Life is so unreasonably fascinating.
No matter how hard we try to bend and shape it into a form that works more conveniently, it follows its own formidible, self-determined path. Doors open; doors snap shut. Age takes us, uncannily, by surprise. I suppose that's the vanity in us humans. We see ourselves in mirrors and our eyes correct what photos cannot deny. We find out that wrinkles don't hurt, even when they appear in multitude. We become softer. We look, well, more vulnerable. The edges are more rounded - worn down by time and experience - sometimes gently and sometimes with a harshness like a sandstorm on a piece of soapstone.
I get tired, so exhausted that I can't really think. My brain hurts. It's part of being 58 and having juggled too many balls for too long. It seems the only solution I can find for dropping balls is to find new ones - new, more complicated, shiny ones.
Because I'm still so damned interested in just about everything I do. I love thinking, engaging, meeting new people, discussing, trying new ways of creating art or working on a start up or designing a house. I love all of it so much. I think, much more than a passion for one thing, curiousity about many things has helped me negotiate a complicated and sometimes precarious path. Sometimes my energy level can't keep up with my curiousity. That's when my brain hurts.
I'm lucky. I've done many things that have thoroughly interested me. I've taken risks and plunged into very diverse lifestyles in different countries doing different things. I became a student who never stops learning. The same things that taught me wild and beautiful lessons have also flooded me with anxiety and pain. They've pushed me over limits I never thought I would supercede. I've faced enormous fears that I fully believed were not survivable and survived. These are the lessons of this path that I was meant to learn.
As hard as it's been at times, and it's been ridiculously hard, I never want it to stop, because it's absolutely magical.
When we shut out what naturally sparks us, we kill off pieces of ourselves. And as we age, that's dangerous. Because engaging with our own spirit, our own nature, however insanely difficult that might be, is what this aging process is to meant be about. Pulling back will happen naturally as aging moves into out-of-life transition - but until then, engaging is something that keeps us in expansion.
When I look around at people older than myself, I am most touched by those who continue to engage with the things they love right up until they can't. People for whom the word "retirement" doesn't really exist. Grandfathers who help their granddaughters in the vineyards. Older artists and scientists who still read, create, and challenge their own set of beliefs. People who know they don't have all the answers and allow for input and change. People not permanently stuck in their own ideas of religion or dogma or ideology. These are the people who move me the most and who I want to emulate as I advance in age.
I know this means I'll have to continue to take risks and continue to make mistakes. Those things have been scary enough up to this point - I am quite sure they will continue to terrify me as the years go by. But the alternative is to contract and whither. For whatever it's worth, I don't think that's an option for me. Not as long as I have the strength to fight on.
I will, however, allow for more naps. I will definitely do that.