Sunday, July 7, 2013

Maturity And The Art Of Growing Up With Grace

“I finally know the difference between pleasing and loving, obeying and respecting. It has taken me so many years to be okay with being different, and with being this alive, this intense. (xxvi)” 
~ Eve Ensler, I am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World

the rose by heylormammy

I am by no means "old"!  Alas, I am aging.   It is a life experience I greet with both excitement and in trepidation.  Being a "now" oriented person with an eternally youthful  approach to life, the concept of becoming an elder,  a mature woman and a golden ager has me thinking far more than I care to.  Oh, it is not that I don't enjoy this new status of existence but it is confusing as hell!  Both my mind and body seem to be functioning in different realms, leaving me struggling for balance while trying to appear graceful and maintain a certain level of classiness.  The awareness that my outward appearance no longer matches my mind is ever present, especially when I am surrounded by younger friends.  I feel like I am 24 inside but my external body says, "Hey Grandma, how's your knitting?"  What others around me don't realize is just how difficult it is to be outwardly mature, especially in my actions and thought processes.  I am torn between what repetition and experience have taught me versus what instinct and my true nature are saying.  They are in complete opposition!  It is a fine line and not being on the appropriate side on any given situation makes me look ridiculous, foolish.  Choosing how to behave is my daily challenge, keeping in mind, I am still a student on the subject of life and may be here for another quarter to half a century before I am ripe and ready for Heaven's harvest. 

Photo by Bob George

Last night, I had a troubling dream.  In my slumber adventure, my eyes kept turning amber yellow.  My real eye color is a deep ebony, courtesy of my Mother's genetics and Scottish/Irish  ancestry.  Awake, I pride myself in the piercing strength of my soul's gates.  I identify with and love my eyes, so to have them change to a pale yellow in this dream upset me.  I awoke very puzzled and wanted to understand my subconscious mind's message.  After consulting and researching, I found that my dream was an expression of my recent frustrations with aging.  I feel my body is secretly betraying me with health issues, loss of strength and youthful energy, youthful vigor and color.  I harbor anger at things changing beyond my control.  Worst of all, I am cultivating stress by fearing the the loss of my identity as I crawl into unfamiliar territory transforming into a strange new version of me. 

autumn rose by ~Asligg

In recent years, the structure of my family, career and purpose have all changed dramatically.  I recently had a discussion with relatives about a memory that serves as a wonderful life analogy.  When I was a child, our family celebrations would overflow beyond a regular dinner table.  The adults would be privileged to sit in the dining room at the 'grownup' table while younger members would be seated in the kitchen at the 'kids' table.  A feeling of wonder and elevation of rank surrounded the dining room.  "Someday, I will be a grownup and able to join my grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles.", I thought.   It never occurred to me then that by the time I made it to the 'grownup' table, my loved ones would depart this life and I would become the privileged, grey haired relative to the next generation of kids sitting in the kitchen.  My point is, change is so hard to grasp or prepare for.  It makes things happen that we can not, in our limited view, predict until we arrive.  That is why aging is so damn hard!  It is inevitable but always a mystery, a surprise bundle and a learning experience.  I never thought the grownup table would be so empty or that the kids I sat with then would be the only company when I arrived.  My greatest regrets are my limited perceptions and inability to understand what was to come leaving me feeling uneasy and quite foolish.

Frozen rose II by Tija205

Reminiscing, that is something I shamefully never had patience to listen to when I was a kid but now find myself doing on nearly a constant basis.  But today, it hit me like a ton of bricks, why I felt so horribly awkward and full of clumsy missteps on my aging pathway; awkward like wearing the wrong outfit to a party and clumsy like spilling a tray of hors d'oeuvres on an unsuspecting guest.   Everything I have learned along my journey so far was to help prepare me to be so much more than I anticipated on becoming.  I am not a conventional creature.  I am in my late forties, single, childless and carving out my own career.  I am unable to define myself as many of my peers do so I find my preferred company among rebels, artists, entrepreneurs, Bohemians and dreamers.  All my life, I thought I needed to become just like my parents, step into a familiar identity but that would be such a waste of my creation!  After all, we are each a unique being, never before or will be again, so what a foolish notion to think I should fit into a space that had already been filled in the past.  Seasons constantly evolve our world and with each passage of nature's scene, new delights occur.  Snow covers with a soft white slumber to thaw and bring fresh greens with new life that soak into sun drenched fields of lush growth that finally explode into an Autumnal colored canvas of vibrance before the cycle begins again.  And with each passing season, it is so obvious that although one can see a resemblance from year to year, no show in nature is ever truly a predictive duplicate.  I now know, this is my time, my show and I am approaching my Autumn, my most vibrant period of life.

womanhood by ~Katastrophey

I have come so far and taken so long to bloom!  The changes in my life have brought a new awareness I needed desperately.  No longer able to define myself by my past, I think I have finally found a new identity that makes sense to me, something fresh and exciting.  I can look back over my shoulder and see how far I have come, unashamed by my clumsy learning, finally elevated to a state of strength and grace.  Still growing and learning about everything, I am not fading, nor am I withering.  I am forging ahead more vibrant than I ever have been, more aware than I could have believed.  I am alive, open and ready for adventure.  I compare myself to no one for I am unique and that makes me beautiful.  That is pretty damn powerful, sexy too!  Welcome maturity, I have been expecting you.