Eleanor Roosevelt said ” Today is the oldest you’ve ever been, and the youngest you’ll ever be again”. That quote has never felt more applicable to me than this very moment. In my own world my father emailed me last week and told me he was dying of cancer and wasn’t seeking treatment and within the confusion of all that I found myself awe struck that there are only 27 years that separate my father and I. For the first time in my life I had a stark look at my own mortality as I live what’s conceivably the back half of my life.
The back half of life…. I would love to gasp and exclaim my disbelief that I’ve arrived here but, I’m acutely aware of the how’s and exploring, with child like curiosity, the why’s of experiences along the way. I have chapters I want hide or rip out of my life’s book but there’s an odd comfort in rereading them and finding peace with the choices I’ve made. Do we say we wouldn’t change a thing about the past because we know we can’t or are we so in love with the person we have become that we wouldn’t trade it for a different version? What if we could go back to particular moments and utter words under our breathe or out of ear shot just to relieve the pressure on our souls and in our minds? I think that would be lovely.
After Ken passed away I began this intimate relationship with death and grief. To have the breath stolen from my body and my heartbeat replaced with a dull, steady ache defined who and what I was for months- maybe even for that first blur of a year. As I began to take in life again and fill my mind with hope and possibilities I felt the rope I had been grasping in this game of tug-o-war between what I knew and where I was going slip through my hands. I didn’t lose or concede I simply let go of what kept my feet firmly planted in one place and revived my life for the 10th or 11th time over 4 decades.
Over the last several months I’ve watched someone deconstruct their life and rearrange the pieces to match a new and wonderful mindset rooted in self awareness and a depth two times that of most people I know. There has been necessary pain in the process as mind and soul have expanded and changed shaped. There have been intense moments of letting go what’s not meant for them and the frustrating and reluctant trust in the timing of things as they do or don’t present themselves. And now, they’re getting ready to start their life again, to start a new phase on their own terms- free from social constraints and external influence. This hasn’t been the metaphoric transition from caterpillar to butterfly. It’s more like Godzilla surfacing off the shore of Tokyo ready to destroy some buildings and honestly, I can’t wait to see the trail they leave for others to find their way on. I find myself wildly inspired by people like that- by anyone who is willing to unravel and find out where they start and where the rest of the world has filled in.
One of my dearest friends and inspirations has a life coach as part of her work development plan. She desperately wants to break up with her because she’s just going through the motions to make it through the weekly appointment. The most beautiful part is that in recognizing she’s not invested in the process she’s become even more real and amazing. We are flawed and fucked up-every one of us. If you aren’t willing to scoop up your broken little pieces and hold them in your open hand with a grin on your face are you really being the most authentic version of yourself? Feel free to close your hand in an attempt to hide them but be prepared for the sting of the jagged edges as they remind you that there is pain in finding and loving your true self.
I feel like I’m in a heightened state of over awareness. I want to run towards things that captivate me and I want to feel something that I can’t define but I’ll recognize it the minute it hits me. I find myself jumping on a treadmill of thoughts cycling through what if’s and shouldn’t do’s. I get lost in the thoughts of have I done or am I doing enough to add value to the lives around me. All of this crazy over thinking is merely an attempt to feel my life while I’m in it- to make the most of the now and to revive myself as many times as I need to. My belief that tomorrow will be better than today is the most recklessly wonderful way to allow the universe to pull me by my hair towards the next place, the next adventure, the next heart I’ll call home.