Deliciousness of being Over Fifty
Memories and Age
There is something delicious about being in your fifties. When you are younger, you are not taken as seriously, you hold back your comments, you stifle yourself. Or at least that was my observation. And then the day may come when you do not really care what anyone thinks about you, and you decide to live a truly authentic life; whatever that might mean for you.
Looking back upon the years of my life is akin to standing at the top of a mountain and becoming aware of the winding path below. It looks well worn and seems difficult to belive that you alone climbed to reach its peak. The mud and the rocks lying below from share space with the flowers and the foliage and the view from atop offers the eye grand vistas.
Susan Sontag writes of the past that it is “... a pleasure to share one's memories. Everything remembered is dear, endearing, touching, precious. At least the past is safe—though we didn't know it at the time. We know it now. Because it's in the past; because we have survived.” Her testimony to passing through our life experiences have made us who we are, the sum total of our identities. And as we age these memories provide us with the impetus for reflection upon our own lives.
Living an authentic life need not be subject to intense scrutiny or interpretation. To begin to ask ourselves to ruminate on that which we find sacred or holy and to align our purpose with a life that inspires our own passionate longing can be a gift to our souls or life altering at best. We are not all seeking the same encounters in life, but that which we are seeking is also reminding us to define how we wish to live, and to be remembered in this life. To live with meaning and focus on what one deems is important to make that meaning becomes more urgent for some of us as we age. Half time is nearing its end and we are heading toward the end zone. But the end zone brings triumph if we have our eyes firmly on the prize.
My appreciation for youth and the ability to appreciate those around me that are still working through their mid-life battles has led me to acknowledge one thing I never received in my own youth: understanding. Ones twenties, thirties and forties are turbulent times for a person. Rarely do people acknowledge the difficulties we face when raising children, building a career and trying to help our parents as they age. There is a feeling one must have it all, do it all and be it all. Youth fades quickly and if we are lucky at all, we are left, with wisdom. We are lucky if we have amassed any kind of insight at all because if we are not so lucky we wallow in fear and regret.
To live a full life, there must be dreams we create and challenges we face. To turn our back on our growth as long as we are breathing, its to stifle our spirit and imbue us with hopelessness. To claim our lives through living with passion and purpose offers us at any age, the ability to remain whole and connected to the source. To create meaning as we age perhaps we need to remember to reinvent ourselves anew.
Susan Sontag would tell us not to interpret our life stories, but to allow them to just “be”. She was a wise woman .