Getting older. We are all doing it. Every minute. Every day. I’m older now than when I started writing this sentence. Sometimes I focus too much on the dark side of getting older. Like the fact that the box boy at the grocery store now calls me m’am instead of miss; every wrinkle cream commercial seems to be targeting me specifically and losing 10lbs is no where near as easy as it was when I was twenty.
Recently I have been trying to think of all the ways that getting older is a good thing. So far I have come up with: you finally have found the answer to the nagging question of bangs or no bangs; you know exactly what kind of alcohol you like and exactly how much you can drink without risking damage to your shoes; and you truly have enough life experience to look back and reflect.
It’s during my moments of reflection that I appreciate my age the most. I can look back now and see years and years of love, mistakes, laughter, darkness, kindness, tears, and redemption. I can also now see how all these parts of my life melded together and made me the woman I am today–a woman I love and respect. And believe me, that was something I never said when I was in my twenties.
This time of reflection is where I can recognize the mistakes of the past and let them go like leaves caught in an autumn breeze. It is that easy. Yes, getting older brings the wisdom to know what is worth hanging onto and fighting for and what isn’t worth your precious time. You learn the importance of forgiving others as well as forgiving yourself.
It’s a humbling process to look back on your life and see how every step, wrong or right, led you to exactly where you needed to be. There is a certain kind of comfort that comes with that knowledge–a security that your path is going somewhere and ultimately, it’s going somewhere beautiful. That’s not to say that there won’t be headaches and heartaches, but your path will continue. The views will change with the seasons and so will you.
Sometimes I wish someone would have told me all of this when I was younger. But then I think back and I’m sure my mom did tell me, I just wasn’t ready to listen. This is one of those lessons that simply can’t be taught. The answers we all want out of life can only be found by living life–by opening the door, stepping out, and living. We need to learn all we can learn about others and about ourselves. We need to live with compassion and remember we have the strength within us to pick ourselves up after we get knocked down, no matter what knocked us down.
Getting older is a privilege and comes with great responsibility. We are the authors of our stories. We remember the mistakes of the past only long enough to right them in the future. We set the example for our children, not of a perfect life, but of a lived life, full of struggle and setback and also full of beauty and victory.