I thought I’d start with one of my poems from 2010, since it deals with age!
Calcified like the old fossil I have become
Stripping down my life to essentials – nature, my dog.
I have arrived at nothing.
I bear no burden
I have become merely elemental.
©Belinda Greb 2010
I’m really not a fossil yet, although some days I definitely feel like it, but birthdays are really just ordinary days for me at this point. More of a marker of the passage of time, like New Year’s, but not carrying any high expectations of a celebratory nature or, thank God, the self-analytical angst of “what have I accomplished thus far” that they once did. Part of that may be just normal, part of the settling into one’s life. Yet I can only speak for my own life’s experience, and I know plenty of people my age who still retain lives full of emotional intensity, inner drama, and intricate plans for their future.
Not to say that I feel over and done with – 🙂 – but I do feel okay with the slowing down, an acceptance of this new phase of life. Part of that acquired acceptance is due to my life’s experience – seeing that change is unavoidable; that some die too young and that death is inevitable for each of us; and learning that some things are within my individual conscious control and others are not; and that life will often take us down unexpected or undesired paths, and while we can kick and scream all we want, we are still there and what is possible to change is how we react to it.
But part of that acceptance also has to do with my inner life’s experience which has led me to the belief that this is all natural, and that at every stage of life, there are treasures to be discovered. I may not have the energy I had ten years ago, but I have a vantage point from where I can reflect upon the changes in our world and in my self, and compare and contrast them and gain insight into both. I may not be the center of attention or worse, may seem irrelevant to others – that’s okay, I’ve learned to be comfortable with not living for others and oh what a relief that is, what freedom!
I’m middle-aged – by today’s terms only because we’re living longer 🙂 – and I realize I probably seem old to younger generations. I don’t get the humor in the newer sitcoms, and I don’t really feel communication is what it used to be, and that’s fine. A younger generation is going to have a different world than the one I occupied, just as I inhabited a different world from my parents or grandparents. They’re going to have experiences that I never will, just as I have had some that they never will. Various worlds can cohabit the same plane and do – it’s just a matter of a multitude of perceptions.
What makes this alright for me, I suppose, is that I do believe in life after death – in fact, I believe in reincarnation. Why? Because: I’ve had inner experiences and dreams in which I was another person with emotions and thought processes that were foreign to me; my observations of nature and the way it always regenerates in one form or another; my reading and exploration of various philosophical and spiritual literature or practices in my life-long interest and pursuit of these matters; but more importantly because that belief just seems true based on my intuition. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe right – I don’t feel the need to argue the point with anyone. It’s not like someone’s going to be proven right! But for me the setting of the sun, just hearkens the rising of another, symbolically speaking.
Which leads me to my birthday, a week ago, quietly celebrated with phone calls from far away friends and an outing with nearby friends to a vista point that overlooked Three Sisters Wilderness. We walked, we talked, we watched the beautiful light on the mountains, and then watched the moon rise. We went home in the dark, and it all seemed perfect.