Thursday, March 30, 2017

I Couldn't Have Predicted

If you're a follower here at Your Mother Knows, you know it's my mission to share with you things I've learned regardless of the fact that it might not be something many talk about... I want to give you some advanced warning about some of these serious life questions.

The other day, my Best Friend Forever, Pam and I were talking about stuff and she said, "I just feel like I want to yell and scream!  I'm going to be 62 years old in a couple of months and I just did NOT think it was going to be like this!!"

Upon talking further, she was stressed over her daughter not realizing that the things she'd like Pam to do to make her life easier make Pam's life harder; things like watching her granddaughter 50 hours a week without being paid in order to help her daughter save money...

Or, her husband figuring that because she's home all day, she can deal with the house work and the gardening, the major home improvement projects, and the finances because, after all, he works all day and since she's home not doing anything important...! Pam's frustrated because doing everything she can for everyone else means that she doesn't have time or energy to do anything she likes to do for herSelf. And not doing anything for yourSelf leaves you worn out and cranky.

Really, it wasn't anything monumental that was so upsetting to her. Just the normal stuff of life being burdensome at times and everyone else thinking that they have it harder than you do, without stopping to consider how many demands they heap on your not-as-young-as-you-once-were head.

Pam uttered, "I feel like I blinked and my life is gone and now I'm this age and wondering how I got here so fast!! I don't have the physical stamina or mental determination to just go, go, go! Nor do I want to, I just want to say, 'Give me an effin' break!'"

Instead, she simply sucks it up and continues to soldier on. To a large extent, I think that's what most of us attempt to do.  We just keep going until we can't.  It helped when I explained that I feel the very same way.  Then I added, "I go to bed most nights and think to mySelf, 'Is this all there is?  Is there nothing more to life when you're older than getting up each morning, going through your daily routine, only to climb back into bed each night?'" While we age, does our scope and ability to influence or be relevant simply slip away?

I couldn't have predicted how fast it all flies by! How do you find the joy and passion in life when who you were is not who you are now?  You don't have the professional cache' you once had. You don't have the energy to attack the chores and interests you once loved. It seems you're more what you're not than what you are.  And, the critical question becomes, who are you when your face begins to show its age and your mind no longer has the elasticity and your Spirit seems to sigh a lot more than it used to?

When you're young, you have a curiosity about what comes next; the next acquisition; the next accomplishment; the next relationship.  When you grow older, the world seems to grow smaller and the thrill seems harder to find.  Why? Is it that way for everyone?

This is one of my favorite pictures of Pam and me, circa 1981. I'm sure you could tell thanks to big sunglasses and bags. Yes, that's me with curly, permed hair which was the rage in the Big Hair 80s! It's a candid that captures what she and I do best with each other- LAUGH!  A lot.  I mean, hysterical laughter over the simplest things. We are best friends even though she lives on the Left Coast and I am here in the east.  We don't get to see each other often, but that's not changed how close we are. We find comfort in our shared experiences because it always helps to not feel alone. I know I took comfort in our conversation because she confirmed a lot of what I feel and haven't said about this entire aging thing. If I feel as if I'm whining about something, I have a tendency to just not talk about it at all.  However, not talking about it sure doesn't help me to gain any clarity.

The fact is, no one tells us how to navigate this phase of life.  We spend way more time telling a young girl what's going to happen once she gets her period!  But, how to love life as your physical self slows down?  No, we don't talk about that at all.

This quote by Friedan is my hope about aging, but I'm not there yet.  I'm almost 62 and I know that by today's standards that's not old.  But it ain't young either.  I know I'm only 28 years old in my head where I live and it's sunny all the time.  While I also know that when someone looks at me driving down the road, they probably see an old or older woman driving.  How does one reconcile who they are in their Spirit with who they have become as a physical entity?  If you know, please tell me.

Friend, Sheena, gave me a missing piece to this big puzzle when we talked recently. She was explaining that her doctor suggested that she get a second opinion about a medical issue that they still have yet to nail down.  Sheena said, "I told the doctor that I would consider that, but not now.  Just now, I don't want to go chasing further; I simply want to take a breath and live life.  I'll give myself time to just be and not worry so much about every little thing."  And, that makes so much sense to me that I want to give her a huge hug.

Maybe the key to aging with joy and grace is to accept it as it comes without putting so much comparison of what used to be on it. Perhaps it's about managing expectations of yourSelf by doing what you can, walking away from what you can't, and being kinder to yourSelf.  Stop comparing who you used to be with who you are currently. When you're tired, stop. When you're fretting, take a breath and let it be. Focus on what you can do when you're sick of obsessing about all you can't do. Don't sweat the small stuff and remember most of it is small stuff.

And, realize that while aging takes a great many things away from your life, it also gives you moments of joy and a richness to cherish.  This picture is Pam and me, circa 2013.  We're at the wedding of that little girl who is sitting in the stroller in that first picture! Aging has given me the gift of some very deep and critically marvelous relationships.  If I can only help mySelf adjust to the day to day of it all, I'm sure I can find a lot more to be positive about, than fearful of, aging.

I sure hope Mr. Lewis is right. I know Pammy is equally hopeful.  I wish all of us the joy of deepening knowledge and understanding as we grow older. I hope we find far better things than those we had to leave behind. Finally, I hold fast to the adage, "Growing old is mandatory; growing up is not." If Peter Pan escaped the growing up bit, perhaps I can as well.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka She Who Knows It Goes By So Fast


Rocky Creek Scotties and Rocky Creek Ramblings said...

My life is full of joys but just last week I was telling Gary that I need to take a vacation from my life!! It seems to be spinning out of control some days and I never get anything done!!


Sheena said...

Yes you do !!

Sheena said...

Holly I have written twice now and my comment did not post. Agreed with yiu and Pam I am do in the same place especially thus last two years. Loved chatting with you recenty we had a good chuckle we should do it more often
Sheena 💜

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