Yup, I am kidding. I’m 70 Years YOUNG! And that is the absolute truth. I feel younger today than I did 20 years ago. I think I’ve found the Elixir to the Fountain of Youth. It’s called Self Love! Gratitude, Creativity, and Loving My Life No Matter What! (Or at the very least, appreciating and grateful to be alive … even if things aren’t seemingly going “my way.”)
How did I get this smart? Trust me, a year ago, I couldn’t even say the word “seventy” without coughing, gagging, stuttering and choking it down again. Today I am celebrating 70 and all the ways that I have come to love my Life!
I realized that each decade-birthday has had huge significance for me. This is the best so far — and some of the others have been downright awesome too (not every year in-between, though, that’s for sure) — but if this is what 70 looks like, bring it on!
So! Seven decades on this planet. (If you’re impatient and don’t want to read all the epiphanies of each decade, scroll down to the bottom and see how I’m celebrating this one!)
Or if you like stories, here’s mine:
Age 10 — To be honest I don’t remember what happened at age 10. I have very few memories of my childhood.
However, at 20, I travelled to Europe with my best friend Suki. It was 1969 and we planned on being away for a whole year. We flew out of Toronto and into New York, boarded a student ship sailing 10 days across the Atlantic Ocean and dropping us off on British soil and into a future neither of us had bargained for. We did stay a year … just not together. (We re-united 43 years later. Here’s the story.)
At 30, I returned to Toronto after a decade of travel, having lived for months or years at a time in different cities and countries, including England, Israel, Vancouver, Florida, New York, and Montreal. When I came back to the city of my birth, I put my big girl panties on and started my own freelance business called, “Write For You,” doing ghostwriting.
There was a huge recession and I couldn’t make a living at it. So I went back to school to learn how to be a court reporter and started working at City Hall in Nathan Phillips Square and hated it! I am too much of an empath to be in an adversarial environment every day. But it paid well so I stayed and used the money to pay my tuition at various institutions that ran night schools until I earned the appropriate accreditation to put up my shingle as a psychotherapist in 1993.
When I turned 40, my beautiful (late) sister, Barbara gave me a spectacular birthday party. When I told her that my guest list was getting too big for my two-bedroom apartment and thought I would take it outside to the park across the street from where I lived on Chaplin Crescent, in Toronto, which to me was an awesome idea, she would have none of it.
Instead, she threw me the most elaborate pool party in her backyard and I have the video to prove it! Oh dear, she rented tables, put centrepieces on them, and prepared the most amazing buffet of food for 100 people!!! (Yup, it was more like a wedding.)
I had friends from my youth, from court reporting, from school, from well, lots of places. And wouldn’t you know it! At some point on that hot muggy night, the clouds started getting darker as they raced across the sky and then BOOM! CRASH! LIGHTNING! SPLASH!
That didn’t stop Barbara. Being her gracious self, she simply moved the party indoors and resumed without batting an eye! Bless your beautiful soul Barbara! Gosh on some days I miss her fiercely! (She was diagnosed with cancer and six weeks later, on March 30th, she was gone. Just three weeks earlier, she had turned 65. That was 11 years ago.)
In my 50th year, I moved to Vancouver after having travelled back and forth many times since my first visit in 1970 when I hitchhiked across the country — as all young hippies did at that time. I was off to see my old high school boyfriend, Bo, who was then living off the land on Texada Island. It was only supposed to be a two-week visit!
Instead, on my way back, I visited Vancouver and I fell in with a bunch of musicians. We were on a boat in English Bay, I was writing a poem, one of the guys started strumming music to it and soon they passed around the pipe, christening me “The Pen” — and I became gainfully employed as the lyricist for their rock band, Lead Feather. After that, I made a couple of phone calls: “Hi Mom, Hi Dad, Hi Work, I’m not coming back!”
It’s been 20 years. At one point, I thought I would move back to Toronto. A few years ago I was there for a whole summer and was a love fest — family and friends were coming out of the woodwork. But I when came back to Victoria, I started grievin’ leavin’.
