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Meet the Author Behind the “Anonymous” I Want to Age Like Sea Glass Poem

Are you admiring sea glass on the beach this summer? Meet the woman who saw an apt metaphor for life in the lovely stones and wrote a poem for her sister that went viral.

Editor’s Note: This month, when many of you (we hope) are spending time on a beach, we want to remind you to keep an eye out for sea glass and to remember this poignant and fitting poem by Bernadette Noll. Here, we republish our story about the author.

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When Bernadette Noll grew up vacationing with her family at the New Jersey shore, her sister Alma had always loved sea glass. That was what she was thinking about in 2014 when she spent the day at a beach, three years after her sister had died at the age of 57. “ I found a tiny piece of blue sea glass, which made me think of her and how her growing old was thwarted,” Noll says. 

“I kept that glass in my pocket for weeks, and one day the thought just hit me: I want to age like sea glass. It isn’t sharp or jagged. It is lovely in whatever shape you find it, and the more it has been tossed around the more lovely it is! Alma’s death really tossed me around and so, as I wrote, I thought of how even though she was no longer here on this earth, still she acted as my guide.”

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The Sea Glass Poem Gets Very Popular

Meet the Author Behind the "Anonymous" Sea Glass Poem | NextTribe

Bernadette Noll and her sister Alma. Image: Bernadette Noll/Facebook

Noll published the sea glass poem on her website and Huffington Post, and recently it began popping up everywhere—attributed to “Anonymous.” She even saw it printed on a dressing-room door!

I was thinking, ‘How dare they?’ But it was being shared by so many women! Once word spread that it was my poem, I was getting notes and messages from all over the globe, thanking me. So then, how could I be upset?”

The popularity of the sea glass poem has another benefit. While searching online, Noll found a store in Florida that had posted an image of the poem, and together they will now create a line of cards and posters with it and she’ll receive royalties.  “I feel good about that,” she says, “as well as my work impacting so many women with the idea of being better because of age, not in spite of it! It speaks to our resilience.”

And on that note, Noll adds a little more inspiration: “Surround yourself with people who see you and appreciate you. Create or find a women’s group. Walk away from those who don’t value you.  I am lucky to have my women’s group which is now in its 14th year. It’s never too late to find your people! NextTribe is a perfect way to do this!”

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Here is Noll’s wonderful poem:

I want to age like sea glass. 

Smoothed by tides, not broken. 

I want to ride the waves, go with the flow and feel the impact of the surging tides.

When I am caught between the rocks and a hard place, I will rest. 

And when I am ready, I will catch a wave and let it carry me where I belong.

I want to be picked up and held gently by those who delight in my well-earned patina, 

And appreciate the changes I went through to achieve this luster.

I want to enjoy the journey and let my preciousness be, not in spite of the impacts,

But because of them. 

I want to age like sea glass.

A version of this story was originally published in August 2019. 

By Janet Siroto

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