My daughter, Becky, gave me a book for my birthday- On Women Turning 70: Honoring the Voices of Wisdom, by Cathleen Rountree. In the introduction this morning I read the words of one of the women she interviewed, May Sarton:
“This is the best time of my life. I love being old. I am more myself than I have ever been. I am happier, more balanced, and more powerful.”
“It is that ‘selfness’ that we all long for,” Rountree says, “the ability for the inner psyche and the outer expression to concur. This quality could also be called authenticity. When we are in our thirties, we sense that there is ‘more’ to life. I now believe that the ‘more’ for which we ceaselessly search outside ourselves is a level of comfort and acceptance with who we are inside. Unfortunately, it can take decades to reach that place – unless we have some powerful mentors.”
She adds later, “Of all the women I have interviewed, none would go back and change anything about her past, because each woman knew that her entire life had caused her to be the woman she is now.”
As I live my life today, I watch my younger family members I go through struggles not unlike the ones that I have had to endure. In the past, when I prayed for my loved ones, I would plead with God to save them from their troubles, but now I realize that it is in going through their difficult times their character is constructed. I am happier today because of all that I have learned trying to steer my ship through troubled waters. I finally handed the steering wheel over to my Higher Power to manage and that has changed the nature of my journey from exhaustion to exhilaration.
I don’t know if I am ready to say, with May Sarton, that I love being old. I am still trying to adjust to what that means for the body. But one thing I do love is this seeing from the higher view. I think I have had enough experiences in my life that I am able to identify in some way with just about anyone I meet. My empathy capacity is larger than ever before while my ability to refrain from emotional entanglements continues to be in tact (most of the time).