When we arrive at an age where there are most likely more years of life behind us than ahead, reflections come more often and decisions feel more intense. At least that’s where I find myself these days. As I work to be present in today and live my best life, I find myself navigating fragile ground.
It seems to start in the physical space, the moment I wake up in the morning and roll my body out of a horizontal position where all parts lie in relative peace and balance (minus occasional menopausal night sweats). Feet hit the floor, I stand tall to take on the day…and gravity rears its weighty ugly head dragging everything south. I can stand in front of a mirror all I want practicing the litany of body lift, pull and adjustments I could invest in to turn back the clock, only to let my hands drop and watch it all go back into its ever evolving state of existence.
That’s a small part of the daily reminder of aging. We can learn to accept and even love our body as it evolves, knowing it is the evidence of a life lived. The precious memories of pushing our bodies beyond comfort, taking on new challenges without hesitation and recovering in a short period of time. The scar on my ankle, the one on my thigh, the lumbar pain that erupts from time to time. The list goes on because my body has kept the score. I can’t go back and undo the damage I’ve inflicted on my body over the years but I can appreciate it for continuing to strum along providing me with what I need, even though I haven’t always done the same. So I accept the grip that gravity has on my body, adjust my wardrobe choices to camouflage the evidence, and practice being kind and gentle with myself.
What can be paralyzing is the grip of time on our psyche. There is beauty in aging and realizing the innate talents and gifts we bring to the world. We can become less concerned about what others think about us, more confident in what we want and need. The constricting feeling rises when we get tangled in recollecting the missed opportunities to capitalize on our gifts when we were younger and more marketable in the world we live in. When there was more time to cultivate and manifest the fruits our gifts can bear. For me, Sunday morning hikes with the dogs inevitably open up space for the memories of people, places and experiences; roads taken, and turns missed, as if I’m walking through them all over again. The list of ideas undeveloped, and opportunities not seized, join me on those Sunday walks as well. The rueful grip of time.
The lesson I remind myself of is to reflect on the life I’ve already lived with laughter and gratitude. Making the choice to walk through those memories with peace of mind trusting that I was exactly where I was supposed to be when I was there. The path I did choose to walk is rich with all the fruits and flowers I cultivated. And they’re all imperfectly perfect, for me. My body isn’t the same. My mind isn’t the same. But my soul continues to grow, and blossom, and help create new opportunities, new memories, and new beginnings. I choose to accept where I have been, appreciate what I am blessed with, and recognize that there are still endless roads of opportunity to seize. I’m working on surrendering to the potential and loosening the grip of time past.