My Transgender Life: Not Then; Not When; the Magic of Now!

It has taken me a long time to live in the present and not get lost in my dreams of possible futures. I have learned that the universe truly does reward action, and the action must be taken by us.
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.....And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time....
-The Circle Game, Joni Mitchell

Photo courtesy of Simi Rabinowitz

The old year 2015 is ending and the New Year 2016 will soon begin. Like the Roman god Janus, we spend some time looking back at what has occurred in our lives -- the good; the bad; the opportunities not taken; and the blessings we received. Like the Roman god Janus we spend some time looking ahead at our dreams and wishes and if inspired enough, we may even set some goals for the future.

I know what it is like to have dreams and wishes without setting any goals, or planning to take any action. It has taken a long time to just learn from the past rather than to continue to live in it. It has taken me a long time to live in the present and not get lost in my dreams of possible futures. I have learned that the universe truly does reward action, and the action must be taken by us.

We can believe in magic, but we must be the magicians of our own lives! We must be the one to cast the spell, and wave our wands. We may be like the students at Hogwarts, where, as we are learning to do this, the outcomes are not quite what we wanted, but over time and repetition I dare say we learn to become more effective in our actions. We learn to initiate our spells, and we learn to adapt to the outcomes as they occur. This is the true wizardry and wisdom of life. No one can do it for us, and we each will learn it when we are ready.

There is truly magic in the present moment...the moment of NOW! This moment seems to fly by so quickly yet is always there! Once we can learn that the times of THEN and WHEN are nice places to occasionally visit we can enjoy this magic in each and every NOW. This is not a trick easily learned and even when it is learned is often forgotten. I often get trapped in the THEN and WHEN and have to work hard to find my way back to NOW.

However I have learned that every trip I make to my past or one of my possible futures has a lesson in it. Sometimes it takes me many trips to recognize the lesson and what I can do in the NOW once I learn it. Sometimes the lesson provides a clear call to action, and sometimes the lesson is a bit gentler and gives me a view of appreciation that I had lacked before. I would like to share one of these trips to THEN....


Looking back: 1959. It was the summer I was turning 12. Perhaps you might remember what an awkward age that is -- somewhere between being a child and a teenager. Puberty was beginning and I was clueless and confused as to all the inner feelings and battles going on. It was the last summer my parents sent me off to day camp. I fought so hard with my parents that I no longer wanted to go to the camp I had gone to the previous four years. They got it and we found a new camp that was in one of the "baths" in Coney Island. This was heaven! Each day after lunch the entire group got to go out on the boardwalk and spend time in the various arcades and rides. I loved playing skeeball, which I argued was a game of skill, and also rolling the balls on the electromechanical poker games. At 12 years old this felt so grown up.

However each trip ended at the carousel. Yes, the carousel had those painted ponies that went up and down, but it was much more than that. This was not a passive treat, but it was an active competition among all my friends in the group. Each time around there was an "arm" that held rings that could be grabbed if your pony was in the proper position and you were coordinated enough to lean over and grab and pull the ring out of the mechanism that held it. Most of the rings were a silver colored metal. If you were lucky and skilled you just might have the chance to catch a golden ring. Getting the gold ring entitled you to another free ride on the carousel and if you caught it, that it was better than getting any number of silver rings.


I know that my life has been so blessed and I have been so lucky. My painted ponies have and still do go up and down....up and down.... Yes, just like you, I am captive on the carousel of time.....but I have been lucky enough to catch a gold ring, and have been blessed to receive this free ride to live my truth, and learn the magic of NOW.

I hope that each of you capture your own gold ring. There are plenty for all!

Have a happy and wonderful New Year.


A giant and heartfelt thank you to all of you who have been reading and sharing my writings in 2015. Each week has been magical to me. Be True!


Grace Stevens is a transgender woman who transitioned at the age of 64 and holds a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology. She is a father of three, grandparent of two, athlete, advocate and author of No! Maybe? Yes! Living My Truth, an intimate memoir of her personal struggle to transition and live her true life authentically as a woman. Grace is available for speaking about authentic living with Living on-TRACK, and Gender Variance Education and Training. Visit her website at: Follow Grace on Twitter: .

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