Last week, I sat down with a writer friend and we chose to write in response to one of Laura Davis’ writing prompts: What Age Has Brought Me.
Thanks for the inspiration, Laura!
I am at the younger end of the baby boomer generation. In my youth, I was an athlete – cross-country running, long jump and high jump. Oh, how I miss the agility, stamina, and strength of my young body! Especially now, as my knee joints ache, my hip flexors contract and a few toes turn numb for no reason any doctor or physical therapist has been able to identify. I don’t run anymore, but I am still grateful for long walks.
My 30s, 40s, and early 50s were intellectual power years building on my education and marinating it with the experience and realities of working in my field as a psychologist.
Age has introduced me to other ways of knowing – intuition and its many disguises starting with a knowing that enters through my feet grounding on earth, then works its way through my muscles, guts,and heart, and afterwards settles somewhere in the familiar territory of the brain.
Age has brought me to the door step of patience and trust that matters will somehow be resolved even without my meddling. This doorstep, this threshold – I haven’t quite stepped over it with full conviction but each year nudges me closer.
Age has muddled what I thought was a well defined line between right and wrong and has blurred and twirled that line depending on which side of the river I stand or whose eyes I am looking through. This has not made life any easier but perhaps a bit less judgmental.
“Truth is one, paths are many” is the motto engraved everywhere you turn in Yogaville (an ashram in Buckingham, Virginia) where I spent a bit of time recently. It’s a consolation of sorts while I still swipe the dangling vines out of my way and find my footing on this uneven path called my life.
Age has introduced me to the adventures of inner travels replacing the trips to other countries I used to take when I was younger. Inner travels avoid the need to pack, spend long hours in airports, exchange dollars into foreign currency and leaving just when you learned to say a few phrases in another language. Inner travels sometimes require a different language as well which unravels its layers of meaning with time and focus. Inner travels avoid the disappointment of throngs of other tourists at favorite sites, or the strain of travel companions not matched to my own interests or temperament.
Inner travels command their own seasons, create their own weather and itineraries. They may take me into the past, revisit people and places that may no longer exist in this reality, observe myself interacting in ways that can make me cringe now. Inner travels send me back to times of decision making and make me wonder how my life would have changed if only…..then knowing that I made the right decision no matter what because it brought me to now, this place, this time, this way of being me.
Inner travels can project me forward into the future, perhaps to prepare for an important meeting or conversation that can address misunderstandings, resentments, hurt feelings and either end a relationship or send it on a deeper path.
Inner travels take me to meetings with guides who drop me into a more profound level of understanding, sometimes with one leading question or succinct comment.
Inner travels help me plan my next steps or add sparks of creativity to a project.
Age has brought me closer to tolerating boredom when nothing seems to be happening. That period of waiting for the next train to arrive (so to speak) is the perfect time to practice mindfulness and listening to the wind.
So, yes, I am grateful to the years that have made me who I am. I don’t want to be any younger, I just want my knees to stop hurting.