My Transgender Life: It No Longer Pays To Die

10/31/2016 01:32 pm ET Updated Nov 18, 2016

It has been a long time since I have purchased life insurance.

My kids are now all in their thirties and living their own lives. I have been divorced for fifteen years. Oh, and as you probably know by now, I began living as my true authentic self five years ago.

The key word above is “living!”

At this stage of my life, being sixty-nine years old, “living” is taking on new meaning to me. It is now much more of a verb – you know, an action word, and one that I am in command of, rather than how I spent so much of my life, with “living” being something that just happened to me, or in some sense, just being victim of the life that happened to me.

Sure, things totally out of my control happen to me all of the time. In fact, I now understand how little control of most things I ever truly have. I am sure each of you can relate to that. My tech job ended in 2013, and no matter how much I tried, I found it impossible to find another one, even though my skills, knowledge and abilities were as strong as ever. When I went to the organization that was supposed to help people re-write resumes and such, one of the lessons they provided was how to deal with the “Terrible Too’s.” This was to teach us how to answer questions about being too experienced, too qualified, or too old. In my case even with the few interviews I managed to get, I suspect I was also too trans.

Be that as it may, I still had my part time job as a counselor in a substance abuse clinic. Yes, I had already learned that life was going to be a series of reinventions, no matter how long I would live. So, I worked part time and then claimed my social security benefits that in some sense now gave me a new identity as a retiree. This still does not sound or feel correct as I find myself much too busy to fit what I always believed that term would mean.

...

It would have been easy to be a victim of my situation, very easy. I would be lying if I claimed that there weren’t those moments of taking a deep dive into a place of darkness. Luckily I learned that these were never one-way trips, and the roller coaster would always find the path to see the light.

As I continue to roll through the ups and downs of my life, I seemed to have changed in many different ways. I find it interesting that I am even quite aware that not only does change happen sometimes without notice, but that I seem to be able to accept it and roll with it, which means I do not obsess on letting go, or who I might have been a moment earlier. To others, this might appear inconsistent or unreliable.

Perhaps it is my personal entropy – or increasing disorder - by letting go of control or a feeble attempt to keep my life in some repeatable order. What I do know, is that each of these moments of observation and willingness to change direction at a moment’s notice is now coupled with a sense of gratitude, that by being true to myself, and not having to hide my truth or know what will happen next, has freed so much anxiety and fear of what will happen next.

...

It has taken me so many years to reach this point where each new road, and each new moment is an opportunity for an adventure without any preconceived notion, plans or expectation attached. I find myself in an almost constant state of wonder at the mixing and matching of the people I meet, and the conversation that follow.

I seem to have left any demands on this thing called life somewhere and some time in the past. By doing this it also allows me to let go of any demands on this thing called life on anything that may occur somewhere or some time in the future. I have come to a point where I no longer need any insurance to protect me from fears of what may happen. I like the fact that I seem to have reached the point where I have assurance that what will happen will be OK with me.

I have learned that the real payment of life is to live, and live fully and in gratitude of each moment I may have. When all my moments have been totaled, I will be happy and in gratitude of them all. At least I hope I will.

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Grace Anne Stevens inspires people to find their truth and live their authentic life! She is the author of No! Maybe? Yes! Living My Truth, and Musings on Living Authentically. Grace is available for speaking to all groups who would like to learn the values of, and how to live authentically. Visit her website at: http://www.graceannestevens.com/. Follow Grace on Twitter: www.twitter.com/graceonboard .

Grace has been selected as an Amtrak Residency writer for 2016, and will be traveling around the USA in the spring of 2017 while sharing her experiences on the rails

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