I recently turned 64. I’m not sure I ever expected to reach this age. I am not sure what I expected to feel like but not like this. I don’t feel older or wiser. Life can kind of creep up on you and move along before you realize it, particularly if you are not fully present because of fighting the inner demons you do not even know are there.
I suppose being this age has me reflecting back on my past, but in a new way. I have lots of practice of looking back and dragging up shame from past actions. Then I get to relive the messages of: “You are bad.”, “You are broken.”, “If they knew what you were really like no one would love you.”, “You will never be good enough.” This time I am trying a new way to look at my past, with curiosity and grace.
Look at the past with curiosity and grace
I am trying to recognize and observe the previously unknown demons who seem to accompany me where ever I go. The little boy in me knew all about them and was afraid. Knowing malevolent spirits of past abuse lurked in the corners of his life caused him to walk cautiously, raise protect walls, run away into a safe, dissociated space or to angrily lash out to push them away. But the abusers were in the past and my so my actions impacted the people around me in the present.
I see that now. I see those actions which hurt others and hurt myself not as proof of my flawed nature, but as a response to an unseen reality. Sometimes the voice of despair still whispers in my ear, “It’s too late”, “Give up,” “It’s too hard,” “It is not worth it,” “You don’t have enough time.” But I recognize that voice for what it is, the part of me wanting the suffering to be over and the struggle to end. Knowing this, I can hold it gently, offering comfort, recognition, and gratitude for caring so deeply. I can whisper back; “It is not too late. We have time and it is worth it. There wonderful living waiting for us. Unburdened by the past, forgiving ourselves and accepting who we are we can drop this heavy load as we risk drawing close to others. It doesn’t matter if we have 20 more years or one. This is worth it.”
It is never too late to find healing and joy
It is never too late to find healing and joy in this moment, this hour, this day, this week. This is not a striving to “finally arrive” but a journey to embrace step by step. Wherever I am at this moment is enough. I will hold onto this truth and strive to live it. In this time of my life I am discovering new levels of intimacy, joy, hope and love. You can too.
I hope you take inspiration from Andra Day. It is not too late to heal and rise up.
Be well. Stay safe. Take good care.
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