Mindy Pollack-Fusi is a lifelong creative writer, former health care public relations professional, correspondent for The Boston Globe, essayist, writing coach for adults and high school seniors applying to college, photographer, tennis player, uber liberal, and, top of the list, mother, wife, and major lover of canines. She lives in the Greater Boston area and may be reached at ThePlaceForWords@gmail.com.
Growing Bolder note: Mindy originally emailed us this story and shared her photos so we could see how she was Growing Bolder. We were so inspired that we asked if she’d allow us to publish it on the blog. She very graciously accepted! If you’d like to contribute your story, click here for all of the details.
I took a photograph of myself today after feeling sad while studying a picture taken of me and my daughter 25 years ago, when I was 36 years old.
My loving husband had found it in an old file, snapped it on his cell, and texted it to me with the beautiful note: “I love the woman and the girl.” (The “girl,” now 26, is not his child, though she has been in his life 23 years and is her Dad #2.)
By the time I had fluffed up my curls, applied comparable makeup to the young woman in the photo, smiled, and positioned my dog in place of my then 2-year-old couched in my arms in that ’92 photo, this 61-year-old felt empowered—much more so than that 36 year old. (She had just divorced, felt lost and vulnerable, though always confident because, fortunately, I’m wired to see the glass half full.) Just that little bit of makeup, a smile, and a patient companion dissolved my frumpy mood.
I’m proud that my two-year-old from the original photo has successfully emerged as a loving independent adult. Today I focus my nurturing needs on my second husband of 20-plus years, an adult step-daughter we’re helping find her way, and my newest baby canine who licks joy onto my face each morning—and nudges my butt out the door for walks. Amazingly, I still have both parents, so admittedly I am fortunate to have good genes, and my pretty-good nutrition helps I’m sure. And having friends from all walks of life.
So much of longevity and health is attitude; we all know this, but shaping our physical bodies into the best we can be truly matters too. I am on a tennis team, lift weights, do yoga, walk, smile, talk to strangers, and still see the glass half full—despite this painful election year and fears of what lies ahead. And it helps to love a dog; the love in return is endless. I don’t claim to have it all; regrets linger, aches and heartaches do close in now and then, but I keep filling my glass.
I sent this to Growing Bolder after making several photo attempts in the mirror and choosing the best one—that was empowering right there: managing a 35-pound dog in a sit-stay on the bathroom counter while also encouraging him to “smile,” with a cell phone in my other hand, and finding my best angle (because some vanity must remain, no matter the age, thinning hair and eye-creases).
With this email to Growing Bolder complete, I returned to my desk to edit my article on Jewish/Muslim relations for The Boston Globe, because the secret of those over 60+ is that what really matters is how we best live our lives, love others, and give back.