Aging can be both disappointing and exhilarating.
We mourn the loss of youth we thought would never end..
In doing so, we embrace the reality that physical well- being is no longer something we can take for granted.
The visage we saw in the mirror for so many years is morphing into a slightly altered, somewhat unfamiliar version of us.
There are wrinkles and sagging skin, soft jaw lines, and
body parts that are no longer where they used to be.
Many older family members have died,
as well as some friends .
Children have grown.
Some of us are grandparents and
some of us are not.
There is no ultimate future but our disappearance from the planet.
That’s the bad news.
Even with all this change, upheaval and being confronted with our mortality,
why am I happier and feel more free than ever before?
It’s an interesting question and I have thought about it a lot.
I am divorced,
after spending thirty years together.
In my mind, I already had the end of that storyline planned &
it included :”til death do us part”.
That is always a mistake-
to think you know how something will end
or what will happen in the future.
But I am happy,
because I chose to accept my new life
and make the most of it.
My son is grown, married and doing quite well.
I am no longer required to orchestrate his life,
prepare his meals, take him to practice,
lecture him or bring him home for weekends from school.
Even though we never stop being mothers,
our roles change drastically when they are grown..
Now, I am relieved of being the mother to a growing boy
because a man has taken his place.
I am enjoying the new relationship we now have- as adults.
I sold the house , moved back to my hometown and
I am living in a house with my cousins .
I no longer have the responsibility for my own home.
I don’t really want to own anything anymore.
I live on the third floor in a quiet space with my own porch .
I never saw that coming…. in a million years!
I feel safe and happy there.
I have given up a lot of my possessions, because of space.
What I didn’t expect was how liberating that would be.
I don’t want to be responsible for “stuff” any longer.
I feel lighter.
After 50 years of working, I have retired.
My volunteering opportunities
allow me to do some good in the community.
And that makes me truly happy.
I see my best friends on Friday mornings.
We all sit by a beautiful creek and waterfall
in the sun
until we run out of food and things to talk about .
Every now and then we hop in someone’s car
and drive to the beach for the day.
These women have become the sisters I never had.
We appreciate and love each other just as we are.
Too bad all relationships couldn’t be this easy.
Slowing down allows us to embrace the richness of life
and gives us the time to savor it.
The one lesson I have learned is that you can’t ever make everyone happy!
I never really had the time to think about who I was-
what I needed to be happy.
I was just happy if I was making someone else happy.
I felt trapped inside the expectations of others
and my own expectations of perfection.
Now that is gone , as well.
There are no external expectations because quite honestly,
the only approval I seek now, is my own.
I no longer expect perfection because I know it is not attainable.
That is the way it always should have been- but it wasn’t.
I was raised to be a people pleaser
and to quote Glennon Doyle, the author of “Untamed”:
“When I became people pleaser, I lost myself”.
I was lost to myself for many years and at first when I gave up the identity of wife, designer, business owner etc……
I was panic stricken. What would I be if I wasn’t all those things.
Who would I be?
It took a while and some work, but now
I am pretty satisfied with me, with who I am and what I have done.
And I am in this totally new, liberating phase of my life.
I feel like me -maybe fully for the first time.
I like being alone and I need a lot of that.
I am grateful for all the lessons of my life & every mistake I made.
Because I learned from all of it.
Life is simple, if you let it be.
I am free of all the roles I played,
of the expectations of others and
of judging myself and being judged.
Now I accept what is.
There is no better strategy than that, my friends.
If you can find happiness and peace no other way,
you will find it when you
ACCEPT WHAT IS. .
Don’t be afraid of change.
Don’t just accept it. Embrace it…
as if you had planned it for yourself.
Take each day as it comes, be grateful,
enjoy the hell out of it and do not worry about the future.
It will come but you can’t really control it, so why try.
Sometimes, I think Forrest Gump’s mother was right:
“We are all just floating around like a feather on the breeze.”
And to that I say :
Let life take you where it pleases.
You can be happy…… no matter what comes.