Announcing the Winner of our “Life Begins @ 50” Contest.

March 15, 2024

Announcing the Winner of our “Life Begins @ 50” Contest.

May 29, 2023

Chip's Editorial Comment: As many of you know, we’ve offered anyone from 48-54 the ability to win a free 3-night private birthday celebration and workshop at our new Santa Fe ranch campus based upon their approximately 500-word essay on why life begins at 50. We had over 150 entries with some (including the winner) offering persuasive social media reasons about why they should be selected. Congratulations to Gabrielle Pelecci who turns 50 on August 1 and will be celebrating with 7 of her friends in Santa Fe, NM. Here’s her essay and Instagram reel below. We’ll be sharing some of the other essays over the next few weeks. Keep MEA in mind when you’re considering a landmark birthday as it’s a great way to bond with friends and have life-changing conversations.

Midlife had always loomed over me like an impending storm. It wasn't just a milestone; it was a marker of fear and doom. Both my parents had passed away relatively young—my mother at 52 and my father at 62. Until recently, I had resigned myself to the notion that my time on this earth would be short-lived. 

As a young adult, I threw myself into life with wild abandon. I accelerated through school, traveled to 50 countries, lived mostly out of a suitcase doing remote work. While my peers settled down, I avoided relationships that could ground me or prevent me from fulfilling my bucket list. I was racing against the clock and nothing could stop me. 

Until I crashed.  

Just before the world was plunged into chaos by a global pandemic, I found myself facing a trifecta of misfortune. First, I lost my job—a blow that rocked the precarious foundation I had built for myself. Then, like a cruel twist of fate, I found myself without a place to call home. And if that weren't enough, I also lost the love of my life. Desperate for some kind of relief, I turned to plant medicine for healing. 

Somehow, amidst the chaos and uncertainty, I found a flicker of resilience within me—a stubborn refusal to be defined by my circumstances. After a series of life-changing experiences, I realized that I had persevered against all odds and I still had a lot of life left to live. 

A few weeks before my 49th birthday, I stumbled upon a house that would alter the course of my life. Nestled in a quaint neighborhood, it stood as a beacon of hope and stability. Without hesitation, I made the decision to purchase it, signing a 30-year mortgage—a commitment that felt monumental in its significance. 

For the first time in my adult life, I felt a sense of coming home. Just because my parents had made premature departures did not mean that I would face the same fate. At that moment, I realized that I had something very important to take care of and that I was going to stick around to do it. 

And so, on the eve of my 50th birthday, I find myself in a place I never imagined possible. Despite the hardships and heartaches, I stand taller and stronger than ever before. I am more content and at peace with myself, having learned to find joy and fulfillment in the simple pleasures of life. And yes, even in matters of the heart, I find myself renewed with a sense of optimism and possibility, knowing that love, like life itself, continues to surprise and delight me. 

As I embark on the fourth act of my life, I do so with a renewed sense of purpose and a steadfast determination to make every moment count. I am grateful for the challenges that have shaped me, for the blessings that have sustained me, and for the unwavering belief that tomorrow is a new beginning.

-Gabrielle

And, here’s Gabrielle’s Instagram reel. @drgabbypelicci 

Chip and Gabrielle at the SXSW conference in Austin just after she found out she’d won the contest and just before Chip gave his speech. 

Gabrielle Pelicci, Ph.D. has been a University Professor of Holistic Health since 2007. She completed her doctoral work in Transformative Studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies, with additional degrees in Psychology and Educational Technology from Columbia University. During her 20+ year career, Dr. Gabby has taught hundreds of students and clients proven strategies for positive change in life and work. For the past decade, Gabrielle has also been a sought-after business consultant for wellness startups in education, media and hospitality and her first book, All This Healing is Killing Me, came out last year.

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