine Cortez Masto, when they were elected to the Senate. Pramila Jayapal and Stepahnie Murphy grabbed seats in the House of Represenatives.

The US women’s gymnastic team took home some gold!

Sexual assault survivors got a Bill of Rights ensuring their cases will be regulated fairly.

Friends of mine were married.  New babies were born. There is healthy food on my table. My family unit is well and working hard at their life interests.

I have hope for 2017.  Even though I consider myself a realist, I am also optimistic.  I have seen countless tragedies unite people to improve common causes.  I have a feeling we will see more of this in 2017. I will certainly continue to do my best to be a part of something larger than myself.

I was supremely fortunate in 2016 and for that I am very grateful. I hope you can say the same. Thank you for following my blog and reaching out to me with ideas and suggestions for my new venture. Your kindness and support is a part of what keeps me grounded and moving forward.  I appreciate each of you and wish you all good things in the year to come.

Peace and love,


“You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will be as one”

John Lennon





I Met Santa Claus: He is Real

I Met Santa Claus: He is Real

Santa Claus.  You may know him. He is also known as Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas or just plain Santa.  Our modern Santa is based on the traditions of old St. Nick, a fourth century Greek Bishop and giver of gifts, as well as the British version Father Christmas.  Santa’s place in history is well established.

I know him as very jolly, with a white beard, small spectacles and wearing a red velvet suit with beautiful white fur trim.  He lives at the North Pole and has a workshop there where he employs elves to help him create and assemble toys and games.  I am pretty sure he keeps a list of all children that tracks their naughty and nice behavior throughout the year. All well-behaved children receive gifts from him each Christmas morning. He seems to be a forgiving man.

This year at Thanksgiving I was having a conversation with my oldest brother.  We were talking about Christmas Eve 1957 or 1958 when we lived in Fairfield, CT.  I was shocked to learn that he too saw Santa Claus flying through the air with his sled and eight famous reindeer that night.  I have known since then that I saw him.  For sure.  I don’t bring it up much. Who would? But now I know it’s true.  It’s like when two people see the same UFO. You can confirm it!  We saw Santa Claus.  It made me feel vindicated and happy.

This weekend I took my youngest grandson, Owen, to Rodale Institute in Kutztown, PA. They were having a winter festival and we thought it would be a nice drive to the country, away from the holiday shopping crowds.

When we arrived we parked the car and talked about how it seemed cold enough to snow. No sooner had we finished our short conversation and little flurries started falling from the sky. It felt kind of magical and we looked at each other in that knowing way, where you don’t have to say anything but your thoughts tumble out. Magic!

As we walked toward the little shop we noticed Santa Claus sitting in an old sleigh out in the yard.  Owen grabbed for my hand and slowed his pace.  He said, “Hey Grammy, let’s go in the store first.”  I sensed his hesitation about going to meet Santa and we headed into the store to browse.  When we had browsed thoroughly we headed out. Once again he grabbed my hand and steered me in the opposite direction of Santa.  We found ourselves at the organic hot chocolate table and ordered one.

Looking for a place to sit we found benches around a roaring fire pit, situated about 15 yards from Santa.  Owen made it clear that he wasn’t interested in going over to the sleigh to meet Santa but he was enjoying watching him from a distance.  Occasionally a small child would be lifted into the sleigh to sit with Santa and we watched as he talked with them. He seemed very interested in what they had to say, spending a good amount of time with each child.

Soon the short line was empty and we watched as Santa climbed down out of the sleigh. He started slowly walking in our direction and stopped at the fire pit, warming his hands. Not looking at us he said, “sure is cold today, isn’t it?” Owen stiffened a little next to me and I answered that yes it was cold.  We started a little conversation and eventually he asked if it was ok if he sat down on the bench with us.  Owen, eyes averted, nodded yes.  Then there we were. The three of us sitting on a bench by the fire talking about Christmas, the weather, about friends and elves and favorite toys, especially Legos.  Owen told him all about his friend Roman and they both agreed Roman might make a good elf someday.  As Owen and Santa continued their conversation I noticed a few children lining up at the sleigh to meet Santa.  Santa saw them too but he hadn’t finished his conversation with Owen yet and seemed in no hurry.  He was busy telling Owen how he had made a birdhouse out of Legos that was later destroyed by squirrels!  They have squirrels at the North Pole!

