Sunday, December 7, 2008

back to the beginning ...

My confident, self-assured granddaughter is reaching the age (nearly 12) where it's starting to be important to "fit in" with her peer group, part of the normal socialization that we humans go through. Thankfully, I'm of an age where "fitting in" is no longer really a concern of mine.

When we're younger, we're more self-conscious about how we look, how we act, what we do, what we have. No one wants to be in the freaks-and-geeks crowd. We're much more self-critical ("I look horrible today!") and we're subconsciously constantly aware of the social cues of others. Oh, the peer pressure of tweens/teens!

I'm of an age where I'm free from worrying about what anyone else thinks, free from worrying about whether I'm attractive enough or thin enough or wearing the right clothes or hairstyle. (I actually leave the house without makeup some days!) I'm much, much more accepting of myself - exactly as I am - than I ever used to be.

Have you seen that Kaiser Permanente commercial with Michelle Shocked's song "When I grow up, I want to be an old woman?" It always makes me want to get up and dance in the living room (and sometimes I just go ahead and do it!) Oh, the joys of being less self-conscious and simply living life unfettered by insecurities and others' expectations. I love it!

When we're born, we're totally free and unencumbered, still filled with light, still connected to heaven, not yet fully embodied into human form. We can still see angels, hear the voices, laugh at "nothing", be utterly delighted for no reason. We can wear silly hats, silly clothes and act silly and everyone thinks we're cute as can be. We don't feel any need to "fit in." We're content simply in being. We accept ourselves and most everyone and everything around us without judgement.

Somehow we lose that along the way. But as I grow older, I find myself reverting closer to my original state. I smile as I drive to work, for no good reason other than I'm happy. And I'm happy for no good reason that I can pin down. The simple act of taking Communion in church or going to yoga fills me with simple contentment. I accept things more easily, release things more easily, judge others less and accept them for who they are.

I know some women who are always asking "What do you think she meant by that?" "Why do you think they did that?", always suspicious, always wary of what others are thinking of them. I'm just so glad to be past all that! I don't put much thought into others' motivations. I've learned that it's not up to me to figure other people out; I need to figure me out. That's all. I find the subject matter more interesting anyway. [wink]

One of my role models is Grandma, 93 years young. She's actually my ex-husband's grandmother, but she remained a part of my life after my divorce, lucky me! When I saw her yesterday, she pulled down her turtleneck to show me her wrinkled neck, totally un-self-conscious. What young woman would willingly point out her flaws and laugh about them? I love that woman!

And I love this age! The body ain't what is used to be, but the spirit is getting closer to what it used to be when I first arrived here. Accepting myself exactly as I am, without reservation, quirks and all.



Speaking of acceptance, I'd like to point you to a wonderful post from Rebecca at Just a Thought, a beautiful tribute to her eccentric dad: . Enjoy!


Kat said...

Thank you for the great read! This pretty much sums up how I feel. Although Im not laughing at
my wrinkles...yet. lol! I never tried to fit into any peer group which makes me an odd duck I guess.
I know your Gran will find her way. She is such a beautiful girl inside and out!

Amber said...

I completely agree, Rose. I love how on the cusp of 40, I am so much more at ease in my own skin and I really don't care about impressing people, etc.

On the other hand, some societal "normalization" is necessary for a functioning society. It's all about balance and IMHO, "The Middle Way".

maitlandmommy said...

Rose - i couldn't agree more. I cared a great deal what other people thought when i was in my twenties. In my thirties it started to fade away. Now that i'm almost 40 (where does the time go?) i care most about what I think. Do i like myself, as i am today? What kind of legacy - mostly spiritual/emotional am i leaving behind?

rebecca said...

Oh, Rosie, I am here reading your wonderful post and nodding, saying yes, yes, yes! that is exactly how i feel and then i see you've linked my post to my dear heart - my sweet, ole' dad. Thank you, Rose. How very, very sweet and how touching!

Now, I am reading this and I love how you write that our lives come full circle: we are born without judgement, free in spirit and love, appreciative of the simplest things, and as close to our natural selves as possible. Then, we begin to grow and with that comes judgement, criticism, etc. I find these years of our lives the very hardest. It just takes soooo much energy to be worried about yourself and about what others do, think, etc. Why? Why do we do that? I suppose it's immaturity.

I'm 50. And I have never felt so 'free' and happy in my life. It is like I am reliving my childhood again. I wear what I want, I go without makeup many times, I laugh loud, I go against the grain and tell people I like this or that, or him or her, when I know full well they will not be happy with it....who cares? I don't anymore. It is liberating, but it is also living more compassionately. We should accept everyone as they are and be a little more understanding, we should dispense with the constant gossip and criticism and judgement (who here does not live in a glass house?) and just live OUR lives; mind your business with the rest. but your post brought to mind some women i know who are much older than me and yet have not reached this level of understanding and maturity yet. the cattiness and gossip still exists and i tell you, it wears me down! i just walk away because i can't deal with it anymore. come on, people, life is beautiful and it's happening right now around you -- live it!

thanks for this, dear heart, and, if don't return before Christmas, have a wonderful one!


Connie said...

Rose, this hits home for me. I just received a note from my DD (she had her Christmas Party yesterday with all of her DH's family and they always include us)and she stated that "you will always be a kid at heart Mom and I love you for it." I just love Christmas and I express it with what ever I receive. Lisa's MIL always has a theme each year for the grandchildren and one of the rewards at the end was an Elmo. I had seen one in the store but its only program to say a few words. I went crazy in the store because I thought it was so cute. Well, they turned that thing on and it just went on and on and my eyes got bigger and bigger and I started laughing and thowing my hands in the area and mimic Elmo. I simply forgot about all the people. Everyone was laughing at me because I felt so free to enjoy the moment to the fullest. At age 67, I am doing things I never thought I would do and enjoy every moment I have left here on earth.

I went to a ladies Christmas Party at church last week and the weather was rainy, cold and just miserable. I thought to myself I had better park farther down for the "older" ladies could park closer. Than I started laughing, it dawned on me I was one of the "old" ladies that was attending and I could park close if I wanted to. LOL

Love your blog - as always it fills my heart with love and joy.


Lady Prism said...

Hi there Rose. I feel this way too. Last night I was telling my husbnd how I feel likt I had been enveloped in layers and layers of me, and like an onion, these layers are peeling off to revel the core of who I am.

But, he said, " an onion doesn't have a core."

Which is really beside the point right? (he!he!) I was expressing exactly what you wrote here about how I feel more settled with myself, not having to go prove anything, or seek anyone's approval, or, impress anyone.

I am looking forward to growing older..truly.

Rose said...

I have to post a comment from a dear, treasured friend of mine, a seeker of Truth, a wise heart:

As we move forward in life we re-attain our childlike qualities. We then begin our journey back to source. In this knowingness we see the beauty of our life's purpose which is to be ourselves, to "love" in the full spectrum of it's definition.
Namaste, Aho- Wingmaker

C├ęcile said...

Rose, I'm late reading this, but it was wonderful! I also very much enjoyed that video and sent it to some friends and relatives.

Thanks for the reminder!