Sublimely Brazen Aging


Five years ago I wrote about being sixty-one.


Five years is a short time.

Five years is a long time.

Five years is an arbitrary amount of time, like my age.




I’ve been alive for over 24,000 days, living them one day at a time. One moment at a time.


Five years ago I didn’t know what the future held, was unaware of the tsunami of change about to hit my life. Within eight months, I lost my beloved Irish wolfhound, half my thyroid, and my dad, in that order. Then we moved to another state. My community, my support system and my dream home were left behind. Our oldest daughter moved to Portland, Oregon and our youngest to Thailand for six months. I was a mess, wracked by grief I thought I was handling just fine, thank you very much. I felt like a plant yanked out by the roots, left dangling in dirty clumps, limp.


There were signs I wasn’t fine. A major depressive episode in 2016 was one of them. I pulled out of it eventually but when another one threatened to drop me into the abyss, I went back in to counseling.


I’m a retired therapist but I didn’t want to need help. I went in anyway and cried for months, pouring out feelings about the past, my childhood, politics, trauma, feeling like a failure. A sympathetic, unbiased listener is worth EVERYTHING. All that was stuck started to loosen.


Every week I received an assignment. Every week I paid attention and wrote in my journal. I signed up for Pilates classes. As soon as the weather allowed, I went hiking with my dog Hoover, seeking and finding solace in nature. I took two watercolor painting classes at the local art center.


My creative juices began to flow again. I can see now that efforts to create an online coaching business and write two books were not failures. They were learning experiences. I took creative risks. I’m someone who is willing to learn all the time. I’m kinder to myself about my efforts now.


Three weeks ago we started remodeling a large section of our house. We took it all down to the studs and discovered internal structural problems. Every little thing torn apart will be reconstructed, all new, stronger, better than before. It will be the same space but different.


Counseling was my remodeling process. I dismantled my past. I’m coming back together. Like the house, the finishing touches aren’t done yet. I reframed a lot of my negative self-talk, reinforced my boundaries and began again.


As long as I live, I’ll reach for the proverbial Brass Ring. I seek success in my own best form of vitality – exuberant, fully alive and coherent, buzzing with my electric inner power. Undefined by anyone else. Creating what pleases me. Speaking my truth.


This is what 66 looks like.


I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence

David Bowie, Changes




  1. Kathy on September 7, 2019 at 6:17 am

    Lovely! More more more please.

    • Loran Hills on September 7, 2019 at 2:45 pm

      Working on it!

  2. Deb Kennedy on September 7, 2019 at 7:45 am

    Beautiful words describing your journey. I feel blessed to read them.

    • Loran Hills on September 7, 2019 at 9:15 am

      Ah, thank you!

      • Loran Hills on September 7, 2019 at 9:16 am
  3. Angie Willis on September 7, 2019 at 9:38 am

    Beautiful writing Loran. I’m glad you came through to 66 in one piece. Come and join me at 72 some time 🙂

    • Loran Hills on September 7, 2019 at 9:58 am

      I hope I can! It’s not too far away.

  4. Roxanne Worthington on September 7, 2019 at 10:41 am

    Thank you for sharing this, Loran. It hits home….

    • Loran Hills on September 7, 2019 at 2:45 pm

      I always hope that my writing speaks to other women. Thanks for letting me know, Roxanne.

  5. Debra Marrs on September 7, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    Beautiful writing, Loran. I appreciate what it takes to crack open this amount of sharing to write these truths. The vulnerability is raw, and yet healing, as you model what it’s like to experience 6+ decades. The parallel metaphor of tearing down and building back up is poetic and rich. You are so self-aware; I admire that in you.

    Congratulations on your creative breakthroughs! You’re right; taking risks results in learning. And I recognize in you that person – the one who will never stop learning. And isn’t that what makes us juicier and juicer through each decade? Thanks for ALL of this. I can’t stop re-reading it!

    • Loran Hills on September 7, 2019 at 2:47 pm

      Debra, I’m blushing! Thank you for your kind words and especially for helping along the way.

      Frankly, I don’t understand why more people don’t want to continue to learn! Yes to juicier!

  6. Kathryn Mensah on September 8, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    You express your journey so clearly in terms we all can relate to. Aging and living is a turbulent and wild ride. It helps to be conscious of the plateaus and bumps in the road as well as the inspirational views we experience on the summits.
    Fasten your seatbelts belts there is more excitement ahead. More kicks than on Route 66! LOL

    • Loran Hills on September 8, 2019 at 7:10 pm

      Yes, sometimes it’s a real roller coaster on Route 66!

      I remember at 61 looking at the future with some dismay. I was going to keep getting older! It’s quite the journey.

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge