My experience so far has been that each decade of my life has been an improvement over the last. I’m better at being and managing myself as time goes on, better at steering around potholes BEFORE they bend the rim of my tires.
I’m better at detaching from great excesses of emotion–wild highs or despairing lows–without for a moment detaching from the bread and butter feelings of happiness, sadness, or discontent. In a paradoxical sense, this has freed me to be more passionate about the things that give me pleasure (writing!) or offend my sensibilities (that’s another post entirely).
I’m more in control of my time and energy. I’m less plagued by others’ expectations of me. I’m spending more time around the people I enjoy, and less around the people I don’t. I’m happier and more free.
And these gifts have befallen me without my making conscious goals out of any of it. Maybe this is grace, maybe this is the blessing of time, maybe it’s waning hormones, maybe it’s a pair of rose colored glasses that will hit the floor and shatter in another couple years. For now, as we stand at a point in the year when one season is yielding to another (and here comes my favorite time of year), I’m just plain grateful.
If you’d told me twenty years ago, that I was coming up on a time in life when I could do mostly what I wanted to do for half the work week, have mostly the people in my life whom I enjoyed tremendously, have all my material needs met, and look forward to each day… I would have wondered what I had to do to make all that happen.
People ask me why my books have children in them, but it’s also worth pondering why I have the occasional mature characters–Their Graces, Aunt Ariadne, the old duke and duchess. Maybe this is why: Because later in life comes a vindication of hopes you never knew you had, that someday your hard work and determination would pay off. In confidence, in competence, in tolerance and understanding.
And that vindication gives you the courage to keep hoping, for yourself, for your species, for your planet. It’s as Elizabeth Thompson quoted on my Facebook page this week, “Come along, grow old with me. The best is yet to be…”
What gifts has time bestowed on you that your forgot to ask for? What insights have you gained about yourself over time, or about how to keep yourself out of trouble?
To one commenter, I’ll send an $25 Amazon gift card.