A Jazz Riff for a Woman Turning 50

Just saw Joshua Redman’s trio at Jazz Alley in Seattle last night. As the amazing music washed over me, thoughts began to fly – here’s a few words:

The woman with the perpetual smile – shining in the glare of the stage lights

Feeling the ache of every note

Memories colliding in the darkness

The. Woman. With. The. Perpetual. Smile.

What lies inside – pain and joy, a mix of all that makes us human

So many cliches, tomorrow is another day, God doesn’t give us more than we can handle

I claim my pain and my joy

I fight for my right to remember – all of it, not just the good times

And still, I choose to be happy

I choose to be

The woman with the perpetual smile

Joshua Redman

Can I possibly be turning 50? Yes – time to face the music (and dance!)

I will be 50 years old on October 30 (go Scorpio!) and I recently started acknowledging the fact that I’m getting old when I noticed that my feet had grown a half size, I need glasses for reading and distance, and my hormones were acting up so badly I had to buy a new facial wash. Apparently I’m not the only woman dealing with this issue, Neutrogena has a face wash that deals with pimples and wrinkles. So I decided that I would celebrate my birthday for the entire month of October, I have been posting old pictures of myself on Facebook, and we are taking a trip to Seattle this weekend to celebrate with my family (dancing will most definitely be involved) and see a Seahawks game. I haven’t been to the new stadium and I’m excited to see my team in person, even though we had to pay an arm and a leg for nosebleed seats. It’s all about the atmosphere.

The Givens Family -- All 9 of us!
The Givens Family — All 9 of us! I’m the cute baby in Mom’s arms.

So posting all those old photos got me reminiscing about the past. I actually contacted my old high school principal, to let him know how successful I’ve been and the impact he had on my life (as noted in this column for Inside Higher Ed: https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/running/givens3). It’s a good time to reflect on how far I have come in life. I know I have many years ahead of me, but I never could have imagined how life would play out for me. I have been a successful academic, which is a huge accomplishment in this day and age of higher ed under fire. Given where I come from (see this blog post http://blog.terrigivens.com/2013/04/06/how-much-is-enough/), it’s amazing that I beat the odds in so many different ways.

My son Andrew (just turned 14) recently asked me a very interesting question “do you ever have any free time” — he was asking because he is already thinking about what he wants to do as a job. My response was that I’m usually working or spending time with him and his brother, but I love my work, so that’s why I don’t mind it. I told him I appreciate the fact that my job is flexible so I can take time during the day to pick him up from school, or go to his sporting events, and then work in the evenings. I’ve certainly been busy with all the writing I have been doing lately (one example is in Politico Magazine) as well as interviews on TV and radio. It still hurts that I can’t call my parents on the phone to tell them about my latest exploits, but as I age, I also am gaining more perspective on the rhythms of life. Nobody gets out of here alive, and this is the prime of my life, when I’m supposed to be out there sharing my gifts. As my mother always told me, “don’t keep your light under a bushel!”

So turning 50 is not so bad, I’m still in great physical shape (except for my sore achilles tendons), I have a beautiful family, a great job, and there’s so much more to look forward to…including the Seahawks making it to the Superbowl again! I’ll have more thoughts on turning 50 in the coming weeks, consider this just another step in the journey…

 

 

Preview: State of the City

Shelley Seale has written an article on the State of Austin – including my thoughts on Austin’s present and future.

The Austinite Magazine

With our city growing and changing  around us, we take a closer look at the issues shaping Austin today.

By Shelley Seale

Austin is the country’s current “it” city. All of the things we love about this place,
find quirky and unusual and even a little rebellious, seem to have been discovered by
the rest of the world. The 11th largest city in the U.S. has seen a lot of changes recently,
yet remains home to many beloved long-time institutions. Here we take a look at Austin today,
in a snapshot of many different facets of the State Capital of Texas.
SOTC OPENER

Growth
The speed with which Austin is growing seems to be the hottest topic of conversation around the city these days. An explosion of “Don’t move here” t-shirts and “We hear Houston is nice” bumper stickers proliferate amid the buzz about how many thousands of people move to the…

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