Back in the dark ages (about 8 years ago), I started a blog when my husband and I launched what we stupidly thought was going to be a 2 – 3 year renovation of our house to turn it from a cute little New England reproduction to a magnificently energy-efficient, “Shingle Style” home. (For clarity’s sake, *he* thought 2 years. I thought 3. ;-))
That endeavor will be one of the topics of this blog. Where the focus of my long-ago (and long-abandoned) blog was simply to chronicle the renovation (which I ended up shifting to Facebook instead), my purpose in including the renovation as a topic this time around has a couple of angles: 1) the obvious one: to share how we did what we did. We followed, as closely as we could, the standards to achieve a “Passive House” level of energy efficiency. We also about doubled the size of the house. That’s a lot of work (!), and a lot of lessons (!!). Did I mention that my husband was the builder, so it was mostly his labor, talent, and neuroses, plus a little project management by me, that got the job done? I aim to provide information, support, and guidance to people who might be considering doing renovation work. 2) Given the duration of this effort, there was a certain level of . . . Zen . . . and, as it turned out, mega-doses of humor and humility, that were required in order to survive the journey. There were also countless lessons in patience, compromise, negotiation, and just plain letting go, and I think (and friends have told me) that I have value to offer in sharing those (even if you aren’t embarking on a renovation!).
Those 8 years have also ushered in an evolution in my life in which I know I’m not alone, and which therefore will be another subject of this blog: I turned 50; my parents’ health declined precipitously; I found myself having to choose between the businessperson/breadwinner I thought I was supposed to be (and which had defined me more than I’d realized) and jumping into the fire of self-directed “breadwinnerdom” (and parent-care) instead. Just when I thought we were done with the house and I was where I wanted to be in my career and looking at my retirement horizon, everything changed. In short, my life has evolved as much as my house has, and where I am right now is exactly NOTHING like where I was 8 years ago.
I’m here to tell you that it’s good, and if you’re in a similar place, or wondering if maybe the wrong things are defining you, I’m going make this a place to hopefully inspire you, as well as give you a bunch of practical stuff to help guide you through your own fires, from taking that terrifying career leap to taking care of your parents.
Last, but not the least topic of this blog: food. Or maybe I should make that “Food” (with a capital “F”). It’s a passion for me, and not just because I like to eat and love to cook. Food is one of the things we have *some* control over in terms of what we put into our bodies (the air we breathe and what we drink being the other 2 significant ones – along with what we put *on* our bodies, which might get touched upon at some point here, too). Food is a major factor in our individual health and well-being. Aside from obvious, immediate allergic reactions when we consume something that disagrees with us, the health impacts of poor food choices lay largely silent over years, and by the time the effects show up in the form of ailments and disease, it’s hard to point at any one thing as the cause (which we love to do in this culture), but the correlations are strong, consistent and clear. When you aggregate consumption of Food, and its necessary precursor, production, over the several billion of us on this planet, Food is also a major factor in public health and environmental health. So I’m going to write and share content about that.
If you like all of the above topics, yippee!! You can tune in to every post! Otherwise, I’m going to work out a rotating schedule so that I’ll have a topic pattern for my posts: house-related stuff on certain days, parent-care stuff on different days, food-related stuff on other days, and hopefully inspiration and laughs to support your journey throughout. I’m going to tap my own experiences, the experience of experts, and that of “fellow fire-walkers.” I’m also planning a vlog to go along with this sometime soon (so I can give you tours, record interviews with experts, and give you a break from reading sometimes).
Finally, a little bit about the name, “Fire Over Fifty.” I wanted to convey a passion for life, especially life in “reboot” mode, and a sense of excitement, rather than dread, when life throws us its curve balls & change-ups (as so many are experiencing at a point where we thought we had the rest of our lives kinda figured out). I also have to admit to my own fantasy/superhero vision of walking through the fire and coming out, unscathed, on the other side (in some kind of cool costume, with the skin elasticity and muscle tone I had 20 years ago. . . Superhero name: “The Fire.” LOL). There’s also little inside story to the word “Fire” for me. My current coach was a former colleague with whom I worked incredibly closely for many years. During one very hot streak in our office’s growth, she told me, half jokingly, that she was going to start calling me “Firemica” instead of “Formica.” She did, and it stuck. Then it got shortened to “Fire,” usually used with an exclamation point when she called or emailed me, e.g.: “Fire! When do we have that call?” So the name has a bit of a layered meaning for me, and I hope this blog comes to be a place that has meaning for you, too.