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  • Writer's pictureSue Schleifer

A Month In: On Having a Birthday Last Month

Helping or hindering?
Linguine being curious

My older friends, at least some of them, think I’m a youngin’. My younger friends sometimes say I look good for my age. I often think that I don’t feel as old as I am, except when I do.


In a recent New York Times article, “How To Grow Old Like Isabella Rossellini” I learned that she also turned 71 recently. At 45, after being fired from Lancome, she began to wrestle with the question, “Who am I and how do I fulfill the rest of my life?” and she is still asking herself that question. I too ask myself this question as do many of my clients of all different ages.


I think it’s an important question because it keeps me curious and alive and mostly unstuck, except when I am. Sometimes I linger in that liminal state, in-between the past and the future and unsure about the present. What I now know, that I didn’t when I was younger, is that I won’t stay in that liminal place forever. If I allow myself time to be there for however long it takes, I will eventually move into a new, more creative and alive space.


Staying curious and learning to be playful (Rossellini says she’s become more playful as she’s aged) are important to me. How can I be curious, pay attention to the small and mysterious things around me, and be willing to try on new thoughts and experiences? How can I stay positive and also aware of what’s happening in the world? Where do I want to focus my attention and make a contribution? What do I want my creative life to be like?


These are useful questions to consider at all ages.


Playfulness is also a way of being. I’m still learning to find humor in everyday situations, to laugh freely, and to not be so serious. How are you playful?


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