It’s a quiet, calm Sunday morning and I am struck by the moment. This moment. Which is all that we really have – this very moment that we are in. Nothing else is guaranteed or promised. Just this one precious moment.
I sit here with so many feelings. I feel gratitude. For my life, for all the choices (great and not so great) that have led me to where I am now. Each one brought me to now. Even those choices that I can look back upon with regret. Each challenge taught me something, even though I may not have been excited by the lesson at the time (understatement there….). Each is a piece of me.
I think about those pieces of me. I have thought that others, of course, cannot see what I see when I look in the mirror. Or when I look at a photo of myself that only captures a momentary frozen image. Yes, I am sometimes shocked when I see the age related changes in the mirror. I wonder why I would be shocked. I think that this partly has to do with the fact that I see not only what may be reflected back to me, but the history of all the images that I have seen reflected back to me in the mirror through the years. I can still see the little girl that I was, the young woman, the midlife woman, and now the aging woman in her later 60’s. All those parts of me are still there. I see who I am and who I have been. It is harder to see and imagine who I will yet become, and yet I now get glimpses….if I have the courage to look.
I can relate to so many others. Younger women (I have been there), women of my own age, and even women that are older, as I listen to their experiences and begin to more deeply understand what they speak of when they talk about their own lives and their own aging processes. I am so grateful that they share with me, as I am grateful when others listen to my story.
No one is just the reflection of what may be seen in the mirror, or what you see with a brief glance and then quickly categorize based on that glance. There is so very much more.
I am an older woman. I am a retired social worker. I am an artist, a writer, a playful soul, and at times a deeply sad soul who has been immersed in the grief that is an inevitable part of life and even more so as the aging process continues and the losses accumulate. I have been married, have been in other relationships, have been hurt and have unintentionally hurt others based on my own issues and insecurities. I can be quiet, introspective – and I can also be outgoing and long for companionship and deep listening. I can laugh easily, and I can cry easily…..more so as I get older.
I find that I feel more sensitive now….I can barely keep driving when I see an animal on the road that has been killed by a car. I can’t even watch commercials produced by the Humane Society…or commercials of children who are hungry or thirsty…. of commercials of the earth being destroyed and along with that, so many of its inhabitants from all species. My heart feels as if it will break. I cannot seem to contain the pain of the world. Especially lately.. It feels like too much.
I am aware of the need to find our own tribe. I reach out to others who I am pulled to, and begin to see where the connections will be made. I am more careful with who I spend my time with. Time is precious. I wish others well, but I now see that there are those who feel nourishing to me and those who feel draining. I don’t have time to squander. It’s quite liberating to let go of the guilt that has been associated with this for so long.
I am working to nourish myself more these days. As women (and some men, of course), we have been raised to nurture and give and care-take. I have done this, and am glad to offer this, but not to the exclusion of myself. I am beginning to more deeply understand the need to take care of myself, or there will be nothing left to give to others. We need to listen deeply to ourselves, to give ourselves the space and quiet and time to do this.
And so, on this Sunday morning, I am grateful. For life. For this moment. For each of you who may read this and possibly relate. Thank you for taking the time to read this – for hearing a piece of my story and of who I am. You also reflect who I am back to me…..a reflection that I cherish and appreciate.