Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Deep Thoughts

Yesterday my family and I traveled back to the town where we were raised  to pay our respects at a funeral and to make a visit to my step-mother who has been at the hospital for awhile.  You can see this isn't a light hearted post so bail out now if you are not in the mood for a deeper exploration of life, death, and emotions. 

Much as I still feel "young" in my mind, my body feels my age.  I also notice that more and more people that I know, are passing on, or in the end stages of life.  I find myself  looking back to the earlier times, in essence reviewing parts of their lives that I experienced with them.  In some ways those memories seem so long ago and yet, somehow, there is also this terrible feeling of time moving so quickly. 

A few years ago I had what I have come to regard as a Mid-Life Crisis.  During this time I colored my hair blond, tried acrylic nails, whitened my teeth, lost 70 pounds, and started to exercise.  It was fun to feel healthy again, and younger, but I also had the inescapable feeling that time was running out, and that everything I wanted to do had to happen quickly.  If there was something I really wanted to do in my life, I needed to do it RIGHT NOW!  This urgency was with me for the length of my "crisis" which lasted approximately a year. 

The experience has left me a different person than I was before as all experience does; but this time, I feel like I don't need to rush so much because the things I really want to do and experience are things that I already have.  Things like spending more time with extended family, friends, my kids.  Things like saying what you really mean instead of what you think they want to hear.  Things like "being real." 

In a way, this is the freedom of aging, of moving closer to the end of life and, depending on your beliefs, the transition to the next phase of being.  Being your true self, not caring about appearances but about the emotions, feelings, connections, and people that you meet is both  freedom and joy. 

I do get sad thinking about running out of time to do these things, but as I see more people at the end of life, I realize that they have lost this ability.  Either through disease, sickness, or old age, they are no longer able to fully participate in the connection of daily life.  I think this helps both them and us prepare for the end.  Maybe this is the way it should be. 

Of course, this only makes sense when people are old or significantly disabled.  Sudden death, or dying young, are so hard to take because this does not apply.  They DID have the ability to continue the social connections and experience the joy and meaning we are all given regardless of our income or education. 

I really don't have a destination to arrive at in this post.  Just clearing my mind.  If you have read this far, you may appreciate the words of the song Breathe by Anna Nalick;  it is truly beautiful.

'Cause you can't jump the track, we're like cars on a cable
And life's like an hourglass, glued to the table

No one can find the rewind button, girl.
So cradle your head in your hands

And breathe....... just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPz3YaIJkjQ

2 comments:

Sheila said...

I like to believe that "the best is yet to be."

rebecca @ older and wisor said...

Love this.

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