Milestones: Approaching Life with Grace and Glory
I sit here in my little respite in Ogunquit, Maine on the day after my 50th birthday. I have spent many birthdays here, starting with 1983 when I turned 20. I worked at a great place called Valerie's which has since been closed and the building transformed into nothing like the piano bar/ Greek inspired memory owned by the infamous Mrs. G (Tiggy) who called you 'doll' and everyone loved. Mrs. G passed a few years back, and Valerie's is just postcard in my mind now, but those summers in college working there and beaching here were extremely formative. Everyone is welcome here, which is another thing I love about this little gem, "a beautiful place by the sea." My soul is happy when I breathe the air in Ogunquit, and this year my family decided to celebrate 4 big milestones here. We have rented the same comfy home off of Berwick Road the last 6 years. It is truly our home away from home and the owners have become like family to us. The first couple of years we stayed for a week; then 10 days; then 2 weeks. This year we treated ourselves to 4 weeks in probably my favorite place on earth. We are celebrating:
- The Ermi Group is five years old!
- Todd and I were married 15 years on February 14
- I turned 50 yesterday
- Todd is 50 in August
It seemed like a pretty big year, so here we are. I couldn't wait to get here. The weeks leading to our departure were hot, busy and taxing. God's way of making you feel like you earned this!
A benefit of my job is I can coach clients on the phone, so The Ermi Group keeps churning! It doesn't even feel like work when I know I will end up on the beach in a couple of hours.
Turning 50 is not the same as it was when my parents turned 50 I don't think. Four days after my dad turned 50 my mom died suddenly in her sleep. I was 16, and I had no capacity to even realize what impact it had on him. I am so lucky to have him as my dad.
I am actually happier and more content with the life God graciously allows me to experience than I ever have before. I worry far less about what anyone thinks of me (a couple of exceptions of course – baggage from long ago I guess.) But I have learned to acknowledge and notice when I am feeling anxious or judged, and with some self-talk, breathing exercises and positive imagery I learned from my coach, I return to equilibrium in no time!
Gratitude consumes me these days. I have let go of the negative energy I carried around with me when it finally hit me that my husband had a stroke in 2002 and he would not be returning to the workforce. Todd is doing better than ever, and he approaches life with joy and peace. Every birthday is a blessing in his world, and I love that about him.
Friendship is another gift, and I truly do experience a life of abundance in this area. I got almost 200 Facebook well-wishes, multiple texts, calls and emails. Some people do not like that part of social media, but it put a big smile on my face!
Here is to looking life in the face with hope, optimism and humor!
I loved your story about Ogunquit and could not agree more. I knew "Mrs. G" very well and worked there washing dishes for a summer while living at the Yellow Monkey. I was 20 when I first visited the restaurant in 1975 and for more than twenty years went whenever I could. Nancy and Lou Owens alternated at the piano, Ray was behind the bar and you really felt as though you were sitting in Tiggie's living room. Strangers became friends and the soul and spirit were renewed. Thanks for sharing such a lovely story.
Paul E. Brogan