When it was time to leave and let Santa get back to his sleigh and the waiting children, we wished each other a very Merry Christmas and then Santa winked at me. He had a real twinkle in his eye. I saw it. Owen was silent on the walk back to the car.  When he was all buckled in he said, “Santa Claus is real Grammy, and he is very nice.”

I met Santa Claus on Saturday and he was as real as real can be.

I hope your holiday season is filled with magic!

Love, Melissa (aka Grammy)




Making a Movie and Finding My Pace

Making a Movie and Finding My Pace

For those of you who have followed me since the end of last year, thank you! For those of you who have joined more recently, welcome! Hanging in with someone who is working on a film project can be a bit of a time commitment, and I appreciate yours. I hope you will stay for the finale.

When I started this project a year ago I thought I would be finishing up about now. To me, a year seemed like more than enough time to complete the film. I looked on in astonishment earlier this year when I met with Directors and Producers at Sundance who gave me their film timelines. Five years, three years, two and a half years. Why did it take them so long?  It took me some time to digest that news and look at my project in a more comprehensive light. Remember, I came from a corporate culture where everything I designed and implemented was done quickly.  I was very used to producing quality deliverables in short time frames. Why should this be any different?

December 31 will mark one year since I “retired” from my long career and headed out to follow my dream.  I never saw this as a hobby or part time gig, but rather my new job. Since the end of last year, I have developed the idea for the film structure, partnered with a production company, set up my own LLC, trademarked the Beyond Sixty Project, spent more time with entertainment lawyers than I wanted to and completed the first six interviews for the film, including the post production phases of the process.  Oh, I almost forgot one of the more exciting aspects of this process.  I am ready to ink a deal with our first sponsor!  Even with all of these milestones completed, I still questioned the timeline.

I had the opportunity to speak with an established Film Director out in LA a couple weeks ago and she implored me to get off the phone, go stand in front of a mirror and and tell myself that I have accomplished more in the last 11 months than any new film director or producer she has worked with, and she has been around the business of filmmaking for a while.  Needless to say, that call left me feeling pretty positive and a bit more realistic about time frames.

My production partners have kindly cautioned me to not get ahead of myself more than once. They were right too. We have a nice balance together. I am lucky to work with them and draw upon their experience when it comes to production timelines.  I think my pace adjustment is now almost at a level of comfort.

Recently a friend asked me what I hope to accomplish with the film. The answer was easy. I want to produce a high quality, full length documentary film about women over sixty.  I want to help tell their stories of resilience and continued relevance.  I do not want to re-tell the stories of famous women. I want to help tell the stories of women that people would not recognize if they passed them on the street.  I want this film to bring to light the incredible strength inherent in so many women and maybe figure out where it comes from.

There are lessons to be learned from women, especially those who have stayed in the game past sixty and continue to be relevant and in pursuit of challenges and personal improvement. I hope young women who see the final production will be moved to seek out older women as mentors.  I hope older women who see this will be inspired to try something new no matter how old they may be.  I hope men, young and old, will walk away with a deep sense of appreciation and admiration for women’s struggles and their hard earned accomplishments throughout history.

At this writing I have completed my first six interviews and have several more to go.  It has been incredibly rewarding spending time with each woman and I am humbled by their honesty, self-awareness and willingness to share their stories.  While they each come from different geographic locations and family backgrounds, the common thread of resilience is always there.  I am fascinated by this and in the process of researching this trait in women throughout history.

Now back to scheduling my next set of interviews, editing current footage and meeting with my partners to continue on to the next phase of this wonderful project.  Thank you for sharing in my journey and stay tuned.

May your day be filled with all good things!



Light and Happy or Doom and Gloom

Light and Happy or Doom and Gloom

I flipped a coin today as I was torn between the above titles naming my blog topic choice. Light and Happy, or closer to light and happy won.  I am thankful for the win as I could not bear another hour at the keyboard discussing the latest in the race for the Presidency or other trending topics about women that include the gender wage gap, violence against women, efforts to kill Roe v. Wade or the garden variety discriminations bestowed upon women each day. Today I will write about happy (mostly).

Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.    Did you know that March 20th has been designated as the International Day of Happiness? Not sure everyone got that memo.

Thomas Jefferson was into it. He was the one who coined the phrase “the pursuit of happiness” in relation to the 1776 Declaration of Independence. He saw it as much more than just an emotion. He felt it was a right.

We shouldn’t have to chase or hunt down happiness. If we stop for a moment and quiet our minds we may find it is right there waiting for us.

This past week, for me, hovered mid-point on the Happy/Gloom Meter. I spent most of the week working on my film, reviewing recent footage, screening interviews on the phone and wrapping up a sponsorship negotiation. Not intense joy but happy, interesting, fulfilling and motivating. So why wasn’t my meter pointing more toward the happy end? It was the unsolicited phone calls that I received and continued to listen to. Back to doom and gloom for just a minute.

I usually don’t answer the phone if the caller ID gives me reason to believe it is a robo-call, but my curiosity got the better of me and I started answering and listening.Throughout the week I received robo-calls and live calls from both political parties. The robo-calls were the worst, especially the ones with a Presidential wannabe actually yelling into the phone. Negative and disturbing.  I listened through all of the calls because I became curious after the first.They were all pretty awful. Did they assume at this point I didn’t know who I was voting for? Did they think that their messages were helpful to me in any way? By roughly the 18th call I decided I would not answer another and was feeling pretty cranky about the whole “in your face” style of communication. The needle on my meter was headed in the wrong direction.

It’s pretty easy to be affected by the gloomy assaults coming at you daily through television, news, phone calls and the stressors of your own personal issues.  So how do we maintain a sense of contentment and possibly intense joy? Are there things we can do to balance out the negativity without hiding from it?

For me it doesn’t take too much.  Quieting my mind is my go to.  Simple meditation helps and I try to do it once a day.  I learned the simple techniques of quieting my mind and connecting to the positive years ago when I took a class at a retreat.  It’s not complicated and it works. The music I use while I meditate is now enough to settle my mind. On equal par with meditation is taking a walk.  As much as I sometimes avoid this because I am “too busy,” I feel totally rejuvenated and more peaceful once I have done it. I am lucky to live in a neighborhood that has beautiful trees and zero traffic. Last week I got out there only three times but it was so worth it given the fall temperatures and beautiful foliage display. Having fun is also tops on my list. Laughing is key. I am drawn to people who know how to have fun and will laugh along with me and I seek them out regularly. And lastly, giving. The more I give the better I feel.  It can be as small as making a favorite meal for loved ones or helping a friend with an issue or supporting a cause. Giving of yourself can be very satisfying.

This all sounds pretty simple and it is. Feeling fine with what you have and secure with where you are going and what you offer to others brings a great sense of contentment, maybe even bordering on joy.

I hope you have a beautiful day and find that your dial stays in the happy and light zone. Would love to know what you do to keep it pointed in that direction.










































All My Presidents: Men

All My Presidents: Men

Don’t get me wrong, I like men.  I am married to one. But, I am happy to see the United States of America has finally added a woman’s name to the Presidential Ballot.  It doesn’t matter to me if you vote for her, and you don’t need to know who I am voting for.  This is not a political piece, but rather an acknowledgment that in my lifetime, thus far, there has not been a female name below.  How many of these Presidents were yours?

Harry S. Truman 1945-1953

This Democrat from Missouri succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945 upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was our 33rd President. During his seven years as President, Truman appointed more women to positions requiring Senate approval than his predecessor did and endorsed the concept of the Equal Rights Amendment. I was too young to understand the importance of this gesture toward women at the time but appreciate it now.

Dwight D. Eisenhower 1953-1961

Our 34th President was a Republican from Kansas and  a five-star General in the US Army during World War II, serving as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe.  I remember seeing a letter he had written my father during the war thanking him for his service in Europe.  My Great-Aunts were campaigning for him in the late 50’s and I remember a drawer in their dining room chest, filled with “I LIKE IKE” buttons and leaflets.   His campaign was one of the first presidential campaigns to make an effort to win the female vote.  He did this by recruiting female campaign workers, my Great-Aunts inlcuded, to make phone calls to women voters, have neighborhood parties to build support and distribute the information.  A limited supporter of Civil Rights, Eisenhower had a constitutional responsiblity to uphold in the Brown v. Board of Education case and upheld the Supreme Court’s ruling.  This action was the first time since Reconstruction that a President sent military forces to the South to enforce the federal law.  Perhaps if he had believed in desegregation more pressure would have been placed on the steps needed to improve the situation.  When he left the White House only 6 percent of African Americans attended integrated schools.

