Musings on Walking in to my 60th Year—Paradoxes


-by Paula Fitzgerald Boos (Written shortly following my 59th)

In this space of experiencing the abundant blessings in my life, I am also aware of holding the paradoxes. As I muse about how I hope this year will unfold, and "who" I want to be as I add years to my chronology, I am struck today by the juxta positioning of my rich life with the suffering around me.

Looking at the birthday cards on my desk and the thoughtful birthday treasures I will find places for, I feel rich with relationships that sustain me. There is so much in my life for which to be grateful right now:

  • My strength and health and the ability to participate in, and graduate from, a summer long Learn to Row class on beautiful, smooth water this fall morning.

  • The garden I see out my office window that provides endless opportunity for creativity, growth, and sharing the fruits and flowers.

  • Our growing and healthy family who are all positively engaged in life.

  • Work that is contributive and meaningful to me.

  • Those friends and extended family who reach out and celebrate me on my birthday and through the year.

  • This cool time of life with Wally as we continue to find good harmony with work, play, service, growth, and rich relationships.

It is also true that I am sad for the suffering I see and hear about. Cancer in the brain, colon, breast, testicles, and other health challenges have been part of the last week's conversations. Separation and divorce and strained relationships are happening. How to hold these and to be present in the most loving way is a consistent question.

Even though I am "Paula Positive in Pink," holding these contradictions is an interesting opportunity when it seems there is so much struggle. I AM the incorrigible optimist--AND sometime life can be hard and the "pink primroses" don't easily weave themselves into the narratives. Life is about the light AND the shadow, the peace AND the unrest, eustress AND distress, strong AND weak, loss and grief AND new beginnings, and so many other paradoxes. I am the master at supporting people as they look through new lenses, and sometimes that isn't what is called for. Sometimes a pity party may be in order. Sometimes it may just be about sitting with the pain.

Other times--like yesterday with a client--it may be about the invitation to hold compassion along with, and/or instead of, the conviction with the tough boss. Other times (with another client) it may be about recognizing and celebrating all the ways you HAVE succeeded in rewriting your narrative in powerfully positive ways, and successfully quieted your inner critic. Other times, like this Friday in early November, for me it is about holding peacefully and faithfully, in the belief that I am pursuing my purpose and responding to my calling in my work with leaders, professionals, and my Age is an Attitude community.

Living in the paradoxes of life--such an interesting opportunity--what is the paradox you are holding right now?

Paula Fitzgerald Boos