Joyful aging is not about losing self or even becoming a better version of self. I think it is a journey of becoming more fully yourself.
Kissed by wisdom.
I see my body in a photo like she is not me. She has gained weight this past year and grown some new sparkly hair. I thought she was taller. I have often wished she would bend to fit your pretty mold. But she is faithful and her scars and dimples reflect some of the messy journey I am on.
In years past I tried on your clothes and music and even the books you preferred. But they were not me so I laid them down and continued on my way.
I listened to the way you spoke and wrote and carried yourself. Sometimes I wanted to be you and I hid because I knew I was different. Less refined or confident. But I am drawn to the light so could not stay hidden too long. I decided to cheer you on and head off in another direction.
I have trusted your experience and books, the wisdom of your journey to guide me. But it would only ever take me so far. That is because joyful aging is partly about learning to listen in. And you can’t hear the fullness of what I do. A love letter penned only for me.
I am being kissed by wisdom. And so are you.
Well-meaning, he offered me his armor; it had served him well in the battles he fought. But it was too big and clumsy in some spots and chaffing in others. So I shook it off and thanked him and set off to find my own way.
I read the ancient stories and tried to listen carefully as they interpreted and extolled. But the yoke was too heavy for me. I went aside a while to read quietly, all by myself, and the veil was torn in two. Slowly I began to see.
I’ve admired so many of you that have gone before me. Watched you from afar, the way you held your head high and walked with self-acceptance and grace. You gave me strength without knowing and courage to peel away layers and step out from under the mantle of shame.
Still, I crave your validation and admiration. I cower from rejection and criticism. But part of joyful aging is learning to make peace with who I am even if it means standing alone. And you can’t truly give me what I need anyways.
For I am being kissed by wisdom and it is an inside job.
Too many times I said yes to her when I ought to have said no. I cared more about respecting what she needed than about the fact I was falling apart. In crisis, I learned that it is my job to love me not yours. I’m learning as I go.
You fill my head with longing for all the stuff I should buy but didn’t know I needed. You tell me that happiness comes in the next vacation or the bottom of a wine bottle. But my eyes have been opened and I no longer want what you are peddling.
I like her pretty images, her thoughtful layouts with natural light and artful photography and I forget again that it isn’t real. Not the full story. I look around anxiously at the imperfect and unwieldy; this life in progress. I pause, take a deep breath and express gratitude that I am here and I am me.
You tried to destroy me many a time. You held my face underwater and clouded my vision so that I cried for escape. But hope came, strong, to journey beside me and she tells me there is more yet to come than I could ever hope for or imagine. And part of joyful aging is showing up curious to the next bend of the road.
I want to be kissed by wisdom.
Want to read more about joyful aging? You might like Goddesses Never Age or Younger: A Breakthrough Program to Reset Your Genes, Reverse Aging, and Turn Back the Clock 10 Years (affiliate links).