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One of the simply awesome, wondrous and generous aspects of writing for is that people will, for whatever reason, write about themselves in response to a piece that I’ve written. Yes, on occasion, some numbnut will attack me or my story or accuse me of bragging. They’re in the minority.

However, there are exceptions.

I wake up daily around 3 am, my body clock demanding that I get the hell out of bed and begin the day. I check my Medium responses, and I get this early Christmas gift which lit my butt on fire today:

I’m the eldest, I had four siblings, two sisters and two brothers, and one brother is left. After my second sister died when she was 17, I decided, “this is it, do something that is important to you, girl, there are no second chances”. I’ve rock climbed in Joshua Tree, rafted down the Grand Canyon, canoed in the Okee Swamp and the Boundary Waters, sea-kayaked in Roatan Island, snorkeled in Key West, sailed to the Outer Banks. Sometimes I was broke, and sometimes my back and knees yelled and screamed, but I did it.

I’m 60, and I still canoe, sea kayak and hike. You’re never too old, if your heart is willing. For me, it was about the destination, now, it’s all about the journey.

This piece landed from Becky Roehrs, who like so many of you fucking MADE MY DAY.

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It would be very difficult to express the level of joy and exaltation that I feel when you guys write this kind of thing to me. It’s a reminder that not only am I hardly alone out there doing epic shit, but that in a million other ways, people are pushing themselves, writing their own superb life novels, and living out loud.

When you and I write about what we do that makes us passionately happy, that erases our boundaries, we inspire others to do the same. We give others permission to fly. To me, this is the best Medium has to offer. Yesterday I read a smart, thoughtful piece about loyalty (it was right before I went to bed and I can’t find it again, dammit) and it shifted my ideas about my own misplaced loyalty to someone who doesn’t reciprocate. Such stories shove reality in my face. They force me to think, to consider, to challenge my own limited ideas of what I think I know. They are priceless.

These are the gifts we give to each other. This is where an online community shines- where we share, uplift, grace each other. People like Ann Litts and Avis Prede and so many of you who take the time out of your day to fire me a terrific note and remind me that someone is paying attention, reading, and that it’s meaningful. Your stories rock.

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For these kinds of articles, and for input from people like Becky, I am immensely grateful. To the man with severe scoliosis who went on to be come a competitive bodybuilder, DAMN MAN. For those of you in your late years who are juggling aching joints but still heading out to run, hike, explore and say no to the couch and the remote, BRAVO. For every single one of you who has graced my inbox with stories of your bravery, your willingness to rewrite your life script, you have no idea what that does. It is supremely satisfying to hear about you, and to be touched deeply by your willingness to challenge conventional wisdom. may have its issues (like, what happened to that promised extra $100 for stories the editors considered well-written? Yah). But this is where we shine, folks. You own your real estate, you take credit for what you do, you are unapologetic about your lives. This has nothing to do with being a braggart. You’re GRATEFUL.

And so am I. So am I.

Photo by Anton Darius | @theSollers on Unsplash