The land and the sea are so much of my blood that, even though I have no family here and I miss them terribly sometimes, I am grateful to have the friends and the work I do that sustain my mental and emotional well being.
On my 60th birthday, I published my first book, Re-Write Your Life, and received an endorsement from my hero and muse, Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way.
You probably felt the earthquake when her endorsement came in! I jumped up and down so hard, it went right off the Richter Scale and apparently sent ripples across the globe. She had this to say, “June Swadron” (I was June then … as opposed to Junie) …
“June Swadron is both a guide and a muse. Her book is a bright lantern, illuminating the often dark and tricky terrain of the soul. Grounded in personal experience, her techniques catalyze the deep authenticity possible to us all.” —Julia Cameron, Author of The Artist’s Way
So, what do I have up my sleeve at 70? On June 6th, I’m launching my new Re-Write To Re-Ignite Your Life online program. I am very excited and proud of this program. It’s a self-study course so you can go at your own pace. All the details can be found here.
My MOST EXCITING news about turning seventy is this:
It’s called ACHA — The Academy for Creative and Healing Arts. It’s a FUNdRAISER and you can read all about it in a sec. Wait for it! Wait for it! I’m a storyteller. Indulge me please. Or if you can’t … here it is. And here’s the story:
A few months ago when I knew I was going to show the world (or at least show myself) what the new 70 looks like, I rented The Community of Conscious Living hall in Victoria to hold a 70s dance party. There was going to be a 70s theme — wear your favourite bell bottoms and dance the night away to our old 60s and 70s faves. But it didn’t land.
Next it was going to be a lip sync party like my friend Millie had on her 60th which was a hoot. Then it was going to be a Mardi Gras costume party. Next, a black tie event, a formal evening — and then I remembered no man in this town owns a tie — let alone a black one. However, what did land, which propelled me from my bed to the computer at 3 am with fingers speeding across the keyboard was this:
Drum Roll Please! Building a holistic centre to transform mental illness to mental health — Namely: ACHA, The Academy for Creative and Healing Arts.
It’s a Dream Whose Time Has Come. It’s my dream. I put it out 8 years ago and it’s been incubating on my website ever since. Now it’s only 2 ½ weeks away and I can’t believe the momentum … It’s a Yes from everyone I speak to about it. The Academy for Creative and Healing Arts for People with Mental Health Challenges (and everyone) is being carried on the wings of angels and unicorns, and everything magical. Ease and Grace is the way it’s unfolding.
If you are in the Victoria area, please come. Don’t miss it!
If you are a relative or a close friend from out of town, surprise me! Be my personal birthday present. Hey … at 70, I can ask for what I want right? And if you can’t come — please, not to worry, I understand. I put ALL my wishes out to The Universe — some privately, some out loud like this one. Then, I simply let go of the outcome knowing that the Universe is unfolding exactly the way it is supposed to. I will be grateful to see you whenever that might be!
More amazing news: More drum rolls please: I am writing a new book. The publisher has a deadline for me for June 30th! It’s about writing memoirs, your memoirs — your most important stories.
AND on June 30th, the very same day, I am moving from the one-bedroom apartment that I have been living in for 12 years to the main floor of an exceptional house with my very own garden — a block and a half from the ocean!
There’s a lot on my plate. Some days I’m totally wiped out! And at the same time, I acknowledge that I am also living in the most inspired way. Synchronicities abound, magic is everywhere — I could use a bit more sleep — but it seems that I am more grounded and happier than ever before. Thank Goodness I meditate and journal every day. Both keep me sane.
Hope to see you at ACHA on June 21st. Summer Solstice. Now SAVE THE DATE!
P.S. If you are unable to join me to celebrate my 70th and the launch of ACHA, your donations are greatly appreciated to help ACHA become a dream come true. Here’s the GoFundMe page for your donations.