John F.  Kennedy 1961-1963

Our 35th President, a Democrat from Massachusetts, was the youngest man elected as President and the youngest to die in office when assassinated in Dallas, TX on November 22, 1963. This was a day I remember vividly.  It was unthinkable that this could happen and as a young teen, I was shaken to my core. Shortly before he died, Kennedy issued an executive order charging the Commission on the Status of Women with making recommendations to overcome discrimination in employment based on sex.  He appointed Eleanor Rooseelt to the Commission and during her tenure we saw the establishment of the National Organization of Women (NOW). The Commission’s final report recommended that women have equal political, civil and economic rights.  I suppose it seemed drastic to many back in 1963 but fifty plus years later it remains as the core principles in our quest for equality. Probably the most important outcome of the Commission was that it resulted in the development of Commissions in all fifty states. Baby steps, but I am grateful to this President for truly supporting the effort.

Lyndon B. Johnson 1963-1969

Our 36th President, a Democrat from from Texas and John F. Kennedy’s Vice President, assumed office upon Kennedy’s assassination. I remember him as brash but the creator of the Great Society legislation that upheld civil rights and the War on Poverty. Whether it was due to the economic situation or LBJ, his War on Poverty helped many Americans rise above poverty.  He issued Civil Rights bills banning racial discrimination and also the Voting Rights Act which to help African Americans who had been restricted from voting.   He escalated our involvement in the Vietnam war which birthed the anitwar movement and then of course the resultant summer riots broke out in most major cities and our crime rates soared.  It was a very troubling time for me and most people around me.  I lost a friend in Viet Nam and I spent a few short months in Mobile Alabama where I saw, firsthand, what Civil Rights was all about.  We had a long, long way to go.

Richard Nixon 1969-1974

Our 37th Presient, a Republican from California ended the war in Viet Nam in 1973 and brought home the POW’s. He enforced desegregation in southern schools and made inroads with China.  The Environmental Protection Agency was established and we landed a man on the moon, ending the moon race.  But not all was well in the Nixon administation.  In 1973 we saw an Arab oil embargo and our gasoline was rationed.  I could buy gas on Tuesday or Friday.  The lines were long. And then Watergate reared its ugly head.  This scandal was so damaging to Nixon he resigned on August 9, 1974.

Gerald Ford 1974-1977

Our 38th President, a Republican from Michigan was called the “accidental President” because he was the first person appointed to the Vice Presidency under the 25th Amendment following the resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew. Agnew was Nixon’s Vice President and resigned due to bribery accusations. When Nixon resigned Ford became the only person to have served as both Vice President and President without being elected to either office.  He thought about choosing a woman as his Vice President but backed away.  It was 1974. He endorsed the Equal Rights Amendment.  That was positive.

Jimmy Carter 1977-1981

Our 39th President, a Democrat from Georgia was a peanut farmer and  Georgia State Senator. I remember he pardoned all evaders of the Viet Nam war draft during his first week in office.  He established the Department of Education and the Department of Energy.  I liked his southern charm and ease in connection with everyday people. But his charm didn’t give him a second term. By the end of his term in 1981, Carter had been dealing with the Iran hostage crisis, the continuing energy crisis and the Three Mile Island nuclear ascident.  I almost forgot about the 1980 summer Olympic boycott.  A second term was not to be.  However, Carter went on to build the Carter Center to advance human rights and he has been instrumental in peace negotiations as well as disease prevention and civil rights throughout the world.

Ronald Reagan 1981-1989

A California Governor, former Hollywood actor and our 40th President. His two-term presidency implemented supply-side economic policies calling for tax rate reductions to improve our economic growth.  He favored economic deregulation and reduced government spending.  During his first term there was an attempt on his life. During his second term he was consumed with the end of the Cold War and the Iran-Contra affair. You may remember his famous speech at Brandeburg Gate where he challenged Gorbachev to tear down the wall.  The Berlin Wall was felled five months after Reagan ended his term.

