One thing I LOVED when I was 18 and transitioning into “adulthood”: leaving my K-12 school days behind me and their rigid, (practically) full day schedule.
Not that I had a horrible school experience. I was just extremely grateful when I went to college and could time my classes when I wanted. I’ll never forget the feeling of that first fall semester in college, when I realized I wasn’t in school from about 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM every day. There was a sense of freedom. I had time to work my job, study throughout the day, and run errands at (gasp) 1:00 in the afternoon. It was so liberating. Time felt like it was more on my side. And I certainly embraced it.
Not to mention, I felt SO adult.
Even today I see school kids and am so grateful that part of my life is over. I don’t envy them. Sure, I miss things about that time period, but the pleasure of a more open schedule, while somewhat silly in the grand scheme of things, truly helped me enjoy growing older.
I think it’s important that we not forget those moments in life when change was good, and we embraced it. And boy did I embrace my more flexible schedule..
...until I got my first 8-5 job! 😊
What about you?
What have you been happy to "leave behind"?
I love reading your comments below!
I remember one week our living room was three different paint colors. I was a teenager at the time. We had just gotten a new couch, and my Mom, being extremely artistic, wanted to get the right match that would harmonize the look of our family area. When the newest coat of paint went up, my Mom declared it was not “right.” So, she proceeded to buy more paint and give it another go, because that’s how my Mom is. She taught me the importance of going back and getting what I want and making it right, no matter how seemingly insignificant “it” is. (Obviously, within reason. We clearly have restraints on our time and resources.)
Her desire is to be proactive, even about the details. Even if it involves retracing my steps and doing something again.
I’d come home tired from a full day of clothing shopping (which any gal knows can be challenging and discouraging) only to realize I should have gotten those black pants that were on sale. Without hesitating, my Mom would help me plan a trip back to the store, even getting up early with me so we could get to the doors right as they opened.
Walls and pants are minor, but my Mom even carried this attitude with the more important things in life. When she said something she regretted, she didn’t just chalk it up as over and done. She would make a point to sit down with me and explain why she said what she said, and what she should have said instead. You can’t erase what you say, but you can try, and my Mom was determined to do so.
Her attitude grew into me as I grew older. With age comes more knowledge and therefore more ability to have a “do over.” I think that it’s beneficial that as we get older, we don’t stay passive, but recognize that when we have the power to change even the little things, we should. Because our life is made up of the little things, is it not?
And as my Mom demonstrated to me, our life is worth it.
What about you?
Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.
I love hearing from you!
As you probably know, there is a movement that encourages people to be more mindful in life.
I would see the books and articles and podcasts and breezily think, “how nice” as I continued with my fast pace. I didn’t want to slow down. I liked moving and getting things done and accomplishing things. It felt so satisfying.
Until I realized I was feeding my anxiety because I was doing too much at the same time. I was having a hard time relaxing and calming the rush of thoughts swarming in my mind. So, I took a closer look at what it means to be mindful. Please know I’m not an expert on the topic – far from it. But what I have learned is the importance of single tasking and focusing wholly on the task.
It has been incredibly hard. At first, I hated it. And I still struggle.
I’d wash grapes. I’d focus on how plump they feel in my fingers, and the fresh smell they produced, and the chilly water on my hands, and the soft thumping sound the fruit made as they moved around the bowl.
And then I’d want to go insane.
Seriously. Why just wash grapes when I can wash grapes while listening to a podcast AND the timer for the muffins baking in the oven? Oh, and text a conversation on my phone with my friend Caity.
But I didn’t give up. And while I still do this mindful thing (in my opinion) imperfectly, the point is I’m doing it. And I’m starting to reap the benefits. The pace of my thoughts have become a more manageable beat. And I’m starting to believe that time isn’t always rushing.
I’m not by any means slowing down time, but I’m slowing down my perception of it. And it’s done so much for calming my mind, taking a deep breath, and keeping any anxiety I feel at a more manageable level.
Are you successful at being mindful?
Do you have any tips you can share?
A trio of links to “link” you to other voices that are reflecting on aging!
Join me as I drink in some other thoughts about aging. We may or may not agree with what is said in the articles below, but I’ve found the words provide plenty of food for thought and can give really great encouragement. (I've also pulled out quotes from each article that really resonate with me.)
The first two links are more current (within the last month), and the last link is what I affectionately call an “oldie but goodie”: an older article I think warrants a read.
What Jennifer Lopez Said About Aging Deserves a Round of Applause – Here’s Why:
“For me, it was important,” she said. “It was important as a woman to do that; to let people know that you don’t get to write women off at a certain point in their life. You don’t get to write people off.” She continued, “I didn’t realize that in just being myself and being unafraid to say that to the world: ‘I’m a woman, I’m 50 years old, and I’m here and I’m not going anywhere,’ was going to mean so much to so many people.”
21 Things I’d Tell My Younger Self:
Drink lots of water and moisturize. Water is life and the more you learn to love drinking it, the better you’ll feel. In addition to preventing your skin from aging too quickly.
What Is So Good About Growing Old?
This may be news to people who equate being old with being sad and alone, but it fits with a body of work by Laura Carstensen, a psychologist at Stanford. She led a study that followed people ages 18 to 94 for a decade and found that they got happier and their emotions bounced around less. Such studies reveal that negative emotions such as sadness, anger and fear become less pronounced than in our drama-filled younger years.
Creator of Love, Auntie.