Now that I am fully one year plus into my sixties, I have lately had occasion to look back and wonder about what I’ve been up to for the last forty years. I have a theory that in our twenties we’re trying to figure out who we are and how to be here. In our thirties we work like crazy to build our professional lives, which seems to require a lot of pleasing, obeying the rules, setting up systems and being productive according to the standards of the millieu we relate to.
In our forties, we look around and start wondering if we really want to keep pleasing all those people! We start finding ways to please ourselves. At forty-five or so, we become more discerning about whom we’re spending time with and how we’re spending that time, but I can now see I was still rather naive about that–even though society considered me an adult, I can see how limited my scope still was at that age.
We turn fifty and look around and realize (about some people) we don’t even like them! And after fifty-five, it is highly possible that we no longer give a flip about what others think and move down the life path listening to our own inner voices about what works and doesn’t work for us. That doesn’t mean we are completely devoid of pleasing others, as I have come to see it is part of the life journey to sort out and sift through relationships and decide what fits at any moment.
So, was any of that a waste of time?
I hear clients moan about their past, musing that they have wasted years going in one direction or another, whether with work or relationships, and regretting having made those particular choices, because today, they see how it could be different. My response is, so what? If they hadn’t made those choices, would they be who they are today? I don’t think so……….
And this leads me to my two resolutions for this new, unformed year I am embarking on:
- I hereby resolve to embrace and be grateful for what IS, instead of what could have been.
- I hereby resolve to have more fun, live more fully and enjoy being out in the world making new friends and growing new relationships.
I know that many see me as one who already does the above in spades, however, I am the one who lives inside myself, and I know the ways I self-sabotage in both those areas. So, I am making a public commitment (even though I don’t actually think anyone else is reading this, but I’m putting it out for the record) that I am aware of my own ways I diminish myself, and I am willing and ready to step beyond that and blossom in new ways this year.So, the thing about wasting time is this: If I had been “smarter” or “cooler” or more discerning, more careful, more cautious, more reasonable, less impulsive, less carefree, more fearful–I could go on and on–than I was in the past, then I wouldn’t have experienced all those amazingly challenging and inspiring situations that led me to the me I am today. So no matter WHAT I did, I wasn’t wasting time. I was evolving myself, my awareness, my abilities to live, love and learn in new ways. And for that, I am deeply grateful.