Ready For Reinvention: Change In The Air


Well, I don’t want to truly revamp myself because I am OK as-is. But changes are in the air so I’ve been thinking about new paths. It’s exciting, and a little scary too, of course.

I’ll be 59 in a couple of weeks. I can hardly believe it. It seems like I met Sandy a few months ago (it was 22 years) and all the adventures, joys, and tears have rocketed past. I got a Masters Degree in counseling in 1997, and that too seems like a moment gone by. Fourteen years at my beloved community mental heath center, and just yesterday I was the new kid.

Wedding Day: I had something very important to tell my new husband, apparently.

The past is full of ecstatic moments (buying our cottage, graduating from grad school, getting married, visiting the Parthenon, and the Empire State Building) and terribly sad ones (losing my dad and Sandy’s brother to cancer).

My girl Nola. Being her cat-mom was a highlight of my life for 17 years.

Now at the cusp of my seventh decade (ack!), it’s clear that whatever more I want to do, I best be getting to it. I am reducing my work hours, so that I can do more of . . . it’s not totally obvious! But it’s semi-retirement from the office only, not from living.

Things that are for sure staying in my next chapter are: my husband/best friend/partner in adventure, our beach apartment, sweetie cats, blogging, and mental health counseling in some form. I’m thinking about many other possibilities too, with these guidelines:

  • Just because you’ve never done it, doesn’t mean you can’t do it now. I have never written a book, taken singing or drawing lessons, or been to South America. These are all on the table, why not?
  • Stay true to your core values. I have to do things that resonate with my core beliefs. I could go to work for Planned Parenthood, but not a tobacco company. I could volunteer to help kids, animals, or trees, but not organized religion.
  • All advice is not created equal. It’s important to choose your confidantes well. I talk about my ideas with positive, enthusiastic people, especially those who have taken some risks along their journey.
  • Take a freaking chance (expletive usually included). My dad always encouraged my risk-taking, and one of his favorite sayings was, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Then he’d finish with “And if the worst happens, Dad will be here for you.” He’s not here now, but I feel him.

So far, I have applied to be a Red Cross Disaster Relief volunteer. I start orientation in a week, and I am charged up.ย  This project fits my four guidelines perfectly. I’ll let you know how it evolves.

Any crossroads approaching for you? Entering a new field, moving to a new city, going back to or graduating from school? What do you do in retirement, if you are fortunate enough to be there, or what do you dream of doing?

Have an adventurous day, and stay fabulous,

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  1. I love your blog; you are an inspiration. Happy upcoming Birthday! You certainly do not look 59. I just turned 60 in April and wonder how I got here so fast. Great piece of advice about staying true to your core values. Lovely wedding picture – you're a beautiful couple.

  2. what a wonderful post!. Thoroughly enjoyed it. You have not changed a bit in those 22 years or you have a darned good photographer. Your wedding dress looks lovely sexy. I like that. Being very fond of cats myself, I can relate to your love of cats. And I also agree on your four guidelines. Hmmm… we might be more alike than I thought.
    I have turned 60 last month and I plan to continue working. One reason: money (unfortunately I quite love the stuff) and second reason: I quite like what I am doing. Still have not got a clue what I would be doing when I retire.

  3. What a stunning wedding photo!

    You sound like you've really got your act together. You always inspire me Patti.

    Staying true to your core values is so important in life. I feel like I have let myself down lately not pushing myself as much as I could be. I was great at taking chances when I was younger but the older I get the less chances I seem to be willing to take. I need to post your Dad's expression on my wall and give myself a good kick in the butt.


  4. It gets better and better. Do what you love and enjoy each moment.

  5. Such an interesting time of life we are in (late 50's, early 60's)! A time when self confidence and self comfort allow us to explore options that we may have once shied away from and an age when time to do so becomes available. Red Cross Disaster Relief training sounds like a worthy and rewarding challenge and there will be no shortage of opportunities to make a difference. Enjoy your blog and look forward to reading about your new paths.

  6. In terms of advice, yours sounds pretty spot on! And congrats on this new life stage. I swear, time continues to speed up, while I try desperately to cling to special moments….

    ~Alexis Grace of North On Harper

  7. Patti, I'm so glad I found your blog. You are an inspiration! I feel like I'm at a crossroads, which is why I started my blog. Love this post!

  8. Oh yes, you speak the truth. Change is what keeps us all growing. I admire knowing when it's time for you to hear the calling of new music.

    blue hue wonderland

  9. Oh, I can relate to this. I'm 57 and on the verge of a major life change with all the anxiety and excitement that comes with it. Good luck to both of us! And your wedding photo- I think you should do a blog post on your secret anti-aging recipe! You still look like this!

  10. Great post, Patti! I like your guidelines and I completely relate to your core values. Your wedding photo is so cute and you two look like you were meant to be together. It sounds like it has been a lovely life so far and surely will continue to be.

    I had a total life reinvention forced on me. Huge, drastic changes can be scary and yet also exhilarating at times, and I take a similar attitude to your dad. I ask myself what is the worst that could happen and then I imagine that worst thing and how I would deal with it. Once I've done that it's not really an unknown anymore. Sometimes not making the change is scary than actually making it!
    Best of luck!

