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My Road to Fame and Fortune?

When I began writing this blog five or six years ago, I did it as a way to maintain a regular writing practice and explore some of my ideas about retirement, reinvention, and aging. Along the way, I also studied other people’s blogs—just to see how often they published them, how they approached their topics, and how they changed over time. Right away, even in the least likely blogs, I started noticing occasional product placement or the mention of a business or even a charity. After a little research, I discovered that these bloggers were collaborating or partnering with these businesses. Obviously, this is basically advertising, but a few of my favorite bloggers have found such a great way to connect with various businesses and causes that it just seems logical and useful to the reader, as well as the blogger and the collaborating company.

I know there is no denying age or the effects of it on the body, but I also feel myself leaning toward young for as long as I can.

So, it definitely caught my eye last week when I started reading my email and saw the subject line of one of them: “Collaboration?” it read. At first, I figured it was just an ad, but then I read further. Right there in my email was a business person reaching out to say that he had reviewed my blog and that thinks his company has a similar audience. I found myself intrigued and kind of excited. Then I clicked on the link provided and saw the product he felt my readership would be interested in: a shower chair. I just stared at my computer … and then looked at myself in the mirror.

I have nothing against shower chairs. Obviously, if you look at the above photo, you can see that I already have a shower stool, mostly for shaving my legs. But I do feel lucky to live in a house that was once owned by an older gentleman who installed grab bars in both bathrooms. I know how much I don’t want to fall, in the shower or anywhere else. Still, I suddenly went from seeing myself as my own pretend version of “hip and happening,” to someone who writes for people who need shower chairs. And it’s not even that. I have loved many people who could have benefited from a shower chair.

It’s not actually about shower chairs at all. It’s really about the fact that I fancy myself writing for people who might need cushy running shoes or travel guides or exercise bikes rather than something to help them sit down in the shower. And even more than that, my reaction was about being a person who is identified as needing help standing on my own two feet in the shower. I know there is no denying age or the effects of it on the body, but I also feel myself leaning toward young for as long as I can. It’s probably why I write more about reinvention than I do about retirement. I also know that even if I do need a shower chair, I can also take adventurous trips or run 20 miles a week or learn something new.

We all fantasize about some amazing thing happening to us and making all our dreams come true. Mine revolves around Brené Brown reading my blog, asking me to do a Ted Talk with her, and then getting a contract to write a powerful book for women my age entering this third portion of their lives. In this daydream, I become an expert on aging with grace and creativity, and people like Oprah and Katie Couric clamor to interview me. Never in my fantasy did I see a shower chair. But who knows? This could be the start of something big.


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