Birthday Angst

I am approaching a BIG birthday. Yes, it’s the one that’s noted in the title of this website. And, I cannot say the number. Most of my friends have already celebrated this particular birthday. Some of my friends are approaching the next decade! But, I am still shocked that I am this old. Not only that, but my husband and I are also celebrating our 35th anniversary! It should be a year of revelry and festivity, but I can’t get over THAT NUMBER!

Clearly, we don’t look or act like we thought we would at this age when we imagined ourselves in our 20s. We are in good shape, healthy, and have good heads on our shoulders. But, back then we seemed to know so much, questioned anyone over 30, and had the world at our fingertips. We felt invincible! We could do anything, go anywhere and be whatever we wanted! I am very much my parents’ daughter: an entrepreneur who has taken many risks. I raised three sons. They are sweet, smart, responsible and, in a world where there is still so much misogyny, I am proud that they are respectful of all people.

But, a little over a year ago, when our oldest son seemed to be recovering from a near fatal car accident, he died suddenly. We were devastated, grieving and lost in a world where we previously felt quite comfortable. We took many things for granted until the moment that our son/ brother/ grandson/ nephew/ amazing friend died. And then the world was turned upside down. We could barely breathe. We didn’t understand anything anymore. Any sense of invincibility that remained in my husband and me, and certainly our other two sons has dissipated in a cloud of uncertainty about anything and everything. We can barely figure out how to feed ourselves anymore, let alone make decisions about business or important life matters. Or figure out how to celebrate… anything.

And, now, we are approaching this age! THIS NUMBER! People ask us how we are commemorating these milestones, and we are coming up blank. We decided that we would start with finding and leaving beauty in odd places. We started the Felted Stones project (@feltedstones on Instagram) by placing beautiful and colorful felted stones in surprising and unexpected places. They are now all over the world, placed by friends who are excited to share our son’s legacy of astonishing and unanticipated public art. I have been an avid felt maker for many years and this is a nice offshoot of my passion.

I have made lovely gifts for some of the amazing people in our lives who have chosen to walk with us through this new and uncharted journey. The art is therapy for me and makes nice gifts, as well.

And now, a year later, we are trying to get back into the world by visiting art installations that are colorful and happy. It’s just one more step for us. It makes us smile. It helps us to process so many emotions. It takes us out of our comfort zone, but in a safe way.

Not everyone has this burden of grief to deal with as we approach big, difficult landmarks. But, we all do have challenging moments that stop us in our tracks and forever change our world. So, I am urging all of you out there to look at the world with different eyes. Look for the color in your world. Find inspiring art or nature wherever you are. We all need to see and embrace the pleasing, colorful, inspiring, awesome and motivating forces that are all around us!

Marcie Mehrman Ziskind

Marcie Mehrman Ziskind

Marcie Mehrman Ziskind engages in all things Crafty! She is the Owner and "Head Bisque in Charge" of The Expressive Hand paint-your-own-pottery Studio in Philadelphia, PA, where customers from all ages, walks of life, and for all occasions come to paint pottery, fuse glass and make mosaics with her. You can reach her at the studio at 267-519-2626, or check out their
Marcie Mehrman Ziskind

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