Nine years ago this month I wanted to die Download Geezerguts. Like the writer in Philip Roth's book "The Human Stain," I realized that everything I believed and assumed about how the world worked was wrong. Not a nice mental state to be in.
But, as they say, things do get better. The bucket list has been replaced by a gratitude list. During the past nine years I have, as my therapist at the time Amy Karnilowicz of West Hartford, Connecticut put it, "learned." At the top of the gratitude list is just that: At age 58 I could become capable of reframing reality in a way which had nothing to do with wealth, professional success, or even my weight (In the second grade I was the fattest kid in the class, not just the fattest girl).
That doesn't mean, of course, that I feel like running down the hills of central CT belting out tunes from "The Sound of Music." Joy and optimism just aren't in the Eastern European genes - my mother's maiden name was "Miksza."
What has happened instead is that life, professional and personal, has become simple, actually binary: Either I am coping with what is or I am on the way to making things worse. Among the learning is now asking, "What would Hillary Clinton do in this situation?" that is, I have come to respect and use my smarts just as Clinton has done. The new year should bring both Clinton and myself many fresh opportunities. As aging Baby Boomers, we can both be grateful we are pioneers in dealing with this 800-pound gorilla society calls "aging."
Incidentally, new research has found that gorillas also go through paradigm shifts in middle age. As Betty White noted, getting old isn't for sissies.