And then.


That’s the word Nancy gave me for today. It’s actually a good word for a birthday. A birthday that falls in the middle of the 12-hour days of a conference. A conference where I am at a booth for one of my jobs at a conference for another role. A conference where I helped set up the booth for another job and talked with people about yet another role.

I’m spending most of the day listening and talking, learning and encouraging.

Four years ago at this same conference in this same building, I wouldn’t have predicted any of this current configuration of my working life. I couldn’t have. I didn’t even know about most of these things.

And then I resigned my job. Five years ago, I wouldn’t have predicted any of the miles I’ve run or having a gym membership or a marathon medal. And then I went for a run.

Often many of us feel clueless. We have no idea what’s coming next or what we will do about it. We don’t know what a day or a year will bring. And we get stuck. Or at least I do.

I’m trying to learn the power of the “and then.” Sometimes it’s a step: “And then I told her that I knew who I wanted to marry.” Sometimes it’s not a step: “And then we chose to stay here.” Sometimes it’s an attitude choice: “And then I learned to be content in all situations.”

Today, I add another year to my age: “And then I turned 61.” But I’m not sure that’s a significant thing. What’s more significant is the next part: “And then I . . .”


Some birthday observations on what I was learning a couple years ago: A reflective Monday.

If you are ever in the last hours of a loved one’s life, your “And then” may be, “And then I thanked her for her life.”

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