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Birthday Present

Posted Apr 10 2010 12:00am

This year I turned 50.

Should I be admitting that?

It seems appropriate since I am often challenging individuals in our program to accept, celebrate, and empower themselves no matter where they are in life.

I am working to accept my birthday and my new age. One thing I have discovered--describing that I am now half a century old makes me feel a whole lot older. So the first point of this blog is to consider that the way we describe things can influence how we feel about them. I do better saying (and working to believe) that I am fabulous fifty rather than harried and creaky half-century.

The other aspect related to my birthday is much more fun to talk about--my birthday present. My husband bought me--drum roll, please--a goat. Now many of you may be wondering--a goat? Believe me I have been asked many questions about this. Here's the short version of the story. Much of my youth was spent in South Dakota. We had many animals including goats. We even had to bottle feed some of the babies. I became very attached to goats.

So this year, my husband decided to get me my very own goat. It took a great deal of work. He had to find a farm with goats that would be willing to board the goat and allow me to come and visit. He found a fabulous woman, Jan, who raises goats and makes goat milk soap. Jan lives close by so I am able to visit a few times a week. My daughter and I tremendously enjoy our trips to the barn. It is actually very relaxing to be surrounded by the smell of hay with goats maa-ing for attention. Goats are curious, sweet, and my baby goat falls asleep in my lap every time I hold her.

So why talk about my goat?

The main reason is related to the quizzical looks I get when I mention my goat. This is not a present most people would want to receive but I was thrilled. Each of us can, at times, have dreams or interests that other people just don't understand. If we worry about peoples' reactions, we have the risk of missing something fun in our lives.

I have had people not understand my drive to write. If I had listened to them and not pursued writing, I would have missed out on some of the most enjoyable experiences of my life. If my husband had stuck with the more "normal" view that owning a goat is slightly wacky, I wouldn't have my beautiful Nubian.


  • Are there interests or dreams that you are not allowing yourself to pursue because of fears about others' reactions? Now I am not talking about your eating disorder. Consider that, perhaps, your eating disorder is helping to numb frustration and disappointment related to creative  passions that you would like to pursue but which are being discouraged. Journal about your interests.

    • I am interested in.....

    • I love.....

    • What I would love to do in my life is......

  • Journal about where you would like to be in the future and what you would like to be doing.

  • Make the 100 list that we have discussed before. Developed by Kathleen Adams, you make a list of your interests. Repeat any item as often as you want. Then look back over the list to discover what interests show up most often. That helps you understand areas and interests that you might like to develop in your life. (Again, we are not looking to enhance your eating disorder--but to empower your true passions and goals in life.)

  • Consider also the way you look at things. I could look at turning fifty--positive or negative. How do you view yourself and things in your life? Can you bring a positive instead of negative spin to events?

  • Try journaling to discover dreams in your life. It might be related to owning a goat (but probably not). But it might be a dream that not everyone in your life will completely understand. Yet it might be a dream that is important to you.

So go, Write On! And discover your dreams.


Martha Peaslee Levine, MD

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