My blog is about enjoying aging, but in order to do that, I’ve had to balance out my thinking a bit.
Maybe you are like me. I tend to focus on “the good” when I’m missing something in my past. For example, I may focus on the lack of wrinkles, the high metabolism, the great energy etc. The list is incredibly long.
But what I think we probably all need to work on is remembering the truth: life was not all roses when I was young. My confidence waned more than it waxed. I met challenges, fought many battles, and endured a lot of pain. As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, we face many firsts when we are younger, and these firsts can be downright terrifying. I think there are very few people (if any) who have dreamy, problem-free younger years.
I’m not trying to be a pessimist here – I’m only wanting to share to what has helped me walk in truth: recollecting not only the fantastic, but also the frustrations.
As some of you may know about me, I kind of adore muesli. It’s not just a passing fling either – this love is quite deep and has been going on for quite some time. (My husband is well aware of my flirtation in the cereal aisle! Ha ha.) So the other day at the grocery when I picked out a special new flavor for myself, I eagerly anticipated opening the box; when I did, I ran across some text decorating the outside that was just as fantastic as the muesli inside. It read:
life’s not a dress rehearsal
So go on, learn tai chi; go on a romantic picnic; design a typeface; forgive someone. Because when you savor the present, life suddenly becomes far more delicious.
Seriously, what incredible wisdom on my cereal box!
As I read it, I realized it’s shouting the same message from its little cardboard sides as I am from my blog. Instead of wishing I was younger and romanticizing the good old days, I need to enjoy where I am at, the number of years I have lived, and the moment in time I find myself, no matter how imperfect.
Don’t you just love it when you come alongside someone (in my case, the muesli box designers) and you both are singing the same song, upholding the same values, and attempting to make a difference?
Have you ever noticed how when you were young, you’d delight in doing things grown-ups did? I remember dressing up in my Mom’s silky dresses with my friend and then stuffing the front of hers with material so she could look pregnant. In our minds we moved up time, reproducing for ourselves the fun that grown-ups seemed to have. (I think it was extra exciting because there was that anticipation underneath it all knowing that our “playing” could be real one day.)
Now I notice the opposite. I capital L-O-V-E-D Lucky Charms cereal when I was tiny. Please don’t judge me, especially when I share that I like eating it just as I did when I was little: all the “boring” cereal pieces I ate first. Those delicious marshmallow pieces of yumminess stayed till the end, making the milk turn pastel colored as I saved the best for last (or so I thought). Is it ridiculous? maybe. But I’m reproducing for myself that fun that I had when I was young. I’m taken back in time for just a moment.
I think we really do travel back and forth through time, in our own way.
“I was there. I was in the crowd when President Ronald Reagan spoke in West Germany and called on Soviet President Gorbachev to ‘Tear down this wall’.” My friend’s eyes were shiny with delight when she repeated Reagan’s famous phrase. I don’t know if it was her enthusiasm, but I felt the significance of the moment and when I got home, I watched the historic speech on YouTube to somehow share that moment with her.
Time quotes Reagan’s Secretary of State, George Schultz, on that speech: “It's become famous, first of all, because what he called for happened. If you look back to the day after the speech, or the month after, I don't think it was written about that much. But it got big reverberations once the Wall came down and people looked back at Reagan's speech and remembered that it was controversial at the time to say that.”
And there I was, once again brought face to face with a gift of growing older: significant moments aren’t always significant at the moment. Sometimes we have to live a little longer, age a little more, gain a few gray hairs to allow time to further develop a moment into its intended significance and power.
Creator of Love, Auntie.