My birthday gift

Anticipate the day as if it was yourYesterday was my birthday. I had planned to sleep-in, but I didn’t. My body clock is very hard-wired to awake early so, even with concerted effort, a day rarely goes by that I’m not sliding my feet into slippers well before 5:30.

I didn’t begrudge the early start yesterday; I gladly welcomed it. Each day is a new day and, as a dear friend phrased it, yesterday marked another lap around the sun.  For me, it is also marks the start of another year; it’s my personal “New Year’s Day.”

In keeping with that theme, I decided to spend a good part of my day thinking about what gift(s) I wanted to give myself this year. I’ll be sharing more details in a later post, but for this post I’ll share the first gift I gave myself: permission to use my opt out card.  As I said at the start of NaBloPoMo, I jumped in again this year with the knowledge I could jump out anytime I wanted. Though I didn’t pack up my swim bag, I did decide to take a break from the water so I could focus on me, my family, and just being still.

And, at the end of the day, I realized I gave myself the very best gift I could, which was a great way to start my next lap around the sun.

What is the best gift you’ve ever given yourself?

A respite for the eyes and soul.


When my eyes are weary and my soul feels heavy, I love to escape to the mountains. My favorite place is anywhere I can find streaming water such as a creek or river. My senses come alive but are simultaneously soothed as fill my lungs with the crisp air and allow my eyes to rest on the moving canvas created by the water. Though the water moves, it is often hypnotic with its constant rhythm of motion, providing the perfect respite. Sadly, escaping to the mountains is not always an option.

Sometime back, a dear friend of mine gave me one of the best decorating tips I have ever received. “Always leave blank space for your eyes to rest in a room,” she advised. In other words, as your eyes move around the room, leave a wall or a table surface empty so your eyes can take a respite from their work. Now, I am one who doesn’t necessarily like clutter, but I do have a home that is well lived in and I like seeing things that bring me joy and tell the story of our family.  In my living room hangs: a painting gifted to my father by a patient who didn’t have the funds to pay, a beautiful garden painted and given to me by one of my closest friends before she passed away, a coastal watercolor that belonged to my father-in-law, and few other things that have greater personal significance than monetary value.  Each brings my heart joy, but each also calls on my eyes to work in some way when I’m in that room. Therefore, there are some areas left intentionally blank.

At the end of a long day (or anytime the TV seems too loud for both my eyes and my ears), I shift my focus to the blank wall space to the right of the TV. The muted, neutral wall welcomes my gaze and, while I stare at the nothingness, I concentrate on my breathing, Sometimes, I see nothing but the blank wall and, sometimes, I use the blank canvas to picture a flowing stream in my mind. As my eyes enjoy the respite, so does my soul.

Tonight, as I drove home from my long Friday, I felt the heaviness of day hang on my shoulders. “Rest your eyes,” I heard a little voice deep within coax, “Rest your eyes; rest your soul.”  And rest them, I did, on the photo at the top of this post.

Where do you like to rest your eyes? ~ The Adventures of a Midlife Renewal: One thought, one step, one adventure at a time. (Formerly

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