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    Embracing My 77th Birthday and Moving Forward By Kathleen M. Rehl

    By Kathleen M. Rehl, Ph.D., CFP®, CeFT®


    In the tapestry of time, I recently completed the 77th chapter of my life, surrounded by warmth of about the same number of heartfelt notes, cards, phone calls, digital “likes,” and messages wishing me a happy birthday. The outpouring of love from friends and family became a symphony, playing a sweet melody of gratitude and connection.


    Reflecting on this milestone, optimism blooms within me, painting a vivid picture of the year ahead that will be my 78th journey around the sun. Life is a wonderful adventure, and its beauty becomes more apparent every year.


    Why am I so looking forward to what lies ahead? The answer lies in the pillars supporting my life’s adventure, especially since I’m in fourth-quarter living—relationships, purpose, wellness of body, mind, spirit, and money, plus playful fun.




    Surrounded by friends and family, life takes on a richer hue. Their love and presence are the true treasures that make each day brighter. Celebrating my 77th birthday was a collective acknowledgment of shared moments and enduring connections I prize. Although some of these precious people live a thousand or more miles away, we stay close in our hearts. 




    Every morning I wake up enthused about some professional or personal activity. Guided by purpose, I have a happy reason to get out of bed with a smile and, as my great-grandmother would say, “Get cracking!” It’s fulfilling to write a story for publication, mentor a new widow, teach a class on legacy writing, help my grandson write his first book, assist a nonprofit in growing their endowment, bake a chocolate Bundt cake to share with neighbors, facilitate a family reunion, and the list continues. I believe purposeful living will enhance my longevity, and research supports me there.


    Wellness of body, mind, spirit, and money


    The synergy between body, mind, spirit, and financial well-being forms a critical foundation for my thriving. The harmony allows me to savor each day’s adventures, knowing I can navigate challenges resiliently.


    Playful Fun


    This area of life isn’t my strong suit, as I grew up working very hard. So now I make a point of scheduling times for playful fun because it’s important. Laughter in the air, moments of sheer joy—these threads will weave the fabric of a life well-lived. Embracing playfulness will help keep my heart young and my spirit vibrant. 


    As I blew out the candles of my 77th year, they flickered brightly, symbolizing the passing of time and the ignition of dreams and aspirations for what’s ahead. Gratitude fills my heart as I stand at the threshold of the future, hand in hand with the gift of life.


    Here’s to embracing the joy of my 78th chapter ahead, to more laughter, purposeful strides, and the beauty of shared moments. With its twists and turns, life is an adventurous journey worth celebrating at every step. So, with optimism as my compass, I embrace what lies ahead, ready for another year of adventure, growth, and the simple joys that make life truly extraordinary.

    Imagine you have this prized copper and crystal magic wand. With it, you can have your wish for an ideal year ahead. What would that look like for you?

    Kathleen M. Rehl, Ph.D., CFP®, CeFT® wrote the award-winning book, Moving Forward on Your Own: A Financial Guidebook for Widows. She owned Rehl Financial Advisors for 18 years, followed by an encore career empowering widows. Now “reFired,” Rehl writes legacy stories and assists nonprofits. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger’s, CNBC, and more. She’s an adjunct faculty at The American College of Financial Services. As a zesty Boomer practicing positive aging, she gratefully continues to create and contribute . . . happily using her skills and experiences to encourage others to live their best lives. Her website is