Are you trying to hold on to your youth? Your children? A dysfunctional family? A job that isn’t right for you? A marriage that doesn’t work? That D you got in trigonometry in high school?
So many of us cling tightly to what is familiar or comfortable. Others bind themselves to the past and allow it to punish them for their entire lives. Change is scary. Some just cannot picture a life different than the one they currently have. I have learned that the harder you grasp something, the more it hurts when it slips away from you. The secret to life is “letting go”. Also known as acceptance. This has nothing to do with giving up and everything to do with knowing when it is time to move on.
I had a few years of uncertainty and fear as I moved into middle age. I was panicked at the thought of my little girl out in the big mean World all by herself. My marriage had a major hiccup one Summer and I was not sure we would make it. I noticed that I was starting to lose the interest of men when I walked into a room. My body and face were aging and I did not know how to handle it. I was also very confused about what I wanted to do with my business. I considered shutting it down and taking a different path by getting back into Holistic Medicine. I call those years “the worry years”.
Slowly I started to realize that I could not hold onto all of those things that I wanted to remain the same. More importantly, I did not want to. I discovered it was safe to let go and just celebrate where I was headed. I was not only physically different, I was also mentally and emotionally transformed. At 45 I am now excited to watch my daughter leave for college and blossom into her own life. I will not be keeping her bedroom as a shrine where I can focus on the past. Instead it will be converted into a sanctuary for yoga and thinking. She will be welcome to visit anytime, but I will use that space for mediation. I have learned to work “with” my partner instead of “against” him as we weather life’s bumps. I am less selfish. I have also decided that I will not be artificially preserving my youthful face. It’s gone and no amount of face lifting, injecting or sand blasting is going to bring it back. It’s o.k. to have wrinkles and fine lines. In fact, if you allow yourself to let go of what society dictates is beautiful, you can actually admire them for what they really are: signs of a life that has endured numerous storms and celebrated many triumphs.
As for my career that is still being pondered. I have a few new ideas about what direction I would like to move in. But whatever I decide, the process leading up to it will not be fraught with anxiety. No, these are truly “the wonder years” for me. The dictionary tells us that “wonder” means: a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable. And that is exactly where I am. Bring it on life!