Journalist, lawyer, artist, creative, singer, TV-show host, winemaker, and archaeologist are just a few of the jobs I knew I wanted to try in my lifetime. I always had big dreams. A desire to get out and see the world and to make some kind of difference to someone, somewhere. I still feel this way. But I’m more realistic about time these days. They say time flies and it does. It surely does.
I posted on Instagram the other day that turning 30 was hard. And I got a lot of “Happy Birthday” comments which was sweet. The thing is it wasn’t my birthday, I turned thirty some time back and my birthday is actually in January. When we talk about aging, it’s like people assume it’s related to a birthday. As if that’s the only point we actually speak of the time that has passed (I’m not calling anyone out here, I do it myself all the time!) but time is passing every millisecond. Every little moment that is lost in time and now preserved as a memory. A manipulated one-sided multi-media painting of that moment. The very same moment could have a completely different painting for someone else. Because even when we try to see things from different perspectives – you are you. And you will keep being you. Your set of beliefs, your eyes, and your perception. Your hearing and interpretation. When a moment has passed, all we have is our version of what happened.
So yes we tend to talk about time passing when someone’s celebrating their birthday. But I would like to talk about time passing as a constant reminder we live alongside every day of our lives. Not just one day per year.
I looked at myself in the mirror the other day. A new wrinkle that I have seen before has appeared next to my left eye. A small wrinkle, almost cute. Yet a sign that time passing. It got hard to breathe. Another reminder. I am aging. And I don’t necessarily mind that wrinkle, but the thought of life passing can choke me up. Hard. And if I don’t mind that my exterior looks different than when I was in my 20’s, what is it that restricts my breath into shallow, short pulses and my stomach turning upside down when I’m reminded of this?
Because to me, aging is in many ways a beautiful thing. Like a friend said “Aging is time passing and wisdom gained” and I agree. That’s a beautiful way of looking at it. What stresses me out so much is the fear of not doing enough. I might not be loving, living or laughing enough. Worried that I, as a person am not enough. That I don’t have enough time left to do the things I want. To achieve all the big things I once dreamt of. I’m still not a lawyer! I still haven’t made my own wine! And an archaeologist degree is really far away (unless we count researching family histories and deep-digging in Loppis and flea markets!). It simply feels like I have so much left that I want to do, and yet time is just swishing by me. I thought at this age I would have kids and horses – or at least my own freaking cat. But nope. Lauren and I have traveled way too much and been far too busy “doing the world” for any of those things to have come true yet. And I would straight up lie to you – and myself – if I didn’t say that this is stressing me out.
Another perspective I’d like to point out, that I see as the bright side of this coin, is my passion and lust for life. Had I not loved life and all the endless possibilities so dang much, I wouldn’t have cared whether I made my wine, had horses, traveled, wrote songs or produced documentaries. But I do love life! I love that we don’t know what’s around the next corner. Things seem to happen when we least expect it. So I want to offer some duality here. At the same time as my desires to do a million things in life stresses me out as I’m aging, I still wouldn’t trade them for anything. Without dreams and passions, I don’t think my life would be nearly as wonderful as it is.
So what do I do?
How can aging become less stressful?
Is there a way to find inner peace when knowing that I won’t have time to try all the things I dreamed of?
How can I shift the stress of the unachieved into gratitude for the experiences?
If you can relate to this, I bet you’re hoping for me to present a magic formula that will reveal all the answers. But I will disappoint you. I don’t have that magic formula. But what I do have to offer is a fresh perspective of aging. A sort of approach that helps me deal with these emotions. To me, the key is to remember. You have to remind yourself of all that you HAVE done. If you’re anything like me, it’s super duper easy to forget all the things we already have seen, done and felt. We work hard towards something for a long time and the minute it’s over – we forget to pause and celebrate. We just go on the hunt for the next thing. And the next. And the next.
The answer for me is CELEBRATION.
Stop hunting for a while. Even stop the dreaming of future achievements and goals for a while. Stop wondering if you’ll make it to that girl’s trip next summer. Of if you’ll finish that book by the end of this year as you promised yourself. Just stop all of what the future is and celebrate the NOW. Like I mentioned in the beginning of this post… the moment that has passed is now simply your own painting of what was. The future is a mystery that no one can promise us. But we do have now. If we stop and celebrate everything along the way, the unachieved just becomes less important. Less sad or frustrating. It makes so much sense because we’re pushing ourselves into celebrating what is rather than what isn’t.
Like I mentioned in the beginning of this post… the moment that has passed is now simply your own painting of what was. The future is a mystery that no one can promise us. But we do have now. If we stop and celebrate everything along the way, the unachieved just becomes less important. Less sad or frustrating. It makes so much sense because we’re pushing ourselves into celebrating what is rather than what isn’t.
To me, this perspective is medicine. Whenever I feel stressed over a new wrinkle, cellulite or a deadline I missed, I stop for a while. If it’s hard to focus, I take out my journal and start jotting down all the things I feel grateful for. All that has happened and all that is happening. You’ll see how quickly it all piles up. You feel the gratitude growing and the stress decreasing. Make yourself a yummy cup of tea. Or treat yourself with an ice-cream. Or massage. Or why the heck not pop a bottle of cat milk (champagne)?
That’s what I intend to do today. I will celebrate my new wrinkle and all the things that are. Now.
Now ask yourself, how do you feel about aging? Are you stressed with all the things you haven’t quite managed to pull through? Look inwards. Look around you. Grab your journal and start your list of all the amazing things you are, you have done, you have been, where you are today. And the work and experiences it took you to be here. You are amazing. And aging can truly be beautiful.
With much Love and Gratitude,
Ps. This was totally unintentional, but check out the words I wrote in all caps: HAVE. CELEBRATION. NOW. Magic you guys 😉