Health after Fifty: John Lennon, Advance Directives, and Joy No Matter What

Dear friends,

First, let me offer a belated wish for your vibrant health, happiness and fulfillment in 2013. While it may seem strange to be sending this wish now, as we approach the first day of Spring, I have been fully engaged in a most important project: my HEALTH!

The holiday season found me “off duty” with 2 extended bouts of the flu. After taking time away from my psychotherapy practice to fully recover, I was grateful to return to my clients. When you are blessed to do work that makes your heart sing,¬† it’s a joy to return after being away.

I was thinking about you, composing blog posts in my head, wanting to reconnect, and to resume my communications with you.

And then…as John Lennon said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

I awoke one morning about 3 weeks ago, stepped out of bed and realized my right leg and arm felt unusually weak. As I wobbled to the bathroom I thought I must have slept “funny” on that side. Minutes later, an insistent inner voice said, “Call the doctor!” After a few hours in the hospital ER, undergoing a CT scan, an ultrasound, 2 MRIs and an EKG, I was diagnosed with a TIA: transient ischemic attack or “mini-stroke!

The good news is that, as is the case with TIAs, I am symptom-free. I feel so grateful for what I used to take for granted: walking, talking, smiling,  to name a few

 As you might imagine, this was a powerful wake-up call for me. For a couple of weeks my mind was seducing me with fear-inducing visions of my future as a stoke victim. (30-40 % of people who have a TIA have a serious stroke within 3 months to a year.) I am determined to be among the 60-70%!

How did I revive my joy? I used my book, Joy After Fifty: A Woman’s Guide to Passion, Purpose and Lasting Happiness¬† and the simple practices to boost my happiness—practices like acts of kindness, savoring beautiful memories, naming 3 things that went well each day. While these and other simple actions have been scientifically proven to boost happiness, what I now know, for sure, is that they really work to alleviate fear, sadness, fatigue and anxiety. Yay! You can learn these amazingly simple 1-3 minute practices. Click here to read about Joy After Fifty.

I am living each day with renewed purpose and passion. Here’s what I learned from this experience:

  1. Cherish every moment.
  2. Live passionately, joyfully, gratefully…no matter what!
  3. Know your body. Feed it well. Eat to live.
  4. Have an emergency plan. Who will you call if you live alone?
  5. Praise the nurses and doctors...and assert your needs.
  6. *Complete your advance directive.
  7. Say goodby, as though you may never see that person again.
  8. Say, “I love you” often.
  9. Give thanks for tender kindnesses.
  10. Make time for joy…every day! Joy is the precursor to health, love, and resilience.

* You may find “Five Wishes” a more inspiring, thought-provoking advance directive than the usual ones:¬†

Here’s to your health, happiness and fulfillment!!

Joyful blessings,






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One Response to “Health after Fifty: John Lennon, Advance Directives, and Joy No Matter What”

  1. Connie Thank you for this blog post. I am right there with you. What you learned in an incredible share.

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