Life...As It Is Now
I don't like it that so much of my past is passing away. So many of the people who contributed to who I have become in the present are not a part of this present that I am now living. They've gone on to wherever we go when we leave this life and I'm not entirely comfortable with that.
Growing out of my youth has definitely made me become a much more philosophical being. I look to the past and I see memories of events that don't seem too far away, and yet they are. The 80's seem like a short time ago. The 80's were my time, if you will. I became an adult in the 80's. So much of the music that I still enjoy is a product of that decade. Movies, television, I always look back to the 80's with such a feeling of that being where I belong. Yet it is a long time ago now but I don't feel it my in heart.
I see my life in two parts. There's the part before I was 35 and there's the part that I began after that birthday. I didn't like being 35 and I think I'm beginning to understand why. For me that age represents the place I reached where I realized that the rest of my life was out in front of me. I had been so comfortable with life before 35. Everything was set and I had stability, as I understood the term before that age, and when I started the phase I've been living since then I started off without that stability. There seemed to be very little left that was solid to me.
So what happened when I was 35 to bring all this about?
My grandmother died. My grandmother, to whom I'd been so devoted and whose presence had filled my life up to that point, passed away after an illness that made her fade away over a period of months. She'd been declining for a few years but she always had this resilience about her that caused her to make the most of whatever her life was at any given time, but her last illness took her independence as much as it took her health. She had to leave home and she couldn't be alone anymore. I remember the last time I saw her when we were still able to have a normal conversation. It was only a few days before her death and she was unhappy. Though she didn't say it, I knew she was. She was at my uncle's house and she wanted to be at home. She wanted to be the woman she used to be and that was beyond her reach. So she gave up and less than a week later she was gone.
Two weeks after that I turned 36 and my life without her was ready to be lived. It took me a while to get into the groove of the new existence but I finally found it. Things were uncomfortable. I didn't feel needed anymore. I was pretty much on my own and I didn't know if I wanted that. I had to learn to embrace the life that was waiting for me after Granny died. Why was it such a monumental step for me? I still don't think I've got that part all figured out but I know now that the reason I didn't like being 35 is because that was the age I was when my life turned onto this new road.
I have learned to love the life I've been living for the past eight years. The things I've accomplished in that short time are all things that I couldn't have enjoyed beforehand. I like my independence now and I like that I am in control of my life. I know what I want and I know that to make my dreams come true I have to dig in, learn how to do whatever it is, and then plot out the steps I need to take to get wherever I want to go. Before age 35 I wouldn't have been ready for this. Now I am. And now I'm doing it.
I also learned to let go of parts of my past that weren't healthy for me. More importantly I learned how to tell the difference between what is healthy and what's not. If being spiritually healthy means letting go of people or situations then I can do that now. I have to do it in order to keep myself in a state of balance in my life. I can't float along anymore. I can't depend on others to give me the security I need. I have to provide myself with that. Fortunately, I've found that I am perfectly capable of it. I'm who I am because of what I was and before age 35 represents the growth that it took for me to get to where I am today. I have few regrets.
But now I'm in a place where things are changing again. A lot of the people and events that brought me into my reality of today are going or are gone. My pop culture icons are now part of history and few of them are active today. A lot of the people I work with are half my age and I feel outdated in their company sometimes. I know I'm half way through my life and I'm fine with that, but finding my relevance in the world gives me a sense of reticence because I've got to keep growing and a lot of what I used to live for isn't there anymore to give me inspiration. I need to find my inspiration from new sources and looking around for some of that is a chore that maybe I don't always feel up to.
I crave security in my life. I need to know where certain things are coming from and for my basic needs I'm well provided for. I've never been really satisfied with the ordinary though. I always, since I was a small child, dreamed of having something that was important and that was mine and that I could call my own, and it was going to be something more than the average which most everyone I knew lived with - and contentedly so - every day of their lives. Maybe I knew even way back when that I wasn't average and that I'd never be happy with an average life. Maybe I did. I think so.
And now, with this latest birthday, I've realized that I am still growing and I'm still reaching for whatever is next. I still crave security but the choices I make aren't always based in what most people would deem secure. I have a lot to be thankful for and I have a past that is rich with life lessons that I learned, some of them the hard way, but which I am grateful for because they give me the courage to live for myself and to say what I want or don't want in my life. I'm lucky in that respect because so many people never know that kind of personal liberation.
Life, as is it now, gives me both joy and vertigo. I don't have the security of my past because so much of it is gone. I can base my decisions on the lessons I learned from my past but the future is in front of me and reaching for the things I want is no more comfortable now than it was eight years ago. But I'm not concerning myself with comfort all the time anymore. I can't. If I do I'll become paralyzed with an indecision that doesn't serve the me I am now.
So I have to keep stepping out there, making myself do things I might not believe I can do, but which I'll always regret if I don't take the chance. My courage comes from a belief in myself that I developed over the last few years, and it's that courage which will keep serving me for as long as I continue believing in the strength it gives me.