George H. W. Bush 1989-1993

Hailing from West Texas, our 41st President made millions in oil and then became active in politics as a member of the House of Representatives and later the Director of the CIA. He was chosen as Ronald Reagan’s running mate for Vice President.  During Bush’s term in office he was focused on foreign policy with military operations in the Persian Gulf and Panama.  The Soviet Union disolved in 1991 after the fall of the Berlin Wall.  In the midst of an economic recession he lost his second term bid for re-election.

William J. Clinton 1993-2009

Our 42nd President served two terms. He was our country’s third youngest President and the first from my baby-boomer genreation.  He was called a “New Democrat” reflecting his centrist philosophy of politics. He was President during our longest period of economic growth and passed welfare reform and set up the state run health insurance programs for children (CHIP).  Clinton left office with the highest approval rating of any US President since the war and that was after being impeached in 1998, and later aquitted, for purjury and obstruction of justice relating to the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

George W. Bush 2001-2009

Our 43rd President hailed from Texas, where he was Governor and son of our former President, Geroge H. W. Bush.  The September 11th terrorist attacks hit less than one year after he took office.  His war on terror included the war in Afghanistan and the Iraq war. During his second term we saw the great recession, our longest post-World War II recession.  He signed laws that cut taxes, enacted the No Child Left Behind Act, offered Medicare Prescription drug coverage for seniors and established the AIDS relief program.His popularity after 9/11 diminished significantly during the economic recession and when women took his compassionate conservatism stance as untrue.

Barack Obama Since 2009

Our 44th and current President.  Our first African-American President. A former community organizer and civil rights attorney. A teacher of constitutional law, a US Senator from Illinois. In his first term he ended our involvement in the Iraq War and increased involvement in Afghanistan. He signed the arms control treaty with Russia (START) and took down Osama bin Laden.  His economic stimulus legislation was passed to help us out of the recession through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. During his second term he has ordered military intervention back into Iraq in response to ISIL. He has continued to work to ensure equal rights for women and LGBT Americans.


This is the longest blog I have written.  Why?  because I am older now and I have lived through 12 Presidents, some for two terms. I have lived through tubulent times in our political history.  I am kind of humbled by that.  As I look at each of my Presidents, Democrat and Republican, I am struck by how difficult their jobs have been.  What they inherit as they step into office is incredible.  Every mistake, every unsolved challenge that came before them is waiting to be dealt with. The accumulation of these mistakes and challenges are enormous. Even though they are “politicians” with larger than life egos it must be terrifying and in some sitations impossible.

Here we are on the precipice of a new election.  One which offers a woman as our next President.  I am humbled by that as well.  It took a long time for that to happen, too long. I hope that in years to come we will continue to see women as equal candidates to men. Whoever wins the election on November 8th, I wish them well and hope they are up for what it will take to address the many issues we face.

Don’t forget to get out and vote on Tuesday, November 8th!


A Day Filled With Love, Connections and New Traditions

Joanna table.jpgMeghan barn.jpg

I started my day on Saturday, October 1st in my favorite Chester County barn, Life’s Patina at Willowbrook Farm. It was here that my friend had decided to have her eldest daughter’s wedding shower brunch. What a perfect setting to celebrate Meghan who loves horses and all things rustic.  I first met Meghan in 1998 when she was a little girl living in California.  I traveled to California regularly for business and worked with Meghan’s father. He was generous in sharing his family with me and I became friends with his wife and girls. Fast forward a few years and this family became almost neighbors, when they moved just 7 miles from where I live. I have seen Meghan grow from a spunky little girl into a beautiful young woman (still spunky!) now prepared to marry the love of her life.

What I loved most about this shower was the simplicity and atmosphere. Guests were asked to leave the gifts unwrapped so they could be displayed for everyone to see and Meghan was spared the time it takes to open each gift. Instead, we were able to wander the barn and spend time talking with old friends and new. Add to that the delicious catered brunch and it made for a delightfully relaxed and happy way to start the day and honor the bride to be.

I am looking forward to traveling to Arizona next month to witness Meghan’s transition to wife and celebrate with her family.

