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An Authentic Life is a Fluid Life

February 22, 2011

Spring is just around the corner! Change is good!

In other words, life is all about change. I know, what’s with that?!

I am only six months away from crossing another threshold. I am being launched, quite unwillingly,  into a new decade. I just got used to the last one! It seems like yesterday that I faced all of those enormous “growth opportunities” that enabled me to make some serious changes in my life, inside and out. I waged war with life and myself as I stared down the trials and tribulations of an empty nest, caring for my aging parents, menopause, and more. Through it all I truly believed I was headed for my final destination.  I was finally learning the last things I needed to learn, making the last adjustments that I needed to make to truly know myself.

It was a tumultuous few years, but I believed I was getting it right. This time, I would become me, arrive at my destination of a totally authentic self, and live happily ever after. This time, I was ahead of the curve. Ah, but those who think they know it all are the most deceived! I would not get my heaven on earth. I would not complete the “maturing process” and find nirvana. You know why? Of course you do. You’re smarter than me!

In this life, we don’t get to be done. We don’t get to figure it all out once and for all. Not ever. Not even when we’re 110. Westerners are painfully stuck in an achievers life view, even when it comes to personal and spiritual growth. We want to achieve perfection in all aspects of life and often refuse to rest until we arrive. That includes arriving at our authentic selves, our true selves, our wise and mature selves.

The truth is we don’t get it. We already are perfect. Perfectly human. And, being perfectly human means we are constantly changing, growing, adapting, developing, stretching, protecting, evolving and more or less groping our way through life. So even at fifty or sixty or seventy, when we’ve reached the age where we think we have lived long enough to know a thing or two, we still are the very same humans who were created to change and grow, to face new challenges that will change and shape us until the day we die. And who knows? Maybe beyond. I know, at times I don’t like it much either.

As I face this new decade, I now know my challenge is not to enjoy having “arrived” at some facsimile of my perfect self, but to learn to relax into my true nature, which is anything but static, and anything but perfect. Yes, I have learned a few things about who I am, but I am not beyond surprises. If I were to be really honest I’d have to admit that life would be pretty dull if we didn’t have a challenge or two to face and a new discovery to make just around the corner. Never knowing the end of the story keeps us striving and growing and learning. Now that we are truly a little bit wiser, it’s time for us not to give up the fight, but to look a little less at the destination and a little more at the ride. Today may just be as good as it gets.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. February 22, 2011 8:52 pm

    Wonderful Dorothy. I agree even when we Westerners try to adopt the concepts of the East, we try to do it in an achievement sort of way. Thank you for the reminder not to try to complete life TODAY!!

    • February 22, 2011 10:21 pm

      You’ve got that right Jill! I wonder how long it would take if we were immersed in the Eastern way of thinking to give up ours? Want to go sit on a mountain top? 🙂

      • February 23, 2011 5:30 pm

        Dorothy – I want to go sit on that mountain top with you! ^_^

        Jill, you are so right. It seems that we’ve been raised with achievement as our “A” grade in life. I am so ready to be over that and learn to really enjoy the time I have left here on this earth.

      • February 23, 2011 5:59 pm

        You can come Diane if you promise to bring some of your gorgeous jewelry! I’ll provide the drinks! 🙂

      • February 23, 2011 6:06 pm

        Thanks for your sweet compliments on my jewelry designs. I’ll be glad to bring it all! Won’t we look cute sitting on a mountain top with jewelry dangling from every orifice? ^_^

      • February 23, 2011 6:53 pm

        You bet! 🙂

  2. February 22, 2011 9:14 pm

    I remember approaching turning 60 & how unhappy I was about it. I didn’t care for the alternative – dead – and I did NOT want to be 60. I became calmer with it once I’d gotten through the knothole. Life on the “other side” is much like life before 60, with joys and sorrows, challenges and delights.

    And you’re so right, the learning, growing, changing, becoming goes on. We’re not “done” yet.

