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Busting bottles on Field No. 4.

I rode the waves on Jones Beach every summer of my childhood. You know you’re almost at the parking lot when you see the “pencil” —an enormous water tower that is the phallic symbol of all phallic symbols. Approaching it was one of the biggest thrills of my small life.

Growing up, the only thing I ever wanted to be was a wife and a mother. Once I reached adulthood, I was on a mission to create the ideal family— the exact opposite of the house I grew up in.

I put every ounce of my being into raising my children.

It was hard work. But in doing the work for them, I found myself. Learned who I was. What I was good at. What inspired me. I thrived in that family. I became the me that I am today. It was one of the few times that I felt like I belonged. Was loved how I needed to be loved. Funk loved me, but the love of a child is a completely different thing.

Turns out, it was a mistake to make my kids the entire focus of my life. They leave home. Have different ideals, and “please God, anything but yours!”

On the advice of spiritual counselor, Sabin Bailey, I found myself at Field No. 4. This time to express my anguish to the gods. I brought twelve bottles with me to smash. And I flung each against the parking lot asphalt with as much force as I had put into raising my family.

Twelve wasn’t enough. Maybe twelve lifetimes would’ve been, but not twelve bottles.

Still, I’m no quitter. At 63, I know there is no way around a problem except to go straight through it. As incredulous as it is, I have to figure out (again!) what I want to be when I grow up. What is my purpose. What brings me joy. My happiness comes from deep connection with others—how do I find like-minded people to build a new “family” with?

Here’s to you if your plans didn’t work out the way you intended. If you’re trying to catch a different vision instead of wallowing in victimhood. Damn this pandemic. I wish the universe would go pick on someone her own size!

The photo: My tree. The place where I’ve transformed without trying. I’m back for a fourth time, with a goal in mind. Man, that poor tree has a lot of work ahead of her.

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