Marcia Byalick

Antique clock

What’s Really Important is Time After 50!

I went in to buy a vacuum years ago and listened as the salesman tried to close a deal, assuring a woman my age that the appliance had a twenty-year guarantee. “I don’t care about that,” she answered. I felt sad for her. Last weekend the scene repeated itself verbatim when I went to purchase a new mattress. After a split second of recognizing “yep, that’s me now,” I flipped the message and bought the most luxurious mattress I’ve ever owned....

We’re Stable and It’s Good News!

The doctor called with my latest test results. “Your cat scan was stable.” she said. I was silent. My immediate reaction was that’s fine, serviceable, like propping up a wobbly table leg with a book of matches. “Everything OK?” she asked. Yes, everything was OK. OK is good, right? What was I expecting? What did I want her to say? Your cat scan was great? Yeah. Reason returned, however, as I contemplated the past year in the rear view mirror. The hardships we survived deepened my understanding of the word stable; its worth has appreciated a thousandfold....
Bulletin board

With a Little Help from My Friends

No one I know thrived this past year. We’ve all felt cheated and deprived and scared. That fickle finger of fate wagged at everyone and everything we hold dear. Yet my friends showed up, challenging the test of time, over and over and over again. My nurturers and cheerleaders expanded to include the children of my friends…and the friends of my children. COVID and cancer turned the writers in my weekly Zoom class into dear ones sending poetry and orchids and loving notes. I made myself small and hid under the silver lining they embodied, and rode out the storm....
young woman stand in the room open curtain see sunrise

A Jab of Hope

I’ve always prided myself on being a keen observer of human behavior. In pre-pandemic times, if you described a stressful situation, I believed I’d accurately predict how my friends will react. As we battle the gut wrenching COVID infection rates upending our world, I’ve been doing a deep dive into how those I know best are coping with its aftermath of anxiety and depression. Who would arrange all their hangers to go the same way. Who would read 20 books. Who would have the hardest time adjusting. How arrogant I was. Behavior during COVID times is hardly rational....
Magical autumn forest with sun rays

No Downside To Being An Optimist

At 10:00 on the night before Thanksgiving, two nurses walked into my room to say, without a trace of panic, that the ninth floor had to be evacuated to prepare for an influx of COVID patients. All seventeen of us were immediately to be transported to the fourth floor. Calmly and efficiently it took them ten minutes to maneuver my bed, my IV, and all my belongings thrown on top of the blanket, through silent hallways and down two elevators to my new room....

Last Call Before Surgery

In a few days I’m going in for six hours of abdominal surgery. My friends ask, are you worried? Not consciously. When I focus on the logistics, I fully trust those charged with taking care of me. Am I anxious? Not really. My hands are warm, my heartbeat regular, my stomach fine. That’s not to say I’m in a comfortable state. It’s the waiting, the anticipation that’s doing me in....

My Hair Piece

I had my head shaved two months ago after my first chemo treatment. Anticipating all kinds of horrifying ego pain…and excruciating first glances in the mirror…and traumatizing my dear ones by the reveal of my naked head… l am shockingly, weirdly, gratefully at peace with it. In a making lemonade out of lemons moment, I am free for the first time in memory of being at the mercy of a bad hair day equaling a bad day....
Woman watching TV

I’m Running Out Of Things To Watch

In April, the average viewer logged in 41 hours of TV time a week. That’s why we can’t remember April. Thankfully, just when we’re beginning to exhaust the programs we were dying to watch, summer offers us the opportunity to make some memories. As the option of watching a squirrel run up a tree competes with Anderson Cooper and Bea Arthur, I’m betting on the squirrel. At least until sports return....
Marcia Byalick

Marcia Byalick

Marcia's written three novels, three self-help books and dozens of essays for women’s magazines. She’s taught memoir writing, wrote for the Long Island section of The New York Times, and served as the content editor of beinggirl.com.