  11. Wise words, Patti, must be the time of life but I too find myself asking similar questions.Good for you , listening and acting on that inner voice. The Red Cross is lucky to have such a skilled volunteer. I agree with others , beautiful bride that hasn't aged a bit.

  12. I can't wait to hear more about these exciting new paths you are going to explore!

  13. My God Patti you look like Grace Kelly in your wedding pic!
    Mr. D and I have been thinking about our next moves for the near future –
    Right now I'm concentrating my effort to get better
    I'm imroving
    Happy for you Patti congrats for your Red Cross training that will be exciting


  14. I ove how grounded and yet inspiring you are! I really learn from the way you approach getting older. It's not an easy subject but there are ways to handle it. I realised recently that I badly need to be creative and chanel my creativity to something everyday. I also started feeling more confident with my writing.

  15. Patti that's a lovely wedding photo of you both and one hell of a fruit dessert on your plates. Approaching a new decade does make you re-evaluate and good for you for slowing down on work to have more time to do other stuff. Your dad would approve I'm sure xx

  16. You look gorgeous, Patti – both of you do! It sounds like you found your soul-mate (that's my word for what you've described, anyway ๐Ÿ™‚ … I am so excited for you! Of course, write a book (I am going to as well), take those art classes (on my list!). I've been reinventing myself, it seems, every few years. We all change, sometimes it's hard to catch up with the inner changes, but we do what we can, don't we? This year (I am going to be 41 in a couple of weeks) is all about change in my life. Moving from my last creation (new school and new community) on to other things which I've always dreamt about doing full time (writing), starting this blog, moving to a new town and a completely new to us artistic, beautiful community… just to name a few big ones. So I totally understand what you are talking about here, and I am sincerely happy and excited for you. Have a great new adventure, Patti!

  17. Now I am really interested in all your changes and plans. I like all your guidelines, and am particularly touched by your dad's sage advice, and loving follow-up message; he sounds like a lovely man.

  18. Patti you have changed very little! I applaud your choices. Yeah Life…it's a trip. I just turned 60! Just wait for THAT thunderclap. Wishing you the Best of Luck!

  19. Your Dad's comment made me tear up – what a great philosophy and how lovely to have that back-up as you leap into the unknown! I've lost my Mum and I really miss knowing that there's always someone who's got my back.

    Anyway, best of luck with all your exciting new endevours.

  20. I love your blog so much–I find your style and attitude so inspirational. And also you make me really want to move to Florida. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am a little younger than you–51–but all that you say really resonates–again, more inspiration. And I love that gorgeous picture too!

    I was really struck by your father's wise words. I also ask my children, especially my son, who is often anxious about things, "What's the worst that could happen?" I wish I had had your dad's wisdom up till now and added the part about even if the worst does happen, I'll be there for you. Lovely, lovely. I will be using that. I'm sure you miss your father terribly but please know that he just helped me too.
    Good luck on all your new ventures. I look forward to hearing about them.

  21. You understand that you have not visibly aged since your wedding, don't you? Clearly, it agrees with you! Red Cross emergency efforts? Excellent. Good for you, and for all the people who will eventually benefit from your dedication to your own highest values.
    I'm having a bit of a challenge in trying to hang on to the relatively few things I want to accomplish, but I have to look back and realize there are only a few left because of what I've already done!

  22. What a fabulous photo from your wedding! Loving the decolletage, Patti – very sexy!
    Now I am really interested in all your changes and plans. I like all your guidelines, and am particularly touched by your dad's sage advice, and loving follow-up message; he sounds like a lovely man.
    Your plans to reduce time at work and start volunteering are great. Keep us posted!
    PS. Nola – love! xxx

  23. beautiful wedding pic!
    this sounds very exciting. i wish you all the luck of the world ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Patti! I'm so glad to see YOU in this blog. You, the one on the inside. I'm almost 69 and I think somewhat in the same way. But it comes out like "Oh, hell! Why not?"

  25. What a gorgeous wedding photo, you've hardly changed! Nola was a beautiful girl.
    I love your plans, the Red Cross volunteering is a wonderful thing to do. x

  26. You and Sandy look so awesome in that picture, Patti – you were a radiant bride! I love your guidelines – what an adventure to look forward to!

  27. This is a very inspiring post, and I wish you have the courage to take all the chances that come your way. I'm also just a few weeks away from my 49th birthday, and I'm freaking out a bit… and I'm not nearly as good as you at taking chances or staying true to my core values. But I sure think I want to try, because if not now, then when, right?

  28. You and Sandy look like movie stars in your wedding photo! So lovely.

    How fun to be moving on to new challenges. It sounds like you've found something that will fit in perfectly and still stretch you in a new way. I am so ready to do something different, or at least reduce my hours at work, but right now I'm the breadwinner so I have to keep baking! Good luck with the Red Cross – they're very lucky to have you!

  29. This all sounds wonderful. Your wedding photo is beautiful and staying true to your values makes life sing. I resonate with this post, as I'm in the midst of clarifying how I want to spend my time. It's a process with a sense of urgency. XO

  30. Lovely wedding photo, Patti. I like your guidelines – particularly 'stay true to your core values,' and think I need to take a freakin' chance!

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