Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Presto-Change--OH!

A change of life is upon me.  No, I’m not talking about menopause, although the timing is certainly coincidental and may be somehow connected, but it’s not physical.  I suppose it could be described more as a mental change – an opening up.   It’s as though I’ve discovered a ribbon of creative energy running throughout the universe and all I have to do is grab on and let it take me wherever it wills.  Not creativity in just an artistic sense either, but a creativity of ideas and spirituality, too.
Just to be clear – I have not started wearing tight, low-cut dresses, getting invasive procedures to try to stay young-looking (although admittedly I am attached to all my wrinkle creams – but - that’s just maintenance!), trying to pick up younger men or driving an expensive new car!  I’m not abdicating my responsibilities as a mother, a wife, a human being or making huge changes in my life situation either.  But instead of living for what is to come or looking to the future, it’s more like I’ve discovered a joy of doing whatever it is I’m doing at this moment that I never really felt before.  Instead of questioning whether this is all there is to life, I feel like “Yeah, this is all there is, but - WOW - the possibilities are endless!”   
The excitement is similar to how I felt as a young adult, but back then I took it all so seriously.   I was building for the future, becoming something or someone. I was going to experience this or see that…I was setting up my life to be a certain way.  The funny thing is, many of the plans I made didn’t happen at all the way I envisioned, or maybe some did, but they certainly didn’t stay that way.  If I could have seen into the future, the younger me might have been deeply disappointed in some aspects of my life.
            Silly young me - I was too wrapped up in outcomes!   Now forty-six, I feel a lightness in me that is incredibly freeing.  I don’t feel a need to become anything – I feel free to just, well – be.  And do, too – whatever it is I need or want to do.  Part of the difference is that now I try to find the joy in the doing, not the results.  If things don’t turn out as I expected, it’s not as upsetting or disappointing because I was never really attached to them anyway.  More importantly, I feel more like I am not trying to make anything happen, but I can deal with whatever does happen and still be happy, peaceful, content – for the most part. With practice – I feel the capacity for growth may well be limitless.  But I’m not worrying about that just now…J
There’s a poem called  “When I am An Old Woman, I Shall Wear Purple.”  Once she reaches a certain age the author plans to free herself completely from conventions and do exactly as she pleases.  But to me, this poem is not about not caring about other people or repudiating what’s come before (as I thought it was when I was a teenager).   It’s about not seeking or needing approval from outside anymore--it’s a peace and joy that cannot be touched by anything – so called “successes” or so-called “failures”  as defined by the outside world.
It’s that freedom that has allowed me, I think, to find that creative energy and let it flow through me and manifest as art.  But it doesn’t have to be art – it can be different things to different people.  It's more freedom from fear than anything else, I guess.  I just don't have the fear or anxiety attached to every little thing I do - i can allow others to do what they want to do without being threatened or judgemental, so I can relate to everyone on an entirely new level - indescribably wonderful!  (Well,I said it was a life change, didn't I!)
As the mother of a teenage son, I wish I could teach him this now, before he tries to make his life happen.  I hope in some ways I can still point him in the right direction; teach him that he is not defined by what he does or any external thing, but it’s probably a realization we all have to make for ourselves, when we’re ready. And whatever the cause of my discovery was, be it middle age, menopause, life-changing choices, or I’m just a seriously late bloomer – I’m eternally grateful for it...and I'm not waiting until I’m an old lady to wear purple, either!