It’s good to catch-up with you after a longer than expected “time out.” I confess that I’ve been coaxed back by your enthusiasm and urgings for me to write more and take you with me, which has been a source of happy amazement for which I thank you profusely. My prior reluctance to join in the whirl of social media up until now has also provided some unexpected amusement and benefits. A few months ago my marvelous sister, Maureen O’Crean, asked you on the sly to send me surprise birthday greetings, safe in the knowledge that since I never visit Facebook or Twitter, I’d genuinely be surprised. And surprise me you did, in wondrous ways. With my birthday breakfast came a beautiful box filled to the brim with cards, long heartfelt letters and tokens of whimsy and deep affection, including a gorgeous “gratitude quilt” which made me smile and cry at the same time. You’re simply the best!
You generously shared reflections of your own winding and rewarding Simple Abundance journey over these last twenty years; your life-changing discoveries with Something More a decade after I wrote it, and the sheer relief you felt having an honest, heartfelt, and private conversation without shame about a women’s complicated relationship with money in Peace and Plenty. Some of you wrote of the lovely bond that you and your grown daughters now share reading Simple Abundance together each day. And I was thrilled by your absolute delight with my first children’s book The Best Part of the Day which introduces your precious grandchildren to the wondrous practice of daily gratitude (thank you to our glorious illustrator Wendy Edelson for her magic!)
Above all, you sent my favorite gift of all, prayers for my health and happiness. I truly believe that the gift of prayers by women for women is Heaven’s secret weapon because the spiritual electricity unleashed when we send and receive prayer literally separates the Light from the darkness. I still haven’t been able to read all your best wishes yet but I have felt them every day and so this past birthday has become a marvelous moveable feast, as I open one missive at a time and share the day with you in thought, thanks and prayers for your happiness. You are truly my Belle Lettres and the name of each one of you is engraved in my heart’s gratitude journal. Thank you my darling girl-friends, thank you!
What you shared with me privately and collectively has resonated deeply. It seems that I’m not the only woman in the world needing to re-boot every aspect her life and wondering how and where to begin again. It was a surprise, wasn’t it, to realize as we woke up from our Sleeping Beauty nap, that we were between the ages of 51 and 69 and with a lifetime’s expectations of how/and what we would be doing in our prime time abruptly cancelled. Now that we’ve actually grown up to become “women of a certain age” we’re not quite sure of what we’re meant to do with our time, creative energy, passion and emotion. "Retirement" is what our parents did. We don't know what the word means today, either because we're not ready or able to retire. But with at least an additional twenty year active life span ahead of us (although I hope to convince you to see in a century with me) if it doesn’t include that adorable New England B&B or Napa Valley winery of our fortysomething daydreams, then what are we going to do?
It's a question I've been asking myself, pondering upon and praying about. How do I want to live my future? I've started to call this opportunity our “sudden windfall” stage of life. You see instead of feeling as if the rug was pulled out from under us, let's flip the unexplored and unexpected and become a domestic/literary explorer with me. Let's believe we’ve all been blessed with an unexpected inheritance from an unknown Divine Great Aunt, who was/and still is, one Swell Dame: beautiful, bold, brave and a legend in her own time, who has a few important lessons to teach us. I’ve been rummaging through the attic of social history where Great Auntie’s mystical trunks have been stored. I’ve been compiling notes from her diaries and dispatches dashed off behind the front lines of the rapidly changing 20th century (along with those of her gal pals) as quickly as I can. And I’ve happily discovered there is amazing golden thread that runs through the tapestry of women I’ve long admired, from all walks of life; women who were flesh, bone and blood before they became icons and archetypes, both famous and forgotten. Their secret to not just surviving, but thriving, despite reversals of fortune was their inexhaustible courage and willingness to begin again. They worked with change, they didn’t fight it. And they realized if change came once, it was coming around again. And this time they were going to be ready to catch the golden ring. They learned to work with life’s cycles, changing even faster as a pre-emptive tactic to protect and preserve everything they cherished. This Divine agent provocateur attitude comforts me enormously as I weave the woof and warp of our own “becoming” into a guide for this next, unexpected but glorious stage of our brilliant story. As the incomparable Colette put it: “What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.”
Well, guess what, Babe? We do now.
Being an Irish writer, I can’t really say much more at the moment but I do hope to have happy news for you soon. In the meantime, while I’m trying to bridge the world of time travel as well as writing (both quill and digital), I need to ask your help. Let me put it this way, I still have my training wheels on with the whole social media scene, and I’m only going as far as the driveway at the moment.
But the people who love me (and that includes you!), tell me it’s time, and I’ve heard you, so here we go.
Welcome to my new website – www.SarahBanBreathnach.com and my new blog “Between the Lines”--this is my first post. There’s also the announcement of my Swell Dames Club (which you’ll join when you sign up for my new mailing list). My absolutely fabulous daughter, Kate Sharp, who has brought me into the 21st century, in such a beautiful and elegant way, has asked me to encourage you to follow me on Twitter (@simpleabundance), Instagram (@sarahbanbreathnach) and like my new author’s page on Facebook (@SBanBreathnach).
So thank you for spreading the good word and I’ll do my best to keep writing them.
Sending unbounded thanks for your love, support for my work in the world and those prayers! I return the hugs and blessings on your courage as we start a new adventure together. As they say, let’s Follow, Tweet, Like and Share.