Driving down to Hampshire last weekend to visit my elderly mother, I savoured the beautiful countryside after being confined in London. Although some of the trees were still holding on to their summer greenery, others were welcoming autumn in a blaze of glorious colour.
It made me think about ageing, one of the great transitions and transformations of life.
Inevitably as we pass landmark birthdays the landscape of our world starts to change. We move into another season of life, becoming aware that we aren’t immortal, that our hold on the things we treasure is tenuous.
As children are leaving home, we may become carers to our parents. We lose family and friends to age and illness. Our own bodies begin to betray us. One day we can jump off a wall and run for a bus (and catch it!) – and then a day comes when we just don’t bounce the way we did…
But there are so many good things about growing older too. Think of the beautiful autumn colours. Like many trees, we can become bolder and more brilliant in the autumn of our lives. As trees shed their leaves so we can shed our inhibitions and our fear of what others will think – and do the things WE want to do, whatever they may be.
We’ve lived through a lot of different challenges and acquired a wisdom we just didn’t have in our younger days. This can help us face whatever awaits us with greater equanimity and resilience.
We still have the capacity to grow – in some ways more than ever. Those of us who have been lucky enough to create more time for ourselves can indulge in lifelong passions or learn new things and find new passions. Or both!
OK, we’ve still got responsibilities, but we don’t need to let them dominate us. I know women who felt defined all their lives by their roles: being a mother, a wife, a teacher – now is the time to define ourselves. To choose our own way.
For myself, I’m doing more new things than I ever have before. Life feels like an adventure again. What can you do to give yourself a new lease of life?
You may find inspiration in these posts: Never stop learning; my dog grooming challenge and What do you want more of in your life? or in this Tiny Buddha post which suggests 30 ways to live life to the fullest [tinybuddha.com].
Autumn has always made me feel melancholy in the past. Summer’s over, the nights are drawing in (as my grandmother used to say) and there’s a chill and the musty scent of decaying vegetation in the air. It always felt to me like the end of something rather than a beginning.
But just as there are advantages to ageing, I’m determined to look at Autumn with different eyes as well, and focus on the positive. The glowing colours, the crisp bright days, cosying up in front of Strictly with the cat in my lap (she loves my cuddly cold weather jumpers) and a glass of red wine. It’s already sounding good!
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