I’m officially 36-years-old.

Those two numbers swing closer to 40-years-old + I’m cool with that.

Call it luck of the parental draw, or my propensity to view most things through rose-colored glasses — I’ve been shown how to embrace + love another candle on the cake — thanks to my Pops (The Vic).

This brazen dude, The Vic, was 50-years-old when I came wailing into this world + my mama (his wife) was 22-years younger than the ole lad.

The Vic loved aging —

It was his mindset around growing older that made me feel like, “Hell yeah aging is cool!”

The Vic showed me to be grateful for being vertical and not horizontal in a grave. “How are you today?” “Well, I’m vertical and right now that’s all that matters!”

When someone asked Pops his age, I could see the spark in him as he revealed his age + laughed, “And damn proud of it, too!”

When we celebrated his birthday every year, he soaked up every second of it (when he could remember of course, before Dementia decided to crash his memory party).

I’ll never forget when he turned 77 – that was his favorite number (holy double 7’s!) – and all year long he spread the gospel of being 77, “I’m 77! Oh, I just love that number!”

So, in honor of The Vic – who really can’t recall much now but can always feel the love of family and friends – I’m going to share with you some of my favorite life lessons learned + thoughts on aging + favorite quips + some advice sprinkled in.

Cheers to breathing another day and having enough breath to blow out those candles!

Life Lessons + Favorite Quips + Advice (in no particular order!)  

  • It may have taken me 30+ years to learn, understand and truly integrate: BOUNDARIES ARE MY BEST FRIEND. (I had to learn that the hard way in my caregiving journey with The Vic).

  • Over-spiritualizing is a thing. Honor who you are, especially if you’re a planning, practical, get-shit-done, let’s-do-more-than-talk-about-it person.

  • When your life is in crisis – or like mine was when caregiving for The Vic + I had very little fucks to give – you really find out who will be there for you + who won’t. Those people who showed up for me during The Vic/caregiving years are still there for me now when my life looks hella less in crisis.

  • But don’t be jaded by friends or family that didn’t stick around or whom you expected something from – let life prune your friend garden ‘cause it sure as hell will if you allow it to.

  • Oh yeah, on that note, expectations are a set-up for resentment(s). And resentments are like walking on hot coals all day. That shit blows.

  • Experiment. It’s one of my favorite words + a lens I use to play with + see life out of. Because life really is one giant-ass experiment.  

  • My child teaches me more about myself (by being her mother) than I teach her about life.

  • 10-20 minutes of walking can do more for my body + brain than any amount of cement pounding, or crazy body contorting I think I’m into.

  • Coffee shops can revive you. After almost a decade of caregiving, working my ass off + always being ready to clean up bodily fluids + chase down my Pops – nothing was more healing to me than dropping the kid off at school, opening my laptop + letting the caffeine have its way with me.

  • I might identify as a freelancer more than an entrepreneur.

  • I can still bust a move on the dance floor. Only now I pee just a little bit when I turn into Michael Jackson, “Shamone!”

  • Time can heal wounds, but so can damn good therapy.

  • I still can’t drink liquids too close to bedtime or I’ll piss ma’self (sorry, Hubs).

  • Food shaming is not okay.

  • I reserve the right to change my mind regarding food choices. I’ve seen a pattern with my body + food preferences; it likes to change its damn mind. So now, I just go with it instead of judging it.

  • If I wasn’t married and didn’t have my little babes, I’d probably live in an RV with only ten articles of clothing. Often, I’m curious how that version of Keli turns out.

  • Your family might disappoint you.

  • Your friends might disappoint you.

  • Decide your non-negotiables + healthy boundaries with friends + family – you do have power over you.

  • Every year I become more open to digging in roots + possibly buying a home (with some major travel wings).

  • Relationships are better when you can share your truth + listen to the truth of others.

  • I’m madly, deeply, all-consuming in love with podcasts.

  • I want to start a podcast one day. (I’ve been saying that for almost five years now!)

  • I’m more aware of aging + my health now + I’m not sure how I feel about that.

  • And with each candle I add to the cake I shout, “I’m vertical, bitch!” And let each year have its wild way with me.

Love + 36 Wild + Glorious + Soul-Jerking Years On This Planet,


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Dementia + Caregiving...My New Normal

Dementia + Caregiving...My New Normal