what aging means to me*

And it was at that age …
poetry arrived in search of me...

And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry void,
likeness, image of mystery,
felt myself a pure part of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind.
— Pablo Neruda

Mmmm....this poem sent shivers down my whole body the other day because I've been thinking about age and aging and the words "felt myself a pure part of the abyss"...sort of defined what has been happening to me as I grow older.  I have always had such a wandering spirit and have questioned why I never really felt like I belonged anywhere.  Bits and pieces of me, yes but not the whole of me in any one place.

What I've come to grasp in the last two decades of my life is that there is finding in the (un)finding...belonging in the (un)belonging...that we are all part of this grand Universe, this "abyss" and our very (be)ings and the ripple effect we have on each other is important, each of us deeply important...spirit, soul, earthly connected.

Aging isn't what I imagined it to be for me.  I thought I would be utterly consumed with my body changing and wrinkles and gravity on what surrounds my bones.  And there are moments when I do gasp at these changes but they are fleeting.  What I'm loving so much is the wisdom, from all of the achy parts of life, sweeping me up and moving me through what is my now.  I feel more comfy in my skin than I ever have and I know myself deeper.  I see my body as a being carrying my spirit and I listen deeper to it, I honor it and find it precious: The Keeper of my Soul.  Like right now, I've had pneumonia for two weeks and where before I would push myself to please others, I am listening to what my body needs, I am speaking up about what my body needs and realizing that me being unwell is not good for the loves in my life.  There is a ripple effect, always.  If I take better care of me, I can take better care of my loves.

Perhaps what comes with aging for me is being deeply intimate with all the layers of myself, which then guides me in what I can offer to this Grand Abyss called Life.  Perhaps what comes with aging is less of a desire to impress and more of a desire to BE myself completely without need of recognition.  Perhaps what comes with aging for me is learning what matters most and pouring my reserves into those people and things that fill me up rather than deplete me.

15 years ago, heck maybe even 10 years ago I may not have posted this image of me (above) because of the not so flattering angle of my short and muscular legs.  I wanted to be something different, perhaps longer and leaner than I was and today, I love my short and muscular legs.  They carry me and they help carry my heavy son up and down the stairs and they wrap tightly around my husband and hold him close.  It feels good, so good to feel this way and what I see in this image is the woman I have become and the little girl that still lives within me...feeling connected, intertwined, accepted, embraced.

20's, 30's and now my 40's...I feel so blessed to even be here to write these words about aging and yet I know there is so much more, so much more wisdom to gain. 

My dear friend Susannah reached out and asked some of us to write how we feel about our age or aging, in light of her 41st birthday that is today.  I'm honored to be part of this sexy collaboration.  It speaks very deep to me.  Her post and others listed here.

Happy Birthday, Sus!