November 2017
Open Sea Reflections

Judy Kohl

I recently celebrated a birthday – not one of those that slips by and you hope no one notices. With this one, I am standing on the cusp of a new decade and for some reason, those decade birthdays have been very significant in my life. I’ve thought back to how my life literally seemed to make a paradigm shift with each new decade.

The day I turned fifty, I woke up empowered in a way I had never sensed before. My life felt rich and complete – any future experiences were a bonus. I chose to leave my full time church position, which seemed strange as I had been an organist since age 16.  Yet, it was a new beginning and I sensed fresh energy and creativity as I now had the time  to compose music of my own.
Now that I just turned sixty, I wonder what  this next decade will look like. Those high values of empowerment and strength don’t seem to be as important as before.  I sense something more gentle and gracious – and yes, much more comfortable. This is renewing for my spirit. There is an ease even as I approach this busy holiday season as who I am is not validated by what I do or even how well I do it. I will use the gifts I’ve been given by God and continue to welcome any opportunity to use them.
If it sounds as if I plan to simply sail into the sunset, then I’ve painted the wrong picture. A friend of mine challenged me to embrace life not as many people do after a certain number of birthdays; trying to maneuver their boat into the harbor safely with as few dings as possible. Rather, I plan on exploring the open seas, indefinitely.
This decade will most likely look different. Meanwhile, I have plans to become a better musician, learn as much about this wonderful life as possible, give back to  those less fortunate in my community and around the world, and deepen those friendships I hold so dear. I’m glad that becoming more involved with North Shore AGO will make that more likely with each one of you.
Judy Gration Kohl, Board member