I’m Bayla Goldstein (proud mom of Sara Smeaton). At 74, I am filled with gratitude. As a wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, I give and receive love daily. Though I’ve had my struggles and losses, I’ve had the privilege of working as a childcare worker, teacher, stay-at-home mom, dance therapist, Trager practitioner/tutor, and psychotherapist.
What would you say has been the biggest shift after turning 40?
At forty, I had everything I could possibly want — a loving husband, two fabulous children, a comfortable home, travel, rewarding work. Yet, sometimes I felt inexplicably sad… Reluctantly, I found the courage to go into therapy. My mother had died 17 years earlier (two weeks after our wedding). In therapy, I realized that I had been so busy creating a life as a new wife, new teacher, new mom that I had not fully grieved her death. I also discovered that I had the unconscious belief that like my mother, I would die at 49. Instead, I graduated from The Centre for Training in Psychotherapy when I was 49. Making the unconscious conscious continues to be the most powerful thing I do in my life.
When do you feel you are most powerful?
The more fully present I am the more powerful I feel. I used to wonder how to “live life to its fullest” — I’m not the bungee jumping type — but now for me, feeling life fully and deeply is living life fully. Embracing equally the dark and the light, the grief and the joy, allows me the opportunity to live with clarity, integrity, courage, and compassion.
What are the top three most important things to you right now?
- Serenity — to accept what I cannot change
- Courage — to change what I can
- Wisdom — to know the difference
(Taken from the Serenity Prayer)
How do you make sure your actions are aligned with what’s most important to you?
I listen to my dreams, “the royal road to the unconscious” (Freud). I face any fear, anger, hurt that may lead me astray. I explore and process by myself and with the people in my life who I trust with my life.
What seeds are you planting today for the future?
I begin every day with focus and connection. My husband and I do the Grail Mantra. Then, I meditate in a three-way call with my two oldest friends. I follow that with my own stretch and strength routine and close with gratitude and intention.
I try to follow my 98-year-old aunt’s example, “I’m kind to the people I love, including myself”. I stay open to where the need is greatest.
I dance as much as I can.
What advice would you give someone who is interested in redesigning midlife?
Here’s my advice to someone redesigning midlife (and to myself when I redesign late-life):
- Don’t ‘should’ yourself or compare yourself to others.
- Do give yourself time to ‘be’ so you can hear what is calling you.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Do remember you are uniquely yourself.
How can people connect with you and your work?
People can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.