In less than a week, I will be taking the stage as a comedian for the first time. My friends and family will probably tell you that it’s always been in me, but I never saw it. I was too busy playing things safe. Now others would tell you that jumping out of a plane, taking a 3-month solo trip to another country, writing a very vulnerable memoir, and delivering two TEDx talks isn’t exactly playing it safe – but to me, it was.
“Stephie, I can’t do this anymore,” my mother’s resigned voice sobbed into the phone. With tears in my eyes, I choked out a lame “I know, mom.”
My mother was in the late stages of her dementia. She was often agitated, unpredictable, emotionally labile, and profoundly confused. Her caregiver had just called me to beg for my assistance. Minutes prior, my mother had tried to elope (again) out the back door of her home of over 20 years. The caregiver had tried to block her escape, and, in her fearful state of mind, my mother wielded a wooden dowel like a baseball bat, threatening to club her caregiver if she did not get out of her way. The caregiver dialed me and handed the phone to my mother. My familiar voice did the trick: she came out of her rage and panic.
There is something exciting about beginnings, like entering into a new relationship, starting a different job, moving to an unfamiliar town, getting the key to a freshly purchased house, or where we are finding ourselves right now—the beginning of a new year. What is it about beginnings that excite us so much? I think we all heard the expression “life is a journey.” We recognize that it is an adventure full of twists and turns, ups and downs, ebbs and flows, change, transformation, and growth that all contribute to our evolution as individuals, and ultimately, as humankind collectively. For some, the marking of the beginning of this journey is when we are born into this world in a physical body, and it ends when that physical body dies. Others embrace a more expanded view that includes the belief that we are each a spiritual being in a corporeal form on a temporary passage that is part of an infinite and eternal journey.
As the year is wrapping up, it’s time to start thinking about moving into 2023 with the grandest vision of optimal health. Why wait for January? December is one of the best months to embrace your health and not wind down but wind up. Wouldn’t you like to go to your family get-together and work parties this month where people were asking you “What have you been doing?? You look incredible!?”
It is hard to forget that epic scene in the iconic film, The Wizard of Oz when Toto tugs back the curtains and the secret is revealed. In that moment, we discover the amplified commanding voice set on the stage with lights, sound, and an aura of powerful grandeur is a man behind the scenes, whose deepest desire is not to “pay attention to the man behind the curtain.”