Aging Gracefully,  SURVIVAL & HEALING,  Uncategorized

Life Half Over? Or Is Life Just Starting? Thoughts on Aging

I have so many thoughts on aging these days. As each birthday approaches I start wondering, is life half over or just staring? 

I love reading the Wild Woman Sisterhood posts that are on my Facebook screen almost daily. They resonate with me! I have never been one to conform to the fads or the norms.

My Childhood Dreams

My childhood was on the tails of the hippie movement.  We watched the older sisters of my best friends walk out the door with their hippie beads around their necks and their bell bottoms and halter tops.  My soul surrounded itself with folk songs, black lights, beads hanging from my room, incense and people who felt the same as I did. 

It’s Who I Am

Even in grade school I was the one who would be in charge of the “ecology” projects. We would go out on Saturdays and pick up litter along the streets. I cried uncontrollably when the field of wildflowers and the tree that I loved to climb were torn away to make a subdivision. Picking up bugs and taking them outside instead of stepping on them was part of me that came natural. It was just who I was. 

 

Aging and Searching

As I grew older, I watched my beautiful Mother leave for a modeling job with perfect hair, perfect makeup and gorgeous clothing. She enrolled me in modeling school. I won awards. She enrolled me in her ballet school.  I was told that I had the perfect body to be a ballerina.  But I continued to search for who I truly was. I didn’t want to follow in my Mother’s shadow. 

No Thanks!

No thanks.  I was a Wild Woman.  My face was free of makeup and my hair was worn very long and straight… with a head band around my forehead.  The closet consisted of  bell bottoms and halter tops, ponchos and Dr. Scholl’s clogs. 

Hidden Parts of Me

After I married and had a family, those parts of my life went away. Or I should say, I thought they went away. What I didn’t realize was they were just hidden deep inside. I conformed to the life I had chosen. Life consisted of being a wife and a mother. Eventually I dressed the part, attending all school functions, and little league games. Also, I gave up my art, worked a full time job while finishing college, shopped for professional clothing and bought makeup! The list goes on.

Always Searching

I gave all of myself to my family and my job, giving so much that there was never anything left for me. There were years and years feeling as though there was a part of me that was missing. But I could never put my finger on it. I read self help books, attended retreats, faithfully went to therapy sessions and still – a small piece of emptiness lingered.  As I was aging, was my life half over or was the best still to come?

Who Was I?

A period came where I divorced my husband, my kids moved out and all of a sudden the woman that everyone needed was alone. What was I if they didn’t need me anymore? Who was I? 

More therapy and more searching ensued.  During a meditation one day, I was in total stillness and it hit me. The part of me that was my true self was not gone. It was just hidden. I had pushed it down so far that it had struggled for years to re-bloom.  Those photos of plants breaking through concrete always resonated with me. At that point of meditation… my soul was seen as one of those plants finally cracking the surface of the concrete that had been poured over it for so many years. 

I have finally found myself again and I know who I am and what I love.  Creativity is coming alive again. I am re-creating myself  as well as slowly creating my art.

Fear Is Now Setting In

BUT I am also feeling the aches and pains of getting older. My body isn’t working the same anymore.  Thoughts turn to fear. Fear of aging, fear that I wasted all of those years neglecting myself. There is a sadness that life is half over and what have I done with it!

Yes, I raised two amazing children. Working at a university all of those years I was able to finish my degree. I survived two unhealthy marriages. The first half of my life was eventful, painful, amazing, happy, sad and exhausting.  

Fearing The Second Half

Why do I fear the second half? I’ve done the hard part. The hard lessons and hurdles have been overcome. My children and grandchildren are amazing. My partner is good to me. He is a man who is not afraid to look at his own mistakes and try to learn from his past. The feeling of co-dependency has been tackled. My soul is happy whether I am with someone or alone. What more can a woman ask for? 

So when I am told that I will need a hip replacement soon, and my foot hurts when I am on it too long, and my post menopausal body retains weight easier, it’s not as easy to see the second half of my life as GOOD!

When I get caught up in these fears, the universe has a way of sending me little reminders that life is not over just because I am pushing 60!

The Wild Woman Sisterhood Reminds Me

Today I get this post on Facebook.  I am going to print it off and read it as often as I can, to remind myself that it’s time to let go and be free and do amazing things. 

It’s time~~

There comes a day, somewhere in the middle of every woman’s life, when Mother Nature herself stands behind us and wraps her arms around our shoulders, whispering.
“It’s time.”

“You have taken enough now. It’s time to stop growing up, stop growing older and start growing wiser – and wilder.

There are adventures still waiting on you and this time you will enjoy them with the vision of wisdom and the companionship of hindsight, and you will really let go.

“It’s time.”

It’s time to stop the madness of comparison and the ridicule of schedule and conformity and start experiencing the joys that a life, free of containment and guilt, can bring.”She will shake your shoulders gently and remind you that you’ve done your bit. You’ve given too much, cared too much, you’ve suffered too much.

You’ve bought the book as it were and worn the t-shirt. Worse, you’ve worn the chains and carried the weight of a burden far too heavy for your shoulders.

“It’s time” she will say.

“Let it go, really let it go and feel the freedom of the fresh, clean spaces within you. Fill them with discovery, love and laughter. Fill yourself so full you will no longer fear what is ahead and instead you will greet each day with the excitement of a child.” She will remind you that if you choose to stop caring what other people think of you and instead of caring what you think of you, that you will experience a new era of your life you never dreamed possible.

‘It’s time’ she will say…

“to write the ending, or new beginning, of your own story.”~

Author: Donna Ashworth

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Enough Said!

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