I’m Up To Something

I’m at the stage of life when most people are retiring. That’s not an option for me. I’m back at the start, doing a few rather soul-shocking things. I learned to swim at fifty. I hiked Angels Landing at 56. Instead of checking things off my bucket list, I keep adding dreams to it. Life is wonderful when you’ve got something to hope for.

There are bleak moments, but mostly I’m simply excited for each new day and opportunity. Right now, I’m up to something that was always at the back of my mind. I’d written it off as impossible, but now I’m doing it. We’ll celebrate together when it’s complete. In the meantime, I’m celebrating every second of the journey.

Thank you LIFE, for letting me have one more day. One more chance to get things right.

I hope that whatever you’re up to, you succeed to your own satisfaction. I hope that you find joy in the little steps and don’t stop trying when you trip. We all fall. We all fail. A two-year-old taught me that you can’t stand unless you fall down. So here’s to falling and here’s to standing, and whatever your “it” is, you’ve got my applause just for trying. By default, that makes you a winner.

A Rainy Day, Donald Trump and Me

I was with HER. But that doesn’t change the fact that Donald Trump once showed me a generous side of humanity. So I share this story, not to offend, but because mudslinging doesn’t do anything but make a mess.

This is a photo of my two sons, brothers, playing in the mud. If you don’t know that I have white sons and black sons, and in-between children, you might interpret this photo inaccurately. Fact is, it was a rainy day and I wanted those boys to play in the mud because I wanted the image. At my encouragement, they took turns plastering each other. Splashing. Laughing. Being brothers. And making one heck of a mess.

Now I want to tell you a story of another rainy day. Early one morning ten years ago I walked outside of a NYC building owned by Donald Trump. There was a downpour and I was ill prepared. So there I stood on the curb, trying to hail a taxi when a car pulled up. A couple of men climbed out and one happened to be Mr. Trump. Now I’m nothing that would lure his attention my way. I’m middle-aged and far from a double-zero with double-D’s. But he still saw a woman caught in the rain and offered me an umbrella.

“Thank you, but I can’t accept it because I’m headed to the airport and won’t be able to return it.”

“It’s yours,” he said.

That was that.

The umbrella is in my closet. My kids know not to mess with it because it’s symbolic of unwarranted and unexpected kindness. Every time I see it I want to be a little more thoughtful and a lot more cognizant of those in need around me.

The umbrella presented a mystery during this past political campaign. Where was the kindness that had been extended to me? I hope it surfaces for the whole wide world, and I hope that I can better cultivate it in my own life.

I tell this story not so you’ll want to borrow my umbrella, but to think about something Aristotle believed, “Fear is pain rising from the anticipation of evil.”

Let’s not anticipate the worst. Let’s not live in fear and pain. We’re still Americans—free to choose. Let’s choose to not allow our differences to divide us. Because there is change around us does not have to mean there is change within us.

Aristotle also observed that: “We are what we repeatedly do.” Let’s repeatedly choose kindness, strength, love, respect, inclusion, support and unity.

How we come together and not come undone…is the history that we can still decide, it’s the history yet to be made. Yes, it’s storming and we’re all outside in a deluge. Will we share an umbrella? Oh, I sure, sure hope so.