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Healthy Aging: I’m stealing my daughter’s idea

I’d like to share an idea. Actually it’s not my idea, it’s my daughter’s. Truthfully, it’s the idea of a friend of my daughter’s. I am borrowing it. You are welcome to do the same.

This daughter of mine is fortunate in that she has a bevy of good friends, five of whom meet annually to share their life goals in designated areas: mental health, physical health, financial health and creativity. When they started doing these annual get-togethers, I thought it was a grand idea but suspected it would not last. It has.

All of these particular friends are successful professional woman turning 50 years old this year. That is just about the only thing they hold in common — they are otherwise of different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds. Their politics are not aligned. Some are married, some not. One woman has been married several times. Some are mothers, some not. One of them is on kidney dialysis. Another just lost her father. Several, but not all, are planning to run in an iron women triathlon this year.

The idea I share with you falls under their goal area: “creativity.” It’s called “22 for 2022.” The concept involves you and a group of your friends identifying 22 new and different ideas/actions you want to explore in the year ahead. And on the 22nd of every month you meet to discuss those areas — trade stories. Steal one another’s ideas if you choose. As one of the women says, “We like to look for ideas that heal.”

I did not get a timely start on this approach, so I may wait to launch “23 for 2023.” When I do that, one of my creative objectives would be to read more poetry. Maybe even write some. The poet I would lean into is Dawna Markova. I understand she was trained as a midwife, but ”rather than babies, she helps birth possibilities within and between people.” She is an author, teacher, psychotherapist … and organizational fairy godmother.” The poem below is pulled from her book “I Will Not Die an Unlived Life: Reclaiming Purpose and Passion.”

The poem resonates with me and offers its own ideas. I hope you will read it and think about it, and it will loosen your heart. And it will become a wing, a torch, a promise — and that feeling will be sustained.

I will not die an unlived life,

I will not live in fear

of failing or catching fire,

I choose to inhabit my days

to allow my living to open me

to make me less afraid

more accessible

to loosen my heart

until it becomes a wing

a torch, a promise

I chose to risk my significance;

to live so that which came to me as seed

goes to the next blossom

and that which came to me as blossom,

goes on as fruit.

Sharon Johnson is a retired health educator. Reach her at sharjohn99@gmail.com.