Like many my age I’m rarely conscious of the fact that I’m now in my 70s. Oh, it shows up, like when a handsome young man gives me his seat on the bus instead of giving me the eye. (Although I swear another young man actually did the eye thing a week or so ago. I’m sure, because I was embarrassed and wouldn’t look at him again. I wonder what I missed?) Or when I walk uphill, or work out, it’s obvious to me I’m no longer… well, 20 anymore. I even find myself looking at ads that promise younger skin and sexy clothes for older women.
I’d really rather, however, to talk and think about the surprisingly good things that have and continue to happen to be simply because I’ve reached a certain age.
What other people think is none of my business
Yes, there was a book with that title. It was written by Terry Cole-Whitaker and I always thought the title said it all.
It wasn’t, however until maybe a decade ago that I realized I don’t really care what others think of me. Not much, and less all the time, and certainly not the way I did when I was a teenager and young adult. Or maybe the way to say it is I’m no longer invested in your opinion of myself. I don’t require you to think well of me for me to think well of myself.
This new attitude is, I think, mostly because I don’t take myself so seriously anymore — I accept my humanness which also means:
- I rarely care much when I’m wrong.
- For the most part I don’t care what you or anyone else thinks of me.
- When I do care what you think of me I get off it pretty quickly.
If you can get to this place of self-acceptance right now, I recommend it. It’s a much more pleasant way to be, around myself and around others.
I’ve actually got some wisdom
Turns out that we are capable of learning over a lifetime — not just academically, but about our relationships with our self and with others. A lot of what I term wisdom is really recognizing that what I was sure was going to kill me back then didn’t. I know because I notice I’m here. I lived through it, whatever it was, well.
You know what I mean, the loss of a romance or several as we were growing up that caused such agony. The death of our parents, other relatives and friends, even pets was so painful but we survived. I’ve also lived through now innumerable pre-printed and handwritten rejection slips, failure at various jobs, more than one divorce, arguments with my three kids even when they had become adults, etc. etc. etc. Lots went wrong yet here I am actually enjoying my life in a way I simply wasn’t capable of before I’d had the experiences I’ve had.
And in truth lots went right too. Although I don’t spend a ton of time reminiscing about what it was like then, I do find myself drawing on those experiences to live my life well today. That’s a pure delight.
Would I go back? Only if I could do it selectively, and even then I’m not sure I’d take the risk. I really do like where I am, and who I am now.
Love, blessings, and abundance,