Of course I knew I was growing older, I was never one to lie about my age, or resist the wrinkle or two that showed in the bathroom mirror, under hideous lighting, late in the evening. But, I guess I really did not have a handle on what was truly happening. My kids were growing up, and I did not equate that with my aging process. I was so happily focused on my children, I neglected the early signs, you know the ones I am talking about... A hangover after two glasses of wine. A slower giddy-up when taking up an exercise program for the tenth time. Or the change in hormonal balance, which caused hair to emerge on my chin and lip, literally overnight. No, none of these things had me thinking about getting older, as I accepted them and moved on with my parenting.
It was the day I suddenly could not read the menu at a local restaurant, that I was smacked into reality. How did my eyesight disappear so quickly? I had reading glasses, but did not need to use them all the time, and even when I did, it was because I liked the magnifying effect. But this was different, it was as if my eyes were not understanding, that I believed I was still just a young mother. By my sight failing me, it was a reminder that it was time to "look" around and see what was really going on.
What was going on, was hard to look at. No wonder I was avoiding it so long. The truth was, that while my kids were growing into beautiful teenagers, I also was growing, but I was not sure what this new stage of life was about. It was new territory. Rounding 50 is an interesting time, because even though you feel young, you are not blinded by the fact that you are only on this earth a finite amount of years. I had a brief pity party, then moved into a more productive mode. It was in this space that I decided to let life unfold, but with a focused intention.
Here are the top five things putting on glasses helped me to see :
Go out more. This is a big one for me. I found that I was saying no to invites to go out with my husband, friends, and couples. And why? Because of habit. In my kids younger years, (okay mine too), I loved to stay home and watch movies, enjoy their company and eat pizza on the weekends. But now, staying home looks like sweatshirts and sweats, re-runs of Chopped , with my husband, in an empty house. Don't get me wrong, this is a fabulous night, but not every weekend. Why are we not out taking a walk, having dinner, a movie or meeting friends? Probably because I did not want to admit that my kids were old enough to not need me hanging around the house. So, my intent is to go out more and enjoy. I know my 10pm arrival home is still earlier than their curfews, so I say carpe diem! Go out, have fun, enjoy yourself.
Let go of anything that does not make you happy I have recently begun purging things from my life, so much so, that it has been scary. There were many things I was doing in my life, just to do, to check a box, because it was what was expected. But my last birthday made me realize life is too short to do things you don't want to be doing. Honestly. Let go of it all. Do what makes your heart sing. Some of it was very easy, like letting go of extra volunteer jobs I had. However, others things I let go were very difficult, like cutting sugar completely out of my diet ( I am a mean lady on sugar), and releasing people from my life that are negative. It is important to let go, to make room for all you want and desire!
Travel. I just went away with my husband. It was the first time in 17 years that we have been on a vacation for more than a night away from the family. I was always so worried about the kids, and what would happen if we were away from them. So while they were growing up, we did travel a bunch, and it was great. But it is time now to also travel with my husband. To create memories as husband and wife, along with the memories as a family. My eye opening moment taught me to travel.... travel with family, travel alone, with your husband, with friends, but do it. It doesn't have to be something extravagant, just a night away in the town next door, or a beautiful, exotic, location. No matter, just don't put it off. It is so good for your soul to connect with other destinations, cultures, with other people.
Do the things that you have been waiting to do. One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given, was this: "Think forward into your last moments on earth, what are the things you have done that created joy for you? When you answer that question, you know what you need to be doing now" I heard that from someone about 20 years ago, and I STILL procrastinate and put off what I know will bring me joy. Well, now that I am seeing blurry, it somehow has made me clear. I started to travel more (see number 3), to exercise, to let my hair grow long, to write, to be a good friend and to inspire others. All things that bring me joy. Find what brings you joy and go for it!
Talk with your teens. My children are rounding adulthood. The conversations with them have transitioned into learning what they hold dear in their life. As they set forth into the world, it is beautiful to talk, listen and truly hear what they have to say. They have opinions on life; be it politics, parenting and education. And their opinions differ from mine, which is refreshing. As having clones of me running around, is not as exciting as having raised three, free thinking, intelligent children, who will add to the connection of society. Talk with your older children. Even though they are hulled up in their room, they really would love to talk. I found that out, by changing my questions of "how was school today" and "what are your grades?" to " what do you think?" The answers will astound you. I know they did me.
I love witnessing these teen years, and I also love the process of growing older myself, and hopefully wiser. I am glad my eyesight is going, because my heart has opened even more, to all that brings me joy.
Lucie Dickenson is an inspirational blogger, wife, and mom to three unique and wonderful teenagers. Through her writing and in her personal life, she loves to inspire others, finding what makes their heart sing, so they can live their truth every day.