It happens to me periodically. More and more.
I recognize less and less the person I see reflected. What to do about those new gray hairs?
Have you noticed new ones appear suddenly and then seem to fade away, until the next wave?
I attach meaning to every influx of silver streaks. I see them as evidence of recent struggle or of triumph. Two sides of the same coin.
The Price and the Gift of Time
I feel I earn each gray hair. I treasure them as trophies, little gifts and reminders from Time. That yes, life is passing, and while my time on earth is shortening, I am learning and the tradeoff–is so worthwhile.
I was giving my life away in an effort to secure my hold on “Love”, and couldn’t break myself free.
At the same time, I was horrified to witness the resurgence of these old codependent patterns and embedded and intertwined ideas about love, long term intimate relationships, and being a successful human being.
How do these messages get in and take hold, even when we don’t believe them, intellectually?
But there I was. Again.
Meanwhile, I was losing weight, disappearing into nothing.
My doctor who knew I had been diagnosed with Hashitmotos suggested I get my thyroid antibodies tested again. Normally a laid back practitioner, her concern alarmed me.
When the results showed my numbers had increased, she was worried. If she was worried, it must be really grave, I thought. I panicked. I thought I must be dying.
My food sensitivities suddenly increased and I could hardly eat anything.
I felt I was being painted into a corned.
I was certain my adrenals were shot.
I could barely sleep and I was obsessed with memories of my ex boyfriend.
I was in trouble.
Having been dealt a large helping of early trauma which affected me physically, emotionally and mentally, and which I believed was the source of my problems, I knew this was what I wanted and the only thing that would work. The one hour a day for a minimum six-month commitment didn’t daunt me a bit.
I had already designed my life to have time for what was important, and this was critical.
I practiced DNRS for a year and a half and my life changed.
I still had some physical symptoms, but the mental and emotional patterns that were ruling and ruining my life, subsided to a great extent. The unexpected miraculous benefit of my dedication to the program was that my perception of my early life shifted 180 degrees. I no longer saw my childhood and family life as horrible, bad, and lacking. My new, true story was, “I had a greatchildhood!”
My life was better than it had ever been.
After two years, I calmed down about the relationship and all the ways I had abandoned myself, despite decades of inner work. I moved forward with joy. I finished writing my memoir. I coached and helped clients around themes related to “self-care” with wisdom and compassion.
Through a modality called, NAET, (Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Techniques) I healed a lifetime of severe food sensitivities that was foundational to my experience until then. I literally reinstated my entire relationship with food and life.
I never felt better.
So how could I look so “bad”? (Do you notice I’m equating “bad” with “old” here?)
It didn’t seem fair.
When did holding my mouth tense create those dangerous vertical lines over my upper lip, reminiscent of my mother’s? “If I don’t want them to develop, I’ll have to always smile and never hold a serious expression”, I determined. “Well, that’s not such a bad lesson”, I concluded.
“But does life have to teach me in this way?” I complained.
What to do?
Remember that commercial, “You’re not getting older, you’re getting better?”
That’s how I feel inside. But the truth is, I am getting older. And I am getting better.
Every day. All the time.
How to Reframe Aging
So then, what would be healthy reframes for all of us midlife women?
- Physical signs of aging are the price and the gift of gaining wisdom and experience through time. And it is an amazing, fruitful realization and becoming. When I was younger I could not have imagined what was coming in terms of how my perception and experience of life would change. I now feel I’m joining my foremothers. So much of what they said suddenly makes sense. I feel compassion for their challenges and strengths as I couldn’t in my youth.
- We trade our youthful appearance for ever-deepening self-knowledge and acceptance. Being a newly blossomed flower is delightful. The energy of youth and fertility with all its eagerness and possibility is what springs us forward into our lives. Now we stand in the results of our earlier decisions with more perspective. We’ve experienced highs and lows, gratification and horrible regret. The good thing is, now we can choose anew. We can redirect our lives.
- As self-accepting women, we own and radiate our power to other mid-life women, offering them a different possibility.
In offering our hand by simply radiating who we are now–truly and simply, free of masks, wrinkles and allother women can receive the message that it’s okay for them, too, and for all women to be exactly who they are, out loud. We’re not meant to be eternally freshly blossomed flowers. It’s not natural. We are part of nature.
- As self-empowered women we model strength of character and ownership of it all– our light and our dark– for the younger women and girls behind us.
What would it be like for the next generations to get a glimpse early on, of a different vision and response to aging, the feminine, and womanhood? How being “pretty” and “nice” can make it easy for others, but to the detriment of ourselves.
- As we love and honor our lives, our histories, what we’ve endured and learned, we take our place in the necessary and timely upsurge of the Feminine in our world.
We are daring to topple the patriarchal lie about feminine submissiveness and
our bodies being objects for other’s pleasure.
- We’ve seen through the misrepresentations and manipulations of our patriarchal culture. We owe “them” nothing. The messages we received were passed along through the centuries, mostly not even conscious or thought out.
- Now, we can stand up and separate ourselves from misconceptions about how to live, what is success, and what is a woman.
- Now we can teach by example what a woman is. What the woman you have grown into is, stands for and knows.
Not by convincing, that’s the masculine way. But by standing rooted in all that you are, all that you have become. All the wrinkles and spots and silver hairs you have earned. Because it’s good, valid and important.
And for the world to evolve and transform healthily and sustainably, it needs more real right now.