    • February 22, 2011 10:15 pm

      I’m delighted to see your smiling face here Bonnie! After all, you are my hero when it comes to Savoring Sixty! You make it look so easy! It’s been lingering in the back of my mind, haunting my every move for too long. Now that I’m getting it out in front of me maybe I can begin to embrace it somehow. I just can’t seem to get the clock to stop ticking! 🙂

      • February 23, 2011 3:45 am

        Hi, Dorothy! I’m honored to be your hero. I’m surprised to hear I make 60 look easy. I started “Savoring Your Sixties” because of how much I struggled with 60 and how few resources I found that were helpful to me. I figured I wasn’t alone in this & it turns out I’m not!

        From what I know of you, you’ll find your way through this & get to the other side, learning and sharing what you’ve learned for the benefit of all who follow after you.

  3. Cully permalink
    February 22, 2011 9:43 pm

    oh hunny… you will love being 30 😉
    and Today… it’s good but it’s only the beginning!

  4. February 22, 2011 10:03 pm

    Dorothy – You’ve hit another ball out of the park with this subject! I’ve been feeling the same way and come to the exact same conclusion. Great minds must think alike, huh? ^_^

    I’m learning to enjoy the ride a bit more now that I’ve come to realize that it was doing me no good to push the destination – a destination which was not only unattainable but indescribable. I didn’t even know where I was supposed to be going. Yet I was sure hurrying and stressing myself out to get there! Oy vey!

    Happy trails!

    • February 22, 2011 10:19 pm

      I’m glad to read I’m not alone in this crazy train of thought! Thank you for adding “a destination which was not only unattainable but indescribable. I didn’t even know where I was supposed to be going.” <– That would be me as well! Where, or where, am I going??? Oy vey indeed!

      • February 22, 2011 10:27 pm

        I was going to bed totally exhausted at night and then couldn’t fall sleep – or I’d wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to get back to sleep. I kept asking myself “where is this pressure and stress coming from?”

        I kept telling myself to slow down, slooooow down, SLOW DOWN but just couldn’t. I finally was able to hear the little nudging in my brain asking me where was I trying to get to so fast?

        All of a sudden it hit me that I it makes no sense in trying to hurry to get somwehere when I didn’t even know where that was or how I’d even know when I’d arrived b/c I didn’t know what I was supposed to have attained in order to arrive”. Another oy vey!

        So I’ve decided to take life one day at a time – and focus on not hurrying ANYWHERE! It’s actually pretty cool! ^_^

      • February 22, 2011 10:40 pm

        I am going to work on that Diane! Very Zen! 🙂

  5. February 22, 2011 10:28 pm

    Beautiful photo! and good thoughts. Sixty is very young. I went back to school at 67 for a doctorate and at 69 I graduated. The same year, started a new career at a university and worked three more years before trying retirement for the second time. Great journey.

    Graduate school was so easy this last time. There was no pressure to achieve. I was older than all my professors and would often laugh when I should have been serious. They finally realized it was just me enjoying doing something that I loved…learning.

    • February 22, 2011 10:48 pm

      Oh no! Now I have two heroes! I have always admired women who keep on learning no matter how old they are ~ who aren’t afraid to walk onto a college or university campus. There is so very much to learn and I have no doubt you could have taught your professors a thing or two! You are a wonderful role model and an inspiration. Thanks for your comments. (I took the photo in my sisters back yard last spring ~ it was so beautiful ~ hard to capture it on film (?? :)), in a picture!

  6. February 23, 2011 2:40 am

    I love this post, and I hope your next decade is full of joy and peace, but not boring. ;- ) I’m just into my forties, and so much of this rings true for me as well. If you’ve never read The Tao of Pooh, it is a great little book which is reflective of what you’re saying here.

    • February 23, 2011 3:11 am

      Thank you Lou! I have heard of the book but I have not read it. Your comment may just be the inspiration I need to pick up a copy. Thanks!

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