Once upon a million years ago - or so it seems - I was a young girl with dreams. I wanted more than anything to be a writer. I wanted to travel the world. Experience new things. Learn new things. I wanted an independent life. I wanted to be my own person.
OK. The reality. I am a writer, of sorts. I blog. I write poetry. I'm even a published poet, but don't let that fool you. There's no money in poetry. At least none that I've seen. I haven't travelled the world but I've travelled more back roads in Oregon than I can count - thousands of miles of them, I'm sure. I've experienced a lot of new things...marriage, motherhood, grandmotherhood, mature womanhood. And learned new things?? Oh, honey...I could tell you a few things about a few things, believe me. I have as independent a life as I can right now, considering all my responsibilities. And I'm my own person...definitely. I always have been. Now, that's what I really want to talk about, being my own person.
Somewhere...somehow...the person I am and always have been has metamorphosed many, many times. A lot of times that person has been under cover, out of sight to the world outside of me. The inner me. It has worked its way thru times of emotional conflict. Of spiritual conflict. Without letting on to the outer world just how conflicted it's been. But it seems like at every different phase it's managed to stay intact, even if it's been bumped and bruised along the way. Somehow it's managed to resurface intact, even if it's been altered a bit by experience or circumstances. Change is not a bad thing. Being willing to change can be a good thing. The human spirit is very flexible, very pliable, if we only open our minds to the fact that nothing ever truly stays the same. We need to bend in the winds of change. We grow stagnant and brittle when we no longer see the world with eyes wide open.
I once spent a lot of time trying to make myself into someone I was never meant to be. It didn't work. The basic essence of who I am rebelled all along the way, even tho I never let the outer world see or hear about that rebellion. I lived a life where I tried to restrict the free spirit who I really am into the conformist I was supposed to be. Or maybe I should say the conformist others thought I was supposed to be. I thought by pleasing others it would please me. But, no...it doesn't work that way. Shakespeare hit the nail on the head when he coined the phrase "To thine own self be true." We have to keep sight of ourselves. We have to listen to what our own hearts tell us. Therein lies true happiness. Personal contentment. Personal freedom.
As I enter even another stage of Life...of menopausal years...I can feel even more changes coming upon me in addition to the physical 'change' of life. I can feel a more urgent need to slow down and savor what I have left. A true sense now of knowing my own mortality. I'm not going to be here forever. And even tho my oh-so-human mind has a hard time grasping that...just like it has a hard time wrapping itself around the thought of eternity...I know it's out there. It's no longer wondering if I'll live to see my children grow up. They have. This year they'll both be in their 30s. It's no longer wondering what I'll look like as I grow older. I'm there. But I can honestly say there's no fear there, in knowing that I'm aging. That when a young man looks at me it isn't because he sees the young woman that, deep in my heart, I still see. He sees a mature woman. That in my grandons' eyes, I'll never be 'young' to them. That all the anti-aging creams in the world will never erase all my wrinkles. That, even if I ever chose to dye my hair, underneath it all it'll still be as silvery white as ever. No, youth is definitely behind me now. But there is a kind of grace, a kind of beauty, in growing older. There really is. It's in knowing I've had a wonderful, joyous trip along the way and I'm still having some of the best years of my life.