Cut Paper Art


Tracey Columns

Has this ever happened to you? You’re smack-dab in the middle of something that is taking all of your attention. Suddenly, you stop long enough to consider exactly what is happening all around you. And then, right on the heels of this observation comes pure gratitude for whatever it is that has grabbed your attention?

I had a veritable run of these moments on a recent Saturday. My dear friend, Valerie Gillet Bourne, and I spent a good part of our day listening to people read their submissions for the show we are producing, “Wisdom in the Spotlight.” What an amazing experience.

The process all began a few months ago when I put out a “Call for Submissions”:

“I will be hosting “The Second Half: Wisdom in the Spotlight,” a benefit for OLLI, HSU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute program for adult learners. This one-of-a-kind event will be comprised of ten original stories on the complexities, the joys, and the challenges life throws in our path. It will be an entertaining look at life’s best lessons from some of our wisest teachers … people over 50! It’s all happening in the fall and your wisdom is needed!

Sound daunting? It’s not! Take a moment to consider what you know now that you wished you had known when you were younger. There’s plenty, right? What little pearls of wisdom have value for you and would be worthwhile to share?

Next, write about the wisdom you want pass on. Just like in life, your story may be humorous, serious, or even mysterious … as long as you can tell it in 750 words! (This equals approximately five minutes of speaking.) You certainly don’t need to be a professional writer or performer. Your wisdom is your qualification!”

Imagined how thrilled I was when the submissions began rolling in. My thanks to ALL of you who took the time and care to write a piece. I know it wasn’t a particularly easy exercise and yet, so many of you rose to the challenge. Trust me, it was difficult to  decide who would be invited to read their pieces in the second round of the selection process. Take note Humboldt County, we have plenty of wise people living among us!

Back to Saturday and my overwhelming appreciation for the brave souls who auditioned. They ranged in age from 52 to 93, which gave us quite a generational spread. The topics they had chosen to write about were full and rich, as each writer was drawing on his or her own life experiences. Their stories were thoughtful and funny, insightful and memorable. Without fail, every person we listened to had something worthwhile to say.

I also found it fascinating that each piece was delivered with a great sense of humility. Every person auditioning was wise enough to understand that wisdom is not something to be all puffed up about nor cram down anyone’s throat. (In my book, that sort of delivery would be a reflection of anything but wisdom!)

Finally, I couldn’t help but admire every person who stood before us. As friendly and supportive as we tried to be, the bottom line was that these people took it upon themselves to put themselves out there, to essentially be evaluated for what they had to say. I’m not sure this is easy at any age. Most of these people had never done anything like this in their entire lives. Yet, many of them were spurred on by the very thing we were all there to discuss – the wisdom of knowing what they wanted in their lives and yes, sometimes that included a bit of risk.

Many of us in the second half of our lives realize how odd it is to be aware of the ticking clock that was so silent during our younger years. That steady tic-tock in the back of our brains can be alarming but it can also quite motivating. My final take-away from these auditions? Even if something feels risky, grab it … the time to live your life to the fullest is now.

Thanks again to all of you who auditioned. You were simply wonderful on so many different levels!

(Click here to return to The Second Half online archives)