I, along with many of my friends, turned 50 this year. Birthdays have never held much significance for me and usually when I’m asked, I need to stop and calculate how old I am. This year has been surprisingly different. Being alive for half a century has led to a different level of reflection, sometimes bittersweet.
I have thought a great deal about my friends and family no longer on this physical journey with me, and the uncertain world that younger generations face. I have a greater awareness of the unknown number of years I have left to enjoy travel or see my beloved gardens bloom again. This may all sound maudlin, but that would inaccurate. While at times I do have a sense of despair, I also have a renewed attention to the wonder of being alive and compassion for the contrasting emotions we all face each day. Ultimately, I realize I have the ability to create my own meaning with the guidance of my emotions and that this work is, perhaps, my most important work. In the following passages, my colleagues present how they too are creating their own experience as well as working to assist others to overcome adversity and flourish.