New Beginnings

How many unexpected paths life takes us down. A friend texted with news of her engagement. It’s her second time around, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

The last time we tried to get together, I was steeped in grief over the accidental death of my boyfriend. I was in Boston, utterly paralyzed by the deep wound of sudden loss. This was six years ago. I had no idea where life was going to take me, or if I had the will to hang on for the ride.Waterfront on Biscayne Bay

Biscayne Bay

Now I’m with a very special man. An adventurer, a sea captain, a teller of tales, a kind hearted ‘tough guy’ who raised three kids by himself.

How lucky I am! We wake up to the magic of waterfront life on Biscayne Bay every day. Sunrises, wild dolphins, manatee sightings, fancy yachts and powerboats whizzing by, and more birds (it seems) than the whole Everglades.

As Auntie Mame quipped, “Life’s a banquet — and most poor suckers are starving to death!”

Contemplating Fifty

It’s coming fast. My 50th birthday. This is one birthday I can’t just ignore. I’m one of those shrinking violets when it comes to celebrating my own birthday. I’m not sure why, exactly. Over the years, I’ve planned surprise parties for friends and family. I’ve taken pleasure in the details, aimed my camera to capture the startled looks from the birthday boy or girl, relished the excitement of pulling off a big surprise.

For me, hitting the half century mark represents a new start. A throwing off of chains; a celebration of the new life I had to carve out for myself after a very painful divorce. This new life is still very much a work in progress. Some days I embrace it eagerly. Other days, I struggle to find my rhythm.

My head has been spinning with ideas about how to celebrate this upcoming milestone. A cruise with my mother. An island getaway with my boyfriend. A solo journey to a faraway place. Or perhaps, a vow to do 50 cool things over the course of the coming year. Reality rears its head in the form of the very real need to save money for my daughter’s high school band trip and the art camp she wants to attend this summer.

I’m blessed to live in Vacationland, aka Miami Beach, where snowbirds flock to escape winter’s chill. I’ve got the beach in my backyard, orchids blooming in February, blue sky and palm trees. What I long for are hills and mountains, rivers and streams, and big showy rock formations. The list of great places to hike in Miami is rather small, unless you count shopping malls. I’m bouncing back and forth to web sites in Utah, Wyoming and California, taking pleasure in the fact that eventually I will find the perfect place, and design my perfect 50th birthday trip.