I am 61 years old. Sometimes I squirm in my chair, feeling awkward in my changing body. I wonder if I’ve made valid decisions about life, work and children. I’ve made mistakes. I have a few regrets. I wonder how things might have been different.
Driving down the road, looking in the rear view mirror, I see that the road behind me stretches farther back than the one ahead.
The passing of time appears linear but it’s quite elastic. As a teenager, the thought of living to age 61 was unimaginable
As a parent, there were nights that felt eternal when one of my babies was sick and crying for hours. There were days that seemed like they would never end when chasing two girls as toddlers, constantly trying to keep them from harm. Tension created by adolescent drama made an hour feel like months. Then suddenly, they were off to college, graduating and starting their own lives. Now, I look back at the past and the time seems fleeting. I’ve lived in different places, in changing political eras, and raised children all in the blink of an eye.
Chronologically, time doesn’t go faster as I age but it does feel that way. It’s the same 60 seconds, 60 minutes, 24 hours I’ve always had. If I stay present and mindful, time does slow down momentarily. I’ve spent many years working on understanding myself, our family dynamics, learning to communicate, how to be emotionally, psychologically and spiritually healthy.
In the future, I expect to be better at practicing lovingkindness, compassion and mindfulness. I understand the constancy of change. I’ve learned skills to help me cope with change. I have a relationship with nature that guides me through lunar cycles and solar seasons. Curiosity and creativity provide me with incentive to continue to grow. I know that I’m part of everything, I’m made of stardust. My inner strength increases as I weather challenges and some of the ravages of time.
Should I be blessed to live until a ripe old age, I believe that my inner world will expand as my outer existence contracts. The road will become more narrow, until eventually it’s a footpath I take as I let go and experience death as another form of birth.