May Sarton, one of my favorite authors, when asked at seventy why it is good to be old said, “Because, I am more myself than I have ever been.” As I am rapidly approaching the beginning of my eighth decade of life, her words are both a challenge and a comfort to me.
A challenge because I’m still learning who I truly am. I have played many roles in my life: daughter, wife, mother, friend, manager, CPA, coach, partner, teacher… And those are all roles, they are not who I AM at my essence. Were I to strip away the roles, who would I be? What’s it all about Alfie?
A comfort because I feel a sense of permission in her words to let go of the doing and focus on the Being. An invitation to drop the roles and gently ease into living authentically without apology or guilt.
What have I learned these past seventy years?
~~Life is not about things; it’s about love. It’s about connection and relationship. No amount of things can compare to the joy that I feel when my grandchildren run into my house squealing, “Nona,Nona” and jump into my arms. That is JOY.
~~ We all need our tribe. Our tribe is where we are accepted and loved and supported. Where we are seen and heard as who we are. It may not be our birth family and it is vital to our growth and happiness.
~~Every time I judge you I judge me. Life is a mirror and what upsets and irritates me about you is something I cannot accept or acknowledge in myself. I don’t like this one very much.
~~Forgiveness is the peacemaker. Every grudge I hold, whether against someone else or myself weighs me down. Forgiveness is the answer. We all do the best we can each moment.
~~It’s not my job. Each of us is whole, complete and resourceful and when I see you, or me as less than that, I limit our potential and keep us small. I’m here to support you not make you small.
~~Honesty is the best policy. Being honest with ourselves and others is a challenging commitment. As my friend and teacher Eric says, “It hurts not to tell the truth.” Sometimes it is very hard for me to be honest with myself, and when I am not it not only hurts my heart it shows up in my body as discomfort and heaviness. I think it is harder to be honest with ourselves sometimes than with others.
~~My deepest yearning is to reconnect with Spirit. To be at one with my source, to come home. This does not necessarily mean dying and leaving the planet; it can mean living from that place of oneness here. Underneath everything else, in our heart of hearts, we all want this.
~~Life is too short to wear tight shoes.
What have you learned? Whether you are twenty-seven or seventy, you have wisdom to share. Who are you when you are being yourself? Do you know who you are? What you want? Don’t wait to be seventy to find out.