Thanks for visiting Almost Gracefully! I’m Lee Manale, a 50-something late bloomer figuring out that life really does get better with age. A native New Orleanian, I live in Savannah, Georgia and share the empty nest I call home with a guitar-playing husband, two dogs and a noisy little parrot named Louie. Some of my very favorite things, besides a couple of pretty incredible grown sons, include yoga, the smell of lavender, cozy bookstores, football, goofy dogs, spicy chai and dark chocolate.
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” – John Lennon
Just about everything in my life changed nine years ago when my 24-year marriage ended. It was a gut-wrenching time of upheaval, heartbreak… and self-discovery. For the first time in my adult life, I found myself making decisions based on what I wanted – and was shocked to realize I often had no idea what that was. So these middle-aged years have been a time of freedom and surprise for me. And while I haven’t done anything really outrageous – I still have the same stressful corporate job and old SUV – being able to chart my own course has led to some interesting things:
Buying my first house on my own, because I was afraid all those pets would get me evicted from my apartment
Learning to meditate, because my turbulent mind craves peace more than anything else
Becoming a yoga instructor, because I love it and want to share it with people
Going vegetarian, because I like animals too much to eat them
Throwing out my pencil skirts, pantyhose and pumps, because life’s uncomfortable — clothes shouldn’t be
Deciding a spotless house is overrated, because who has the time, really?
Taking a chance on love again, because finding your soul mate can happen at any age
“The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected” – Robert Frost
It’s a fascinating time for women my age. Even though our society is ridiculously youth-obsessed and gender inequality still exists, life is full of promise. We have so many options our mothers and grandmothers never imagined.
In my own quiet way, I’ve become stronger and more fulfilled than I ever could have been in my insecure younger days. And I’m on a mission to make the second half of my life more joyous and meaningful than the first.