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Category: NEXT: An Empowerment Series

Attorney and life coach Susan Koenig guides, supports, and inspires you on the journey of creating a life you love.

Category: NEXT: An Empowerment Series

Attorney and life coach Susan Koenig guides, supports, and inspires you on the journey of creating a life you love.

Cold as Ice

The 15-year-old figure skater saw her Olympic dreams crushed into the cold ice before millions. After years of grueling practice and the sacrificing of a childhood to become perhaps the world’s best, she had failed. Not once, not twice, but multiple times during her final performance for the gold.  What greeted her upon completion was not a compassionate hug or a word of consolation, but a demand.   “Explain it to me, why?” the coach demanded.   In five words the coach seemed to ask:  Why couldn’t you just ignore the pressure?  Why weren’t you perfect?  Why did you have to be
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Queen for a Day

Would you like to be Queen for a Day?!” the show host called out to the audience of women. It was the start of reality TV in America. Each day our small black and white television was tuned in to see which of the four contestants had the most compelling story of hardship. She who garnered the greatest applause won. She was crowned, wrapped in a fur trimmed robe, and handed a bouquet of roses.   Mom, along with millions, was a regular viewer of Queen for a Day. With an eighth-grade education, eight children, and an often-unemployed alcoholic husband, she
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GRANDMA’S PRECIOUS CHILD

When Jayden lost her Grandma “B”—her trailblazing beloved role model for everything from community contribution to hiking in Croatia in your 80s—it hit hard. When Jayden and her fiancé get married this spring, they’ll be missing two other grandmothers, too. Both of Blake’s grandmas recently passed in a span of a few weeks.  Being age eligible for admission into this tribe of elders, I see the power of grandparenting regularly. Friends fill texts with adorable pictures of toddlers with saucer eyes and irresistible smiles. Pride appears in posts of kindergarten graduations, art exhibitions, and athletic competitions. The joy their children’s
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Kittens and Connections

Moonbeam and her sister Daisy Mae were born halfway through the second year of the pandemic. Darling fawn-colored kittens, they came from a cage with their sibs to a two-story home in which to race, romp, and rest.  They spend their days enjoying the back yard bird show from their respective chairs in the sunroom and in watchful waiting for one of us to walk through the door with the promise of supper. Evenings invariably involve one or both of them helping to complete the daily crossword puzzle while perched on legs outstretched on the recliner.  Sometime between lights out and morning light, I feel the gentle pressure of tiny paws atop the winter comforter making their way across my body. When on my back,
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Slow Season

It’s time. Time to get off that sofa bearing your imprint from those holiday hours with the remote. Time to put away the holly mugs, follow up on that FedX gift that never arrived, and lose your peppermint and peanut brittle poundage.  My silent admonition to get crackin’ runs a vague jingle of anxious energy through my body. I spot the stack of glittered cards with pop up penguins and heartwarming photos of friends with puppies and grandchildren in color coordinated outfits and feel the weight of unfulfilled intentions from the year gone by.  Some of us are wired to move slowly. Some to rush.  I lean toward the latter. I typically get eager to put my annual goals in writing and get going on the action plan.  But despite my thoughts
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It’s a Wonderful Life

Sparkling bright lights shine in neighborhoods across the city.  Happy hearts beat in anticipation as bows are peeled from packages. Loved ones reaffirm their booster status before big hugs of reunion. So much joy. And for many, so much sadness. Silent sorrows, surprise spikes of grief, or deep depression can befall us even as the universe implores us to deck the halls and be jolly. Lonely moments can strike in the middle of the office party or simply sitting with our siblings. As we look back on the year, we might question whether or not we have really made a difference, done enough, or even mattered. It’s no wonder that the move It’s a Wonderful Life is a holiday
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THE HEALER HEALS

Not being much of a worrier, I’d been more eager about his arrival home for the holidays than anxious about his winter drive from L.A. to Omaha. It’s a good thing I didn’t waste my worry. I’d be needing it soon enough.  The other driver crossed over the interstate median and hit his car head on. Benjamin opened his eyes to see the stars in the December sky and the flashing lights of emergency vehicles. His car was destroyed around his slender body now crushed on either side. Hours later, after the life flight to the trauma center and the shock worn off, he screamed in pain as they prepared his limbs for the surgeries to follow.   The holiday season became the hospital season.   Ever since he was a teenager, Benjamin has led a life of learning
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PICKING A FAVORITE

Which is your favorite?   We deny it’s possible. The parent of her children. The movie fan of films. The bibliophile of books. A clear preference demands comparison, and how do you compare a crème brulee to a chocolate pavlova? (Can you bring an extra plate so we can share, please?) Hopefully the other 11 months won’t take it personally if I pick one to top my list. Surely they know I love them all. There’s Joyful January when I’m ridiculously enthusiastic about grand goals.  Or Fabulous February when my romantic heart overflows and we celebrate five family birthdays. Oh, and
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Changing Colors

Back in Beantown to visit, a blue-sky morning invited me on a walk to see the fall foliage New England is famous for. I walked for miles.   I admired the muted purple hydrangeas. I bent over to sniff a lone white rose in front of the three story with gingerbread trim. I scanned each street in search of the yellows, oranges, and reds I’d remembered.   I applauded the small ivy-covered patches that passed for yards. I paused a pocket garden that I mused I could replicate.   It was autumn. But instead of the vibrant shades of favorite season, more flowers flourished than leaves fell.  The climate crisis was cleverly disguised.  Returning to Nebraska, the global news focused on Glasgow where world leaders debated and negotiated why some country other than their own should do more to put the brakes on the speedway to continued
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Reunion Inspiration

The 93-year-old former physicist didn’t make the trip. He was now living in Germany with his third wife, having outlived two. The former mayor of Durham did, however, as did the Harvard psychologist. Ann was tired from working on an immigration matter late into the evening before but coaxing from her classmate convinced her to overcome her shyness and join the celebration. I’d booked my flight from Omaha to Boston; booked before I had gotten my booster, but I knew we’d all be vaccinated. This was a group that had been thinking about others for decades. Since before the pandemic,
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