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Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Updated: Apr 1

“If you have the power Chrissy, you attack!”

Words spoken by my gentle, humble and very devout Grandfather during a wild game of pinochle when I was 19 years old. We were in Colorado on a family trip and I was playing pinochle with my parents and Grandpa J, as we called him. He was quite possibly the kindest man I ever knew, prone to tearing up as he told stories and reflected on the old days. To hear him speak about attacking anything, even if it was a card game definitely caught me off guard.

If you haven’t played, Pinochle is a game of forward thinking and strategy. The goal is to turn what you have in your hand to power - to short suit yourself if possible - and run the board with what remains. Make them follow suit. Make them follow YOUR lead. A little bit of alchemy if you will. Turning any one of the 4 suits into the leader, the one to beat.

I had been playing pinochle with my family for years at that point but I was not comfortable when it came my turn to lead.

“Attack Chrissy, attack!”

I awoke very early today for a flight. I am not a morning person and I need an immense amount of sleep. I say this both as a warning and to set the stage for this post.

On the plane, I was nodding off. I had his voice in my head loud and clear, “Attack Chrissy, attack!”

It took me back to that moment over 30 years ago. What I wouldn't give to play Pinochle with the three of them one more time.

I turned 50 this week. Generally speaking, I LOVE my birthday. This one has been tough however. On Monday evening, I had dinner with some friends who are former colleagues of mine. We worked together for many years and there is just something about people who have seen your evolution from that perspective that just is different from your family or non-work friends.

At one point during dinner, one of my friends who is a few years my senior said, “You reach a point where you know you have more road behind you than you do in front of you.”

Wabam. There it is. More road behind you than in front. Check. This is where I am struggling with this number. I can’t lallygag anymore, I am running out of road.

For all intents and purposes, I have long passed the halfway mark on this journey. For some reason however, 50 seems to make it stick out like a sore thumb.

And yet, there is something to that journey. I have learned many a hard lesson. Many had to do with power.

“Attack Chrissy, attack!”

How do we short suit ourselves as we age to take the lead and run the board?

This is what I have been pondering.

By the time you get to be my age, you have probably had lots of jobs, relationships, joys, losses and maybe some magic, devastation and shock.

You learn what works for you, who your people are and who your people aren’t. You learn who you can count on and what your strengths are. You learn to drop a lot of stuff off, to sort out who and what stays, and what gets a trip to the donation pile.

Is this how we short suit ourselves?


We gain expertise, we have “been there and done that”. And yet, there is so much to come. People we haven’t met yet. Possibly grandchildren who might become the center of our lives. Places we haven’t seen, things we haven’t learned and if we are lucky, the wisdom to find alignment and healing in the process.

All of this has been spooling in my brain this week but especially on this groggy morning. My husband and I were walking to our next gate and I saw a middle aged woman coming towards me on the people mover. She had a sweatshirt on that made me smile.

It read: “Imma only get finer.”

Kismet. Thank you lady in the airport on an Easter Sunday.

“If you have the power Chrissy, attack!”

For the record, Grandpa J is the only person I would ever let call me Chrissy.

Mom and Grandpa J at her retirement party

I have short suited myself. I have found my people. I know what moves me and I know what I love. Now it is time to attack. To use my power for good and to focus my energy on who and what works.

I will take this 50 year mark as a milestone. A sign on the road of life to keep going and to focus on all that I have and to be excited for what is next. To use what I have versus adding to what I think I need to have. To harness my natural gifts and energies rather than try and fit that which is expected of me.

To quote another wise soul, the Good Witch Glinda who I am pretty sure is Dorothy’s spirit guide: “You had the power all along my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.”

Isn’t that all of us at one point or another? I might just be a little late to the party, but I am here now to make the most of the next chapters coming my way.

Thank you to each and every one of you who reads this post, who wished me a happy birthday, to my tribe, my people, even those who aren’t because I have learned from all of these lessons, encounters and challenges.

And thank you also to Grandpa J for his words that ring in my head: “If you have the power Chrissy, attack!”

Xoxo Christy

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