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Happy birthday, fellow Leos! / Cindy La Ferle

“My life is better with every year of living it.” ~Rachel Maddow

As a rule, I typically don’t write posts for my own birthday — and not because I’m  embarrassed to admit I’m another year older. It’s just that I don’t want to appear arrogant or self-aggrandizing. I’m not looking for praise or more presents, so I hope you’ll forgive my self-indulgence. 

But this has been a good year and I’m very grateful for it. 

I ran across a quote this morning that describes every person’s birthday as another chance to start fresh, or hit the reset button. In other words, each birthday is a personal new year. Put that idea in your head and celebrate it.

Wedged between a few heartbreaking losses and a few regrets, a lot of positive things have transpired since my birthday last year. For starters, I was lucky enough to get the Pfizer vaccine in February — an event that felt like a miracle because it rescued me from additional months of COVID-19 anxiety and stress (for myself and all the people I love). The vaccine gave us our lives back — and reminded us of how much we’ve all taken for granted until now, including professional haircuts and hugging our grandkids.

This year also brought new publishing opportunities and “firsts” for me — including an essay in Newsweek, and a long-awaited acceptance in one of my favorite magazines — which I’ll share with you early next month. This year, I moved past some dark weeks of fallow time and started writing seriously again, which helped me make sense of the pandemic and the crazy politics that infected this country with a vengeance. 

As we age, I believe it’s essential to keep using our skills and gifts; to make a difference while we’re here.

In the months since my last birthday, I’ve had a chance to take stock of where I’m headed, using the extra time to make changes I needed to make — if only a few attitude adjustments. So much of what hurts or worries or confounds me, I discovered, can be healed if I pause to reevaluate what’s going on, stop making assumptions, and ultimately reframe the situation in my mind. This practice improved everything from fragile relationships to project goals. 

This year I finally resolved (through diligence and doctor visits) a couple of chronic health issues that kept me anxious and worried. In the midst of the pandemic, I learned that good health and an outstanding medical team are among my greatest treasures.

More than ever, I believe in resets and fresh starts with optimism — and I wish all that and more for your birthday, too. ~Cindy La Ferle

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Throughout my career, I've worked as a book production editor, travel magazine editor, features writer, and weekly newspaper columnist. My award-winning lifestyles features and essays have appeared in many national magazines and anthologies, including Newsweek, Reader's Digest, The Christian Science Monitor, Writer's Digest, Victoria, Better Homes & Gardens, Bella Grace, and more. My weekly Sunday "Life Lines" column ran for 14 years in The Daily Tribune (Royal Oak, MI) and won a First Place (Local Columns) award from the Michigan Press Association. My essay collection, Writing Home, includes 93 previously published columns and essays focusing on parenthood and family life.

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