I will be turning 48, before my yogurt expires. I suppose I can now say that inevitable phrase, “late forties”… Sigh. So in thinking about my upcoming birthday, I often reflect and ponder the years past and where I stand today. I’ve had some shaky steps this year, but the ground I walk on seems quite solid. I think my once quick, nonstop speed has diminished in its vitality and vigor. I suppose with time, many things change and shift to some degree…
Last year I celebrated my birthday by taking a closer look at my body and all the gifts it truly holds. You can read that post here. So in light of celebrating my next step on the timeline, I recently wrote an “Ode” to aging and slowing down. This one’s for those who need inspiration or possibly affirmation- as that clock ticks on.
They say that as you age, you slow down.
Your metabolism burns those calories with less zeal, your stamina exhausts much quicker, and your muscles can’t handle the weight they once could.
Getting older may mean that your stride isn’t as quick as it once was, or perhaps the pace with which you calculate your day has slowly transformed to include interludes of rest.
Maybe growing older weakens muscles, depletes energy, and triggers new pains that once weren’t there. But there are far better reasons for this so-called lagging that those claims declare.
Surely our fast-paced rhythm has changed through the years because we realize that careless choices have consequences we no longer wish to bear. Our slowing steps are made with intention, so that we may embrace the moment more fully.
We have realized that time is something of value, so we are more liberal with our No’s and selective with our Yes’s. We are aware of our needs, and we’re not afraid to meet them.
We’ve learned that life is to be cherished, as we have felt the tragic sting of loss.
Our timeline has taught us that busy doesn’t deem us worthy, it only satisfies a perpetual desire we no longer have.
Maybe we have learned that some battles aren’t worth our energy or emotional expense. At this stage of the game, we live with resolve in who we are and where we’ve been- and we’ve learned that caring for oneself is mandatory. There’s no need for pushing so hard it hurts, and no desire to defend the very definition of who we are. But we are strong enough to stand up for what we believe in, with the magnificent combination of integrity and humility- both which comes with age.
We have already paced that path of acceptance, landing safely in our place. There is peace in knowing who you are, and when that ground has been established, there simply is no need to tire ourselves in defending it. We have the ability to step back and take in the big picture, so we no longer pick apart the gritty details of another life- but rather take in the view and contemplate a new perspective.
No, we haven’t slowed down because of our weariness or exhaustion from the years. It’s simply quite the opposite.
We have been made aware of moments that we may have missed, and now we are more deliberate in our decisions. We pause to reflect more on those gifts we once recklessly threw to the wind. We discover more depth in our view and understand more fully the meaning of our purpose. There is no need for sprinting, as we have finally figured out that life is a marathon and slow and steady truly does win the race. There is more to fulfillment than speed, we say.
There’s the richness in taking it slow, and delicately handling every morsel of time as though it were hard earned and must be savored.
We are inspired by thoughts that render action. We know where passion thrives and how to nourish it. Through the years, we have discovered that giving is more gratifying than getting. So we invest in others and support their cause. It may be that we ourselves have become leaders in our own mission, with a fierce fire that drives our plan. We have learned to navigate, delegate, and operate under difficult circumstances. We are masters of our domain, and we function more efficiently because we have learned what works and what doesn’t.
With these years, comes wisdom and with wisdom comes insight. Oh, the beauty in seeing beyond facades and focusing our eyes on what matters most. And although we can still run with the best of them, we stop to inhale the sweet life and all its fragrant surroundings.
You see, this is when the years become more about living than counting…
We still have the physical aptitude to experience everything we desire, and we’ve reached a point in our lives where we truly cherish it. We don’t live recklessly, running toward the goal- whatever that may be. We live miraculously; stretching toward the greatness of a life well lived.
There are dreams we have chased and perhaps caught. There are others we have let go. But we have slowly discovered that grace is more powerful than glory. And empowerment comes from within. So we dare to take risks as we carefully plan our course, and know deep down that the steps we take are to be celebrated, not hurried.
Failure and mistakes have become stepping stones rather than a harbor for self- hate. We have finally concluded that growth happens in the hardest places, so for that- we are grateful.
There are hidden truths we uncover that come with time. And when we find them, we can appreciate our strength and stamina and speed in completely different ways.
Actually, come to think of it…
It’s these years we are in the best shape of our lives.