It is the best of times; it is the worst of times. (Charles Dickens, slight paraphrase)
let me not obsess
about the lines
time etches on my face;
let me age with grace… (Rhodes)
Grow old along with me; the best is yet to be. (Robert Browning)
I never gave much thought to getting to this stage of my life. When I was younger, even middle age was in the distant future, something that surely didn’t–wouldn’t–apply to me, an attitude comprised of equal parts denial and total immersion in the present. Time stops for no one unless death intervenes and suddenly, I find myself in the position of looking back, rather than forward. It’s an odd sensation. I’m still learning the rhythm of these days, of life returning to a slower pace, of being responsible only for myself.
There is a sense of accomplishment in viewing one’s children grown and thriving, busy with family and work that satisfies them creatively. There is wisdom gained from life’s challenges and heartbreaks and I find I wouldn’t trade that for fewer years to my credit. I may regret some of my choices along the way but I’ve learned valuable lessons from them. Every experience has served to shape me into the person I have become, in this moment.
Being older is a curious blend of strength and fragility. It is also a time of extraordinary freedom. I find I’m not willing to compromise my sense of self for anyone’s approval. I’m happy with my appearance, comfortable in my skin as never before. I wear what pleases me, regardless of current fashion trends. I fear judgment less; I speak my truth, rather than saying what I think someone else wants to hear.
The paradox of aging is that it confers both the gift or more time as well as the knowledge that we have less of it left. It’s a time to explore creativity, to dream, to dare rather than defer. I feel blessed; rich beyond measure. And I am thankful, perhaps as never before, for each new day’s wonders.