Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been. ~ David Bowie
I was the person who was always plagued with self-doubt. I was contemplative when I wanted to be witty, academic when I wanted to be athletic, second when I wanted to be first. It seemed as though I was always in someone else’s shadow. I wasted so much energy seeking someone else’s approval or affirmation. I spent too much time looking outward and seeing all the things my friends and colleagues were achieving, while remaining blind to my own accomplishments. I took humility to a whole new level.
In the past two years I have been through my husband making a job change and then losing that job, him finding another job and three months later having quadruple by-pass surgery, being a caregiver during his recuperation, struggling to make ends meet, losing my mother first to dementia and then to death, and then turning 60.
I think I am finally the person I should have been. I love learning and honing my craft(s), but my work does not define me as it use to. It is the life lessons that have made me who I am today. I know what is important and what isn’t, what I should be concerned about and what I shouldn’t, who will be there for me and who won’t.
As I have aged I have needed to lean on my husband, my children, my siblings, and my cane some days, but that is OK. When I lay my head down on my pillow each night, I know that I have given the best that I could to my students, my colleagues, my family, but most importantly to myself. I no longer need to search for validation.
Aging helped me put things into perspective, to see things with a clearer view, to stop worrying about what anyone else thinks I should do. When you get to what you know is the second half of your life (or quarter or eighth) you think about time in a whole new way and with a whole new appreciation for its passing.
I am who I always should have been – a wife, a mother, a mother-in-law, a nona, a sister, a teacher, a writer, a friend. I have learned who I can count on, who will be there for me, and who matters most in my life.