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How To Go From ‘Get By’ to ‘Thrive!’


“Just ’cause there’s snow on the roof doesn’t mean there’s not a fire inside.” – Bonnie Hunt

I recently passed the third anniversary of my husband’s death…the third “angelversary.”  It’s so hard to believe.  The first year was “The Year of the Great Fog”. There was no way I could adequately function beyond the basics. I spent a good portion of that year camping alone in the Colorado High Country. The second year was worse. It was the “Year of Awareness.”  I was awake and quite aware that I was alone. The third year was somewhat better. It was the year of “Self-Discovery and Personal Growth”. By the end of the third year, I realized my grief wasn’t going to kill me and I’d better darned well start getting on with my life. And here I am at the beginning of the fourth year.

I always get introspective a couple weeks before the Angelversary. I look at where I’ve been, where I am currently, and where I want to be. While I embrace every last bit of myself…wrinkles, folds, and fluff…one look in the mirror and no jeans that fit prompted me to relinquish the title of “Poptart Queen” and stop going to bed with my two favorite men…Ben & Jerry! I immediately gave up sugar, bread, gluten, and my beloved Diet Pepsi and prayed for a miracle. Since it didn’t come, I started walking and biking. Oh. Em. Geeee. I HATE to exercise! It makes me grumpy. So I decided to change my attitude. I decided to look at it as going outside to play. Everyone likes to go outside and play, right? Now I look forward to opportunities to get outside and stretch my muscles and make them stronger so I can continue to tow my camper around and have more fun than anyone!

Aging has certain preconceived notions surrounding it. As we enter adulthood, we are on the upward curve. We are building careers and perhaps raising families. Buying houses and cars. Getting braces for the kids. Having neighborhood parties. Getting established. At the top of the curve is when we are earning the most money, having a bit more time to enjoy life, perhaps a bit more expendable income. The kids are heading off to college. We’re thinking about retirement. Tradition has it that the bell curve starts heading down and we stop being as productive, stop making as much money, and health deteriorates till we finally give up the ghost. There is an entire movement geared towards changing the bell curve and creating a positive, productive life long after our parents and grandparents slowed down. That has become my focus for this coming year.

We all want to THRIVE. How that looks to each of us is a varied as our little campers. Some of us are out there hiking mountains and roping cattle. Others are satisfied sitting around the campfire eating s’mores. There’s no judgment here. That’s the beauty of the Sisters. We love each other just as we are. We’ve come a long way, baby…it’s time we are comfortable in our own skin. And, we do have to pay the piper someday. I sure don’t want my tab to be insurmountable because I want to emulate our beloved Miss Mazie and camp till the cows come home!

I am working with a personal trainer for the first time in my life. We are focusing on tuning up my diet. He pushes me to drink more water. And we work out together five times a week. It isn’t easy, but I already feel better and that’s the main impetus. This is a transition that I get to control. There are so many changes we have no control over in life. I was talking with a friend over dinner the other night and she was saying how overwhelming the whole “losing weight” thing is…it’s hard to get motivated.  I say that if you can change one thing in your diet and take one short walk every day, that’s a positive thing. And when you feel better, you are automatically given positive feedback that helps you make the next change. Change. That is the one thing we are guaranteed about life. It will change. How we change with it is what makes the difference. This is my year. This is my year to THRIVE!

Sisters on the Fly Mazie and Maurrie
Ginny McKinney with Founder Maurrie Sussman and Sisters on the Fly inspiration Mazie Morrison.

Ginny McKinney, Sister #3537

Follow Ginny, Author, Blogger, and Speaker at Marshmallow Ranch 

Stay tuned to this spot as we explore the transitions that we encounter in this march through life. I’ll be featuring some amazing women as we discover the myriad ways we Sisters adjust to the changes thrust upon us. I hope you’ll grab a cup of coffee and sit a spell by the fire with me. 


