Here we are in a new year……2021. I write those numbers amazed at how quickly the years have gone by. How quickly my own years have gone by.
How did I get to be this old? When did that happen? I remember my father looking in the mirror and asking, only half in jest, “who is that old man in the mirror?” I now understand what he meant. The mirror does not reflect what I feel inside, who I see when I look inside myself. And yet…the mirror shows me the signs of time passing. I can still see who I was, but it is interesting that others don’t recognize her when I may show them pictures of my younger self. How can they not see it is the same person, that it is me that they are looking at? Our bodies change, our internal image….not so much. My body has spread, sagged, grown wrinkles, and slowed down some. My memory is not as sharp, nor is my vision or hearing. I can get overwhelmed by all the new technology and am thrilled when I actually learn new things, figure them out, and use them (though slowly, I must admit).
And yet, I am grateful for the gifts that this changing package can bring. I feel a bit more wisdom (at least most days) and more patience and understanding that things take time, that I cannot control them, and that there is grace in letting go and surrender. I can so enjoy a moment in time appreciating a brief contact and smile with a total stranger, a moment watching a bird enthusiastically splashing while taking a bath, the sound of the rain coming down on the roof and how that soothes me, the sound of a friend’s voice and the love that I can hear in it… a moment of contact with a new, also older, furry being that lives with me and the joy of momentarily breaking through this kitty’s fear of a new place and a new person to live with (her owner died, my two 17 year old kitties recently died. We are in grief both separately and together). I seem somehow to be better able to be more present in each moment. This, of course, also includes the moments of pain that life brings. And aging brings more of these moments of loss and the grief that accompanies the losses. It also brings a much deeper and slower appreciation for all that is ….even the moments of pain are gifts that remind us of our hearts and our ability to love deeply….
And now, there are so many moments filled with so many emotions. A raging pandemic that has taken so many lives. Civil unrest pointing out years of abuse. A divided nation that has much healing to do. And a new president, who at 78 years of age, is facing these huge challenges. There is an appeal to his age, to his experience, his wisdom, his having survived so much pain in his own life and thus able to hear it in others. We are somehow at times pushed aside as we age, considered no longer as capable of doing a job. Yet, here we have an older president who has taken on a challenge that many would not dare to attempt….to unify and heal and try to bring us back together as a nation and a world. I wish him Godspeed. I wish that for us all….as we all navigate this life both individually in our own unique journeys and also together in this roller coaster ride of being human.