In My Prime

Imagine my surprise when I woke up on my birthday to CNN host Don Lemon reporting that women my age are past their prime. It must be true because he said he googled it.

Happy birthday to me! 

At first, his co-hosts thought he was talking about our looks or our childbearing years—which was bad enough. However, he was referring to 2024 presidential candidate Nikki Hayley who was calling for age-based competency tests for politicians over 75. He commented on how she shouldn’t talk since she is not in her 20s, 30s, or 40s. According to him, she is “past her prime.”

That’s very interesting. You see, I would argue that at 52, I am in my prime, operating with a full deck of cards, and you, Mr. Lemon, are quite the joker.

As a communications professional, I’ve worked in the editorial, marketing, and production departments of several publishing companies. I have also been fortunate to work for three different non-profit organizations and helped raise millions of dollars for various worthy causes. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to travel, learn new skills, develop expertise in various areas, mentor others, and, above all, make a difference.

On the flip side, I learned a lot about myself after surviving a toxic work environment where bullying and gaslighting were the leadership styles embraced by my superiors. While I drank the Kool-Aid for the cause (or the lemonade, in this case), my creativity and confidence in my abilities were shattered. At the lowest point, I sat across the conference table from my boss, who informed me that they don’t fire people, but he said he “knew how to make people want to leave.”

From then on, I lived in fear of how his mandate would play out for my co-workers and me. In my case, I was ousted from my team without cause, moved to a different department, and replaced by a younger, less experienced male colleague. Thankfully, a few weeks into my new role, the COVID-19 pandemic forced us all to work from home. It was a difficult time for me and for the world, but it turned out the virus became the cure I needed to move on.

Speaking of which, I now feel valued and respected as a professional. In my current position, I can be thoughtful, strategic, and creative. Sometimes I succeed, and sometimes I don’t. I learn from my mistakes and take responsibility for my actions without fear of major consequences. I know what I need to be successful and am not afraid to ask for it. More support? Bigger budget? Deadline extensions? I have no problem putting the request out there for consideration. What’s the worst that can happen? If I don’t ask, the answer is always no. If it doesn’t work out, I don’t cry about it. I keep moving forward and do the best I can.

I don’t think I would be where I am today without an incredible support system at home. Without this entourage of people cheering me on and providing me with sound advice, I wouldn’t be my authentic self. My husband, children, parents, sister, and extended families have always been behind me, see my potential, and challenge me to keep going for all I aspire to become.

In addition to my incredible family, I have a spectacular group of men and women in my life to whom I can turn to for just about anything. Parenting advice, career coaching, travel tips, book recommendations, or just a glass of wine and a kind word. They are all a few blocks or a text, a FaceTime call, or a Zoom chat away. This wasn’t always the case for me. I’ve had my share of troubled relationships in high school and college, where I felt used or ignored by people I thought were my closest companions. But now, as we all navigate this crazy time in our lives sandwiched between aging parents and young adult children while still pursuing our dreams, I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to travel with down this road.

I’m not saying I am without faults or challenges. Patience has never been a virtue of mine. Anxiety is a beast I may never tame. I wish I were better organized so I could spend more time with my creative side and less time looking for my reading glasses. I often do my best work at the last minute, which makes my colleagues understandably nervous.

I’ve spent too much time fighting imposter syndrome rather than finishing my first book. But that will change soon. Being an empty nester means I have more time doing what I love most—writing, reading, exploring indie bookstores, attending author events and writing workshops, and being a good literary citizen.

At this point in my life, I know exactly who I am. It took me a while to get here, but I’ve earned every wrinkle and grey hair along the way. I have collected past experiences and channeled them into the wisdom I wished for when I was younger.

So, you see, Mr. Lemon. I am in my prime. My aces are lined up, and my heart is in the right place. I still shine like a diamond and have had good fortune in spades. I can still play a good hand, and I am not ready to fold. In fact, I am all in.

Reading Slump and Writers Block

What happens when you can’t decide on a book to read or a topic to write about? My worst nightmare. A reading slump and writer’s block. Okay, it’s not a nightmare, but it’s so frustrating.

Let’s start with my reading life. January started out decent. I read two books and liked them both fine. Then, I DNF’d book number three — “Overdue,” a behind-the-scenes look at the public library system. It sounded good when I heard the author give an interview. In reality, I didn’t want to learn anything that would ruin fond childhood memories of storytimes and reading clubs. Then, I chose two different personal essay collections. Both were national bestsellers; neither held my interest. I switched to fiction and picked up a novel I had put down because I was bored with it. I read two more chapters and put the book at the bottom of my TBR pile.

I took a week off from reading and threw myself into work projects, reorganizing closets, and watching The Bachelor. Today, I pulled out two bestsellers that have been on every “Best of 2022″ list I’ve seen—Carrie Soto is Back” by Taylor Jenkins Reid on Audible and  “Verity” by Colleen Hoover. Fingers crossed.

As far as writing goes, I’ve been doing plenty of it. I compose emails and catchy subject lines, edit videos and website copy, take notes in meetings, brainstorm story ideas, and make lists. Someone once told me that if I wanted to be a successful writer, my day job should have nothing to do with writing. Too late for that! If you ask my bosses, I’ve been very productive. But it isn’t the same as working on my book or finishing a blog writing challenge. All of my good habits, like waking up early, reading for inspiration, and sitting down in the chair to put pen to paper, have failed me lately.

But I’m not quitting. I’m starting over, not from scratch, but from experience, which is where I left off.



Have You Been to the TWA Hotel?

“Up, Up, and Away with TWA! – TWA slogan in the 1960s

If you have ever wanted to travel back in time and your DeLorean is in the shop, I suggest taking the elevator at the JetBlue Terminal at JFK airport in New York, where you will find two buttons— “1960s TWA hotel” and “Present Day JetBlue.” Do yourself a favor and push the top button, exit the elevator, and walk down a long flight tube with red carpeting to the TWA hotel lobby. And for your listening pleasure, a soundtrack of the hits of the 1960s and 1970s plays throughout the public areas.



Welcome to the 1960s!

I visited this groovy hotel (is there another word to describe it?) for a few days at a staff retreat. According to the website, the TWA Hotel was restored and reimagined from the original TWA Flight Center (terminal). At check-in, the staff was dressed in flight uniforms, and the desks looked like you would expect in an airport terminal, complete with a place to weigh your suitcase and a conveyor belt to whisk it away. Fortunately, the computer system was upgraded to 21st-century technology, and I was able to self-check in.

While I waited for my room to be ready, I went exploring. First, I  learned some TWA history:

Then, I checked out a game room that I’m sure no other hotel has available—the Twister Room. Too bad I didn’t have time to play a game. My room was ready.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get too many photos of my hotel room but think red furniture, rotary phones, and this runway-style bathroom mirror.

After a long day of meetings, we relaxed in what’s called the “Connie”—a 1959 Lockheed Constellation “Connie” airplane turned cocktail bar.

A good time was had by all. 🙂

This was a fun place to stay for a team-building event, a quick get-a-way, or a pit-stop on the way to fly somewhere for vacation. The food was delicious and served in branded glasses. The TWA shop has something for everyone with the TWA logo on it. All of the staff treated us as if we were flying the friendly skies. The only complaint I have is that my room was facing the Jet Blue arrival/departure terminal, where I heard people coming and going all night long. So, if you are looking for nostalgia, you are in the right place, but you won’t get the best night’s sleep.

Safe travels!



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