January 2021. Was that Trump’s exit? No curtain call, please.

photo by Andy Feliciotti from Unsplash.com

It is the end of January, 2021. Is it in the end of Trump? In five months, exactly 25 weeks from today, I turn 50 years old. I just passed the halfway point of my one-year Countdown to 50. This month I find myself chewing on the middle of the things. The middle is not the same as half. It is hard for me to separate my own panic at turning 50 from my panic with the Trump years. I was 46 years old when the 45th president insulted his…


Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unsplash

Last year at this time, I was obsessed with the idea of 2020 being a new decade of Vision. It was built in the name. 20. 20. I bought a photo album to put newly pasted collages of inspiration. I pulled the NY Times card-stock travel pamphlets from the recycling. While I had no intention of going on a River Cruise, I carefully scissored around the photos of reflective river sunsets, and kept images of pristine champagne glasses. I stuffed envelopes with words, “Alluring.” “Sumptuous.” “Bounce Back.” I cut through models’ faces to keep the letters Y, O, U, to…


Irene Joy’s handwritten poems pictured on iPhone

A quarter of the year has passed since I started my countdown to my 49th birthday. It all seems silly- this counting, but I made a commitment to do it, and I will honor my commitment. A quarter of the year has passed, 18 weeks have come and gone. A full season of summer heat that lingered well into October has finally ushered in autumn shivers. It is November. Unlike the changing seasons, Covid-19 is not changing, only growing, and all the family is home.

I made a monthly commitment to countdown, record, and celebrate the passing of time in…


Bubby with her flowers, 2015

Irene Joy Caplan ( June 10, 1944 - September 22, 2020)

Irene compiled these hand written poems in a little booklet in 1988. When she wrote them she was in her forties and mourning the loss of her first son, Chuck, who died as a teenager after battling cancer. Her youngest son, Ted, is my husband. I knew Irene, as Bubby, a proud mom and grandma. I found these poems amid a pile of photo albums after she died in September 2020. I like to think of myself as a champion for women writers and artists. I wish I knew…


What If I Tell Myself 50 Positive Things I need to Hear

photo from Kirsten’s iPhone, “The leaves above my head”

“It took many years of vomiting up all the filth I’d been taught about myself, and half-believed, before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here.” James Baldwin

I read that the average American views 5,000- 10,000 ads a day. I find it so hard to believe. I cannot conceive of that many ads. I avoid them. The average American doesn’t “see” the ads, that is the challenge for businesses. Thus, advertisers create more ads. But what about the…


Do you have an inner “con” man? My inner con woman tells me to conform; to stay safe, stay silent, and not write. Women writers, please help me defy her.

The little lies I tell myself are invisible. I can’t see them, so I pretend they don’t exist. The little lies I tell myself whisper and shout in between my ears…. Don’t do it. Don’t share with the world what you feel or what you think. Don’t be different. Keep it all to yourself. Then no one will hurt you. Sometimes the little lies tell me, what I keep to…


I woke up to my whiteness at 45 years of age. At 47, I started a countdown. Two years have passed, I am now 49 years old.

It is my birthday. I’m 49 years old and now am counting down, 12 months, 52 weeks until the big 5-0. I am challenging myself to write and post on Medium every month of my countdown. Month 12, Week 48. Here it is. I’ll start with a little reflection of why I started a countdown when I was 47 years old.

I have always felt a bit of late bloomer. In my twenties, plenty of friends had marriage and settling down on their minds but for me that felt way too early. I was recovering from my childhood. I always…


Celebrating Mother’s Day with 2020 vision on my priorities

photo taken with an iPhone by Kirsten Laurel

June 2018: I decided to leave the drama classroom and pursue my own theatre projects. There was a play and a solo show I wanted to write. I tried to avoid thinking I was a “stay at home mom” and more like a “stay at home artist.” The days were nothing like what I imagined. The family wanted to be heard and the home wanted to be clean. Both seemed to eat my time up and tug me away from creating.

After 18 months, neither project was finished.

My “stay at…


Grocery Shopping vs. Online Home School — the new Parent Dilemnia amidst Covid-19

It’s the beginning of Week 3 of Covid-19 Social Distancing. Day 15 at home.

Monday, March 30, 2020, it will be me who will brave Trader Joe’s. My husband just got some work, so he needs to stay home. For the past two weeks we have benefitted from his forward thinking and online shopping. We have essentials. My 80 year Dad has been living in the moment and now has a grocery list. My husband and I deliberate on which store and decide it will be Trader…


This Christmas I sang two songs with my Dad- it was pleasantly unpredicatable.

Kirsten and Kirk, father and daughter, at the Studio City Unitarian Church Christmas Party

Every December, one cannot escape a full month of Christmas music and three Hanukkah songs. My reactions to holiday music have become predictable. Every year, I have at least one moment of complete disgust. I am either in a mall or a grocery store when a pop Christmas song plays at full volume. Instantly I remember being twenty years old, working at Pier 1 over the holidays and having to listen to the recorded “fa la la la” music repeatedly during a shift. I will feel distain…

Kirsten Laurel Prather Caplan

Former Theatre and Diversity and Inclusion teacher, is currently writing and incorporating her best teaching to her own life.

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