Photo by Jonathan Sanchez

The amazing Helen Mirren is credited with this quote:

Your 40s are good. Your 50s are great. Your 60s are fab. Your 70s are F*@cking awesome.

When I first read it, the 40s, 50s, and 60s decades resonated. But the 70s? F*@ing Awesome?

I tried hard to believe her — I really did. But I wasn’t totally buying it.

Until recently.

Looking back, the 40s were good. I got married, had a son, enjoyed being young and healthy. But before the decade was done, dissatisfaction cast its shadow and darkened into a full fledged storm of divorce. Better things were…


Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

My 91 year-old mother died this month in an assisted living/memory care facility in Maine. I wasn’t allowed to be with her.

As a resident of NYC for the past year, I would have had to quarantine for two weeks making a visit impossible, and I didn’t want to jeopardize the other residents and the staff who so lovingly cared for her and, remarkably, managed to keep her home Covid-19 free.

Since she had been ill for the past ten years and suffered a couple of close calls, my family had hoped my mother would make it a few more…


Author and son painting created together.

Remembering a Thanksgiving masterpiece of moments 5 years…


These 3 easy practices, done together, will manifest positive action and, maybe, an adventure.

Photo by Natalya Letunova on Unsplash

Five years ago, I started an inner journey and stumbled upon three easy yet different processes that I, fortuitously, did at the same time. These three things shook up my life and sent me on an adventure that continues to this day.

It began with a picture I’d cut out of a magazine of a lithe, ballerina-like figure balancing on a tightrope with the aid of a tiny, black parasol. The background was dreamy and verdant. I responded to this picture in a visceral way, but its meaning remained a mystery. I placed it in the center of my poster…


“Genius is eternal patience.” Michelangelo

Photo by Anh Nguyen on Unsplash

Over these many months of 2020, I’ve developed this animal instinct of being on high alert sensing an impending disaster… but it never goes away and relief never comes. This flight or fright state leaves me weakened and easy prey to impatience which makes my stress levels soar.

Since early childhood I’ve been pretty slow on the uptake practicing the virtue of patience. I-want-it-now-tantrums morphed into impulsive bad decisions, into faulty reasoned thinking that I had some control over outcomes in my life. …


With nowhere to go, Covid has revived this simple pleasure and kept a lot of people happy and sane.

Photo by Marcelo Marques on Unsplash

I’m suddenly fourteen again.

In order to escape the confines of my big, chaotic family, I sneak the keys to the car and sidle out the door before anyone notices.

With a heavy yank, the driver’s side door shuts with an Omph sigh of relief, and the outside world disappears. Seated in my tiny capsule ready for orbit, I twist the radio dial to my favorite station and happily drift away. This is my great escape.

The last four months of this new age Covid living have forced most of us to return to a time of simpler things, be…


We need to develop the Buddhist practice of metta, or lovingkindness… and the benefits are worth it.

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

When I read the phrase To reteach a thing its lovelinessjust let that sink in for a minute… it felt like a lifeline, like a comforting beacon of light after being lost on an uncharted sea of anxiety, fear, and growing anger.

Reading further in Sharon Salzberg’s book, Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness, I learned this is the nature of metta, which can be translated from Pali, the ancient language of Buddhist scriptures, as unconditional love or lovingkindness.

It is the first of the brahma-viharas, heavenly abodes, and supports the others that include compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity. The…


After searching for an answer, the big reveal is, yes.

Photo by Artem Kovalev on Unsplash

I kept asking myself over and over again, Why now? Why the hell now?

In October of last year, I fulfilled a life-long dream of moving to New York City. After months of journal writing and mulling it over, I made the decision it was the perfect time. The winds of change propelled me forward, and magically things fell into place. My adventure manifested, and I was challenging myself doing new things and working hard. …


Although my view of the world has literally narrowed, it is no less entertaining, yet, intimately, human.

Photo by Mitchell Hollander on Unsplash

And it seems that when we think no one is looking, whether under the cover of darkness, or in plain light of day, someone is.

In mid March, after the state of emergency was declared, much like Prospero and his guests in The Mask of the Red Death, people began fleeing NYC to country homes. One early evening, I looked out my window to see a middle aged man(not from this Bed Stuy neighborhood) across the street furtively removing his NY plates from…

Connie Ottmann

Solo adventurer, writer, painter, not-really-retired former high school English teacher, who enjoys jumping into the unknown. Find me at connieottmann.com

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