Part two of my day started as I left the barn and headed home to meet up with my husband, grab our bags and hit the road for the Poconos. We had a 5 PM wedding to attend!

I was looking forward to this wedding very much.  This special couple came into my life just a couple of years ago, in the funniest way. I met Jo on the set of a movie and after spending a full day with her something clicked. Our rather large age difference did not hinder our future conversations and I found myself looking forward to each time we got together. Meeting Jo’s family was a treat and gave me insight into where her deep zest for life comes from. She is one of the happiest, most loving people I know. It is good to be around her.

Jo was one of the first people I talked with about my desire to make a film. When she told me her boyfriend was an owner in a film production company and he would probably agree to meet with me I was thrilled at the prospect. I have always enjoyed networking and jumped at the chance. The three of us met for dinner and the next connection was made. Not only was Zac willing to give me advice, he was interested in my project idea and promised to take it to his partners. Another fast forward and we are partnered and knee deep in the Beyond Sixty Project. Zac is the Director of Photography and chief over the crews working on the film.  We have traveled together, shared meals and have had some great discussions about life. Zac and Joanna together are pretty amazing and one of my all time favorite couples.

Just as I expected, this couple chose to create a wedding that reflected their spirituality. It was beautiful, meaningful and warmed my heart. The setting was outside, facing a lake. No fancy adornments, just nature. The Officiant was a long time family friend of Zac’s and personalized the ceremony perfectly. There were no cameras allowed and a beautiful meditation to ensure we met Joanna’s expectation of being present in the moment. Native American tradition came into the ceremony as Jo and Zac performed a version of the Seven Steps. Their personal vows were stated and we all danced into the night. What a great way to end a day filled with love.

Celebrations of love are important. At the end of the day it’s what life is all about.

My heart is full for Meghan and Quinton and Jo and Zac.  Thank you for letting me share in a piece of your stories.







Collections and Reflections

Collections and Reflections
Collection: the action or process of collecting someone or something
Reflection:  serious thought or consideration
On Friday night I attended Celeste Walker’s one-woman show at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival.  Celeste is an actor, college educator and a subject of one of my interviews in the Beyond Sixty Project. Of course, she is much more than my brief description and she revealed herself in great detail during her one hour performance.  Colette Reloaded tells the story of a woman in her early 60’s who is examining her life experiences, the choices she has made and why she made them. It was brutally honest and left a road map clearly showing her route to the play.  Aside from being a talented writer and actor, Celeste is a complicated and deeply analytical woman who has a collection of life experiences that she is willing to share with the world.  How brave, cathartic and healing. I related very closely to some of Celeste’s experiences, many women probably would.
My “collections” seem to be on a re-run reel and are in much sharper focus these days.  I suppose it is a matter of my age combined with the fact that I have more time for reflection. Some years ago when I would re-live an experience or a choice I made, I may have become angry or sad or regretful.  I am now at the the point where those emotions have been replaced with acceptance and I can embrace each experience with minimal angst. Reflection is a good thing, a necessity for continued self-improvement.
In interviewing women over the age of sixty, I find they are all in the process of reflection and understanding of the choices they have made. I probably should have and if I had done this instead of this comes up regularly but not in a negative way. They are common phrases used to clarify the path while discussing their continuing journeys.  Each of the accomplished women I have interviewed has a couple things in common.  They have collected a wide variety of life experiences and they are able to reflect on each experience to clearly understand themselves and their place in the universe.  To top it off, they are not done!  They continue to create new experiences and are open to change with the ultimate goal of being the best version of themselves they can possibly be.  I admire them all.
Most people will think of a collection as something you can see and touch, such as art, books or beautiful objects.  While I have some of those things, and I love them, it is my vast collection of experiences that I cherish the most because they make me who I am and help me to see who I want to be.  If I had not taken all the risks I did. If I had not made each decision, positive or negative. If I had not traveled and immersed myself in other cultures. If I had not stepped outside of the prescribed boundaries given to me who would I be? What would I have to offer?
Our collection of experiences shapes us.  Our ability to reflect on those collections and change our course of action or improve in any way is very important.  Ah, such is the cycle of life.
Bravo, Celeste Walker.