If I’d known how much fun life as an elder would be, I would have done it earlier.
The reality of aging is far removed from any misconceptions I held as a younger woman. I’m delighted to find my youthful view was sorely mistaken. It’s the best time of life.
I watched my parents as they aged and wondered, what was the purpose of it all. Each day was filled with the same activities, the same routine, the same, the same, ad nauseum. To my young mind, they seemed to be the living dead, just living out their days in a repetitive routine.
They’d spent their lives dedicated to supporting and raising a family, but they’d not spent any time discovering or following their own passions. I clearly remember my workaholic father sadly telling me in his senior years, “If I’d only known how little it (work) mattered, I’d never have lived my life the way I did.”
Sadly, in his later years, my Dad recognized the error of not finding and following his own passion and purpose, of not finding his own unique brand of creative expression. There were so many things he wished he’d tried, but he never found the time. I didn’t want to make the same mistake.
Henry Ford one said: “If you keep thinking what you’ve always thought, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.” A new experience of life requires a new idea.
I decided to follow my heart and returned to college when my children were young. I wanted to be a nurse. And, so I did. I thought my evolution would end there, moving from housewife and mother to a staff nurse in a hospital. But again, I was wrong. The adventure had only just begun.
One day, a colleague arrived at work filled with excitement. She was lit up. Her exuberance filled the room as she excitedly shared pictures and stories about her pottery classes. Her sense of aliveness and vitality were contagious.
Oddly, I felt panic rising in my body, I recognized my life had been so filled with work and doing what needed to be done, and I’d never found or cultivated my own passion. I was soon to turn 40, a big year. It was time for a change.
Memories of my father came flooding back and I knew it was time to wake up and find what would light up my world. This was a pivotal moment for me. There was so much I felt I had to do, but nothing I loved to do.
I started to check within, asking myself what I loved to do and who would I love to be. You can’t ask questions of your soul without receiving an answer—and then listen and take action.
Since that day more than 25 years ago, my life has become an epic journey of discovery of who I am and what exists inside of me. Breaking the mold I thought was cast for me, I started to take risks. I started to follow my own heart’s calling. In doing this, I have lived a life uncommon, and I’ve loved every minute of it.
My heart’s call has led me on an adventure of a lifetime. At times it maybe didn’t make sense to the world but it has made sense to me.
When I write about something making sense, I’m not referring to the logical mind. For something to make sense for me, it makes my senses tingle. It’s a knowing that transcends what the mind understands. It feels right. It makes sense.
Following the deep-knower within, I’ve never been led astray. I’ve travelled an unusual path, but it’s always been right for me. l feel more alive than I ever did in my youth. I remain amazed as I discover new abilities, talents, and passions as they emerge.
These are my harvest years; harvesting all of the wonderful fruits of the bounty of my life and, sharing them with the world, as only I can. You can’t learn this stuff in a text book. I believe a secret to a rich life is spending myself with passion. In the spending, in the giving, I am fed. And you don’t have to wait as long as I did.
This spending of my life’s harvest draws people into my life who seem eager to partake as I express myself through teaching, speaking, ministry, and writing.
Stretching myself outside of my own comfort zone has been essential. Comfort is over-rated and it’s been years since I’ve been comfortable. I’ve learned “perfect” is just a word in the dictionary, and often it is an imitation of what someone else has done.
Creativity is not doing what others have done. It’s not copying and coloring within the lines. It’s making something new, as only I can. Life isn’t one-size-fits-all.
Within each of us lies a seed of creativity that’s unique to each one of us. It’s the seed of who we’re here to be. The evolution of our creative capacity expands and changes through life as we open to new ideas.
What’s something you’d love to try? What’s stopping you? Maybe stretch yourself a little because life begins at the edge of your comfort zone.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.