Showing 11 comments

    1. Janis…sometimes we really get put through the wringer in life. Finding ourselves doesn’t come easy by any stretch of the imagination. Hang in there. If you need more inspiration and the support of over 4300 “Ranchers”, come over to Facebook and look up Marshmallow Ranch. We are a group of women traveling the crooked road and we’re healing…one campfire at a time! ❤️

      1. Hi. It looks like I am in the same place as many of you, searching for me. I retired 2 years ago and I’ve been single for a long time. But after retirement I feel like something is really missing now. Last year I worked out with a personal trainer, went down 4 sizes, was feeling really good, but then I quit. Now I’ve gained back the weight and am eating all the wrong things, seriously and feel somewhat self destructive. I’m trying to get a grip on myself and I have this yearning to be out with friends, camping or fishing (which I haven’t done in years). I love the outdoors, would like to hike and such while I can.

    2. Dearest Jane…yes, and, girl YOU WILL! This is such a great place to start!
      I started looking to be ME last year and the heavy heart will lighten, layers will melt away as you grow your Sister Heart along with your Sisters here! Blessings of courage, determination, new beginnings, peace and love grow and guide you!
      We all are here to be the best and funnest girls for each other! Go Girl and live your inner Cow Girl! Whatever She wants to be!
      Best Sister Wishes, Lina Christensen , sister #5706 ???????

    3. Janis, I am doing the same thing! Reading, hoping that something written will make me say, “ah, there you go, there I am” and this is what ill do….

  1. Searching is always part of the journey. You are alive and living your life and are free to choose. You have the world at your feet, go out and LIVE every moment to the fullest. I believe in you, you can do this!

  2. If we expect life to be anything else but ever changing, for good or bad or some where in between, we are not being realistic. Like all of God’s creations from the tiniest microbes to the mighty and ancient trees, there is a time and cycle, and how we approach and go through those cycles is what makes us human. At 73, I am still evolving and find that life is a series of plateaus where we land and stay there for a while and then through some event in living are bumped off and begin the search for the next plateau of safety. If we are lucky there are those along our path whom with love and support and acceptance help us up that ladder to a new different plateau where we can again feel whole and learn to love and accept life in its new form. For many others that support system does not exist. They experience a sense of abandonment and crippling changes they did not plan for. Either way, it is so very difficult to keep one’s balance and sense of wonder and joy no matter where we are at. For those of you who are at a gap or in between stage in your life, I would like to offer my love, support, knowledge that it can and does get better if we make some needed adjustments and forge ahead. I lost my husband 7 years ago, had to sell the ranch in AZ. I am still fighting to find the peace of mind I desperately seek having to move back East. Content and “okay” but still experience the happy memories left behind. Those memories leave scars which over time fade and will become less visible in our daily lives. The fact that we have the capability to experience both joy and sorrow at almost the same time is really incredible if you think about it. I have learned to love myself when I am crying in great anguish over my loss equally with the laughter that comes from unexpected and goofy places. Over all I am still me at my core like each of you are you at your core, and that is what makes us unique and wonderful, and even vulnerable. Remember life is a journey not a destination. Blessings to all my Sisters on their pathways as I continue along mine.

  3. This blog post and all the comments thus far have touched me. We all are on some kind of journey and may find ourselves at similar places in life. I have to say this group of fabulous women has been good for my soul. As someone without many women in my life, finding this group has been a real godsend. The love and acceptance here is nothing short of incredible. I’ve met some of the most accepting and FUN women from all over and consider you as family. Thanks for all the friendships, laughter and encouragement on this journey we’re all on! And thank you Ginny for this great bit of encouragement and perspective.

  4. You had me from your first sentence. My love became an angel 18 months ago, and I am still stunned by the fog. I know there are so many stages of grief, but this relentless brain-fog and dead eye depression was such a surprise.
    But I am now HERE, and find myself wanting to join you, so that’s progress!
    Thank you for writing this.

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