The Wisdom of Time
Inspiration for this month’s letter appeared in a submission by long time Natural Awakenings contributor and Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Bonnie McLean. When I read her perspective on the topic of our feature article, “Aging Gracefully,” it was clear I couldn’t say it any better, so enjoy this wise woman’s words:
I celebrated my 68th birthday a few months ago, and it was the best birthday of my life, or at least that I can remember. It was only yesterday that I was in nursing school looking ahead at a life full of adventure that seemed to stretch out in front of me forever. I was beautiful (all young people are); my body fit into my clothes without pooches and sags; and I never could have imagined my face with lines and wrinkles. And suddenly, my role model is Betty White! I realize that more of my life is behind me than is in front of me.
So, geez, why does my life feel so good? A dear friend, Tom McKnight, would have said, “Around age 50 is when we begin to become human beings. Until then, we don’t have a chance, because we have not yet learned how to accept life on life’s terms. We keep thinking our will is running the show. We think that things happen because we make them happen. It’s not until we get beaten down a few times that we gain some compassion and realize that it is the heart that matters.”
Would I want to be 20 or 30 again? You bet! But only if I could know then what I know now. Otherwise, I would not want to go back to a time when everything of value revolved around the external world – how I looked, how much attention I got, what I achieved, if I had a boyfriend, how much money I had. In my 40s and 50s I was still trying to “fix” myself. Life will mold us, whether we allow it or not. If we ignore life’s lessons, we stagnate. And fighting them only wears us out and makes us old.
To this, I say, “Hooray!” because outward beauty is always trumped by the inner beauty cultivated by the wisdom of time. Don’t let those lines and wrinkles, pooches and sags remind you of the years gone behind; instead, rejoice in their presence, fully aware that you wouldn’t be who you are today without them.
Thankfully, doctors and anti-aging specialists are developing new regimens and therapies to help us maintain our physical health, mental clarity and joy for life throughout our youth and latter years. Detoxification and hormone support are just a few that we highlight this month. With the right approach and attitude, a long, healthy, happy life can be experienced by all. So bring on the years and all that comes with them. That is life!
Wishing all mothers, young and wise, a lovely Mother’s Day this month!