I think the most recent revelation in this evolution has been in finding that I’m sincerely content to be where I am while at the same time looking forward to all the years yet to come. I’m actually excited for 50, though not wanting to miss a second of all the years in between.
This is in contrast to how I was living. Internally I felt that there just wasn’t time – everything had to be rushed and was eminent because life was in fast forward. While I always was one to “suck the marrow” from life, this frenetic, whirlwind living I think really started after September 11th. Time froze while at the same time I felt like it went into overdrive. I never got out of that gear – not really. Not internally. I was almost in a panic to do and see all that for which I hoped and planned. I knew my mortality and was putting all sorts of energy into racing against it.
Suddenly, though, I feel like I have time. I’m resting in knowing me; knowing I accomplish what I set out to do, so it will happen. In the mean time, I’m here. That’s kind of great. My mortality hasn’t changed, just my perspective on how to be with it.
There’s another level to this, too. It’s the whole thing about feeling and looking (and acting!) younger than I am... This has always been a fantastic thing in my book. (What woman doesn’t want to frequently be taken for 10 years younger than she is??) Now, however, I’m really quite proud and grateful to be my age. Because it took to here to be so grounded and solid in who I am. No thoughts of what others think or how my family might react. My perspectives and beliefs won’t be altered by other’s judgments... no matter how much I might love them.
Considering my world view is so far from my entire, very large and well loved, extended family as well as the community I was so vigorously involved in for my first 35 years of life – the only community I’ve known, in fact - that is an extreme statement. Their disagreements and judgments on my Weltanschauung won’t cause me to waiver from it. If I am very blessed, they might one day understand I haven’t left my faith – only expanded it. But I can’t concern myself with the reactions of others, positively or negatively, when it comes to this subject. I embrace and accept others where they are at... I don’t ask them to do it/think it/feel it my way. I try to meet them where they are at and hopefully I will grow by embracing and understanding them.
Now, to looking young... sure, it gets me in more places and gives me access to more people who wouldn’t normally talk to (or date!) someone my actual age, but I love what those extra years have brought me. Suffering.
Because it’s only when you come out on the other side of deep pain and loss, that engulfing kind of brokenness, that you know your true strength. You know how deep your courage runs. Your footing there is solid and unwavering. You know yourself utterly. And can rest in that.
When you get there, to that place of peace with the ever-present pain, you will find real joy and passion again (likely in fits and starts, but you will find it). In fact, it will be richer because of the freedom taming such a ferocious beast brings. You will be full.
What a miraculous place to be. Hooray for aging!