When I was younger… every problem was a crisis. My body would become a prison, out of my control and reacting to the chaos. Things were, in a manner of speaking, always the end of the world. And no one could possibly know what I was going through.
Now I am learning… life transpires and I continue. My breath is always there and I can master the beat of my heart if I focus on it. Tomorrow always comes, no matter what happened today. Problems are ordinary, insignificant and surmountable- most of the time. And even if crises occur, I know I’m not the first person to move through this particular hic-up, nor will I be the last. And I remain connected.
When I was younger… I held myself to such strict standards, disregarding that which did not match my narrow worldview, criticized myself and others for not living life according to plan and was confused as to why I could not follow the small, blind path I set out for myself.
Now I am learning… to allow myself space to be without doing, feel without thinking, observe without judging. To welcome new perspectives and recognize how singular and unique my own human experience is, and how vastly different others are. There is no plan other than to live and my path is unknown, but my eyes are open.
When I was younger… I was full of passion and fire, ideals and expectations, fears and doubts, criticisms and judgments. I knew everything and could not be taught. The world was a place to conquer and control. People were categorized, filed and assumed.
Now I am learning… To be forever full of wonder and awe, thoughts and simple clues, faith and comfort, welcoming and openness. I know nothing, but have gained so much perspective. The world is a place to be a part of and nothing but gratitude is an appropriate response. People, even those I know best, are new and different everyday.
When I was younger… the world was cold, harsh and full of dangers and traumas. Life became a series of let downs and disillusionments. I had to be on guard, protect myself. Experience was a cruel teacher.
Now I am learning… the world is a place of wonderment, if I look at it the right way. There is beauty and joy, even in the darkest corners of life. I become just a little more graceful with each breath and the best is still to come. I must be open, teachable, grateful. Experience rewards me richly with understanding and wisdom.
When I was younger… life was beautiful… if I was standing on top of a mountain, or looking out at a tropical sunset, or viewing the vista of rooftops in Florence, or feeling the ocean spray on my face as waves crashed violently into the shore, or standing in a silent forest.
Now I am learning… life is beautiful during the quiet, ordinary moments. Sitting in the terribly familiar space of my own room. Or snuggling in bed on a Saturday morning, curled up against the one I love. Or having a conversation with a friend during my lunch break.
And I am so grateful.