|Photo by Niklas Hamann on Unsplash|
The beauty of thinking of ourselves as evolving instead of aging is the acknowledgement that we still have unrealized potential. Getting older doesn't have to mean loss or letting go of what "used to be." It can be evolving into a more fulfilled version of our younger selves. Although I do miss the eyesight of my younger self. Plus, it's just not fun that certain areas of my body have taken an alarming shift to the south.
In the past few years after my son's graduation from school, there’s been an increase in solitude. There has been more time for myself and my own pursuits. On the surface, that sounds like a dream. (One that I remember having many times when dealing with the "terrible twos" as a new mom.) Yet, as someone who had been a full-time mother for the past two decades, that initial quiet and stillness felt uncomfortable. At first, I no longer felt needed or that I had a defined purpose. A racehorse retired to pasture with no more races to run. I had no idea what my own pursuits might be. Did I want to pursue anything? Did I have the energy? What if I was too old for something new? The what-ifs were showing up as fast as the wrinkles.
It's so easy to look in the mirror and feel old and tired with each new wrinkle. One day, I just got sick of giving the mirror so much power over my mood and who I thought I was. Surely there could be more to me than how smooth my skin was (or wasn't) or how many gray hairs were lurking on my head (Thanks, L'Oreal, Light Ash Blonde 9A hair dye.)
I suppose this was my mid-life crisis. I went to bed perfectly happy the night before and woke up a sobbing, depressed mess. Never saw it coming. Who flipped the switch? I assumed it was just a bad day, and things would get better. I devoured a pint of Ben & Jerry's and went back to bed. That bad day has lasted, off and on, for four years. (That's a lot of Ben & Jerry's.)
During that time, I met several women online that became friends and were going through similar emotions. With their support and friendship, I found my way to a dream that I did want to pursue. Writing.
Writing has led me out of feeling useless and into a new way of seeing my world. It has given me the desire and courage to push out of my comfort zone and put myself out into the world. Life is too precious not to participate because of an imaginary expiration date in my head. I don't need anyone's permission to keep growing and learning every day. I'm not getting old, I'm evolving into the person I was meant to be. Day by day, wrinkle by wrinkle.
I'm still grateful for L'Oreal, Light Ash Blonde 9A hair dye. I'm not that evolved.