Turning 51

Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer
3 min readJun 7, 2022
Roses made by my teenager for my birthday!

I am happy to turn 51.

I am happy for every wrinkle that greets me in the mirror, for the way the skin on my neck has changed, the signs of my aging.

I have survived cancer. I have also learned to live with a chronic illness (Type 1 diabetes) since age ten that demands ongoing diligence. Both of these experiences have taken a toll on me and have also opened doorways to places in my soul: deep places; shadows; the wild river of potential; unruly dreams; callings from my ancestors; a dark and zesty humor; a yearning I think of as love. Energies I’ve held, maybe for centuries, maybe from this walk on the planet.

I recently heard storyteller Sheri D. Kling describe a brush with mortality as being in ‘a fast cab for Hades.’

When I took that ride, when I’ve been the passenger in that fast cab heading for Hades, my prayer was pure and immediate. A prayer for my life. To have the chance to parent my children. The promise I made to my spirit in that cab: I will listen. I will go deeper to know you, day by day.

I am happy to be here. To be 51. Every day is a birth day.

My prayers are less intense now; they grow and stretch to encompass my breathing. My prayers are my digging in the garden, the kind word I share with the cashier, the vibes I send a friend who is struggling.



Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer

Writer, Educator, Mom. Disability advocate. Dog Lover. Teaching online workshops on writing + spiritual growth. www.gabriellekaplanmayer.com