Female, age 47 – (click on image to enlarge)
I feel good about the way I look. I feel happy that I’m in shape and my body’s still functioning the way I want it to, but I also feel fear sometimes when I go to the mirror in the morning and see wrinkles that weren’t there before and sagging that’s new. My body reacts sometimes to situations or working physically in ways that it didn’t used to; I could bounce back much quicker. But overall for this time I feel thankful. I feel appreciative. I tend to be riding a level that my friends aren’t riding right now. I have friends my age who are experiencing things I’m not experiencing so I’m thankful for that.
Sometimes I’m repulsed, sometimes I’m lured in like a magnet to anti-aging products. Days when I feel less confident and I’m more tired, I think something on the outside’s going to fix me. “Alright, OK just put on that anti-aging cream tonight.” You always hope those eye creams are going to do it. Then when you look at the ingredients…oh crap, look at the stuff that’s in it! Literally crap! And how do you think that’s going to lift my sags? We live in a gravity world. It’s part of life. It’s accepting, so that’s the split, the feeling of being repulsed and magnetized too; the wishful thinking. And the ramifications of having plastic surgery in the latter years are very stressful. I mean we go and we do and we fix and we try and do it surgically and otherwise, but the ultimate result is we’re going to be 80. We keep hoping we’ll have that last ability to remove a crease, but we’re always in an anxiety. I find the sad twist about getting something done is then there’s an anxiety about maintaining it. So it’s almost like a catch 22. Alright I’m going to get this done and it’s going to cure me, but you know it’s not because the cure doesn’t live there. Then you live in anxiety and fear to prevent it from happening again…and then you go in again.
I’m reshaping the role of mother. My child has just left and gone off to college. And I’m reshaping the role of…I was a wife and now I’m not. Now there’s that feeling of, “Oh my God, I’m coming home to an empty home. Who do I cook dinner for?” It’s this weird shell shock of what does empty mean. I have to return to a believing of self, a self that lives far deeper than those anti-aging creams. What is that self? How do I access it, how do I discover it? How do I do that? So I’m reading and trying to not jump to the TV because I think that voice on the show is going to alleviate the pain.
We adhere to roles and make them us and when they ultimately leave us, we don’t know who we are anymore. Who am I beyond my roles? In my mind it’s a scary process right now, but as I’m embracing it bit by bit it’s starting to feel a little different.
In some ways yes, I have accomplished what I had hoped to by now. In other ways…I had opportunities in my younger years that I gave up for the MAN. That was just how I grew up, that was all I knew. Cultural programming…yes that’s it, I wanted to always break out of the box. When I chose to do that, that’s when the opportunity would come my way. And then I would squelch the opportunity. It was fear; if I took on the opportunity, then what? Am I going to be able to have a family? Am I going to be able to do all those other things? I could not perceive that both could happen. Some performance opportunities, things that were considered on a very big time scale. I said, no no, I’m not going to be able to…and then I settled down. I went into the life of settlement and trying to discover that, but the way it ended up turning out was when it ended, I then in hindsight wished I had embraced it all. I wish I had seen that there was enough self worth to say yes I can. I remember hearing a lot of, “Oh you’re going to audition and bust your buns and you’re never going to make it.” I wished I had had the wherewithal to feel. Well, I have been invited to make it to this level and you don’t always even get invited to make it…and then choose otherwise.
At this point in my life I would probably change working so hard. I think I would want to work more creatively. I think that I’m in a mode of that little hamster on the wheel. I’m kind of doing the thing that our culture tends to do anyway. So I feel like it’s just drive, drive, drive, spin the wheel, spin the wheel, spin the wheel, but not looking outside the box and exploring other things. So I contemplate many things like reducing my work structure to build in other passions like biking or other things that I might want to play with. I haven’t yet found really that true balance. Maybe it’s just in the breath of each day because sometimes I project out into the future. “Oh if I do this or if I stop this and I plan ahead…” That’s all the ego again…instead of breathe in the day and the moment, “OK today, I can be different.” Maybe it’s appreciating the little moments. Like the other night I said I’m going to turn on the bath and start reading a book I’ve wanted to read for a really long time. And it was great! Now why don’t I do that for myself more often? How many times do we have an hour free and it’s got to be the TV on and we’re not soothing our soul. We have lost that in our world. Mindfulness of our approach to everything we do is key. I wonder if just mindfulness alone is a way to soothe the soul because you’re connecting at that level.
I grew up in an environment that created unbelievable low self worth and I was driven to achieve to compensate for that. I was addicted to pleasing and showing the world…driven. And now I’m watching myself change and become more at peace and more at home with a feeling of self worth within…that it’s not outside me that’s going to get me there. So my greatest achievement is feeling that, that’s going on inside of me and the joy having the relationship with my daughter that I have…to watch our relationship grow and watch who she is. She’s just amazing and I’m so grateful.
I view the aging process as absolutely fascinating because it’s like it stumps me, there’s so many things about it. One being, our culture says it’s negative. Our culture tries everything in its power to offset the inevitable. So it’s inevitable and it’s negative. But it’s positive for the level of soul rebuilding because when a form is going and its shedding, and you know it is, you better activate that soul and know that there’s got to be something else more that’s in me or you’re going to implode, you’re going to suicide. And that is the most disturbing thing of all. We are so fixated on our outer form that we believe that, that is all we are. This is such a loss of Self…it’s such a loss to all of us – and I’m saying this for myself as well. I grew up with that. The inevitable shaping is to say there is no form. It’s going to shed; it’s going to go on. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust; it becomes fricken dust! DUST! It poofs away; that’s the outer form! You can’t tell me that there isn’t an US or a ME in there that’s beyond that and knows it on some very undefined level. That is the mystic truth. We age, form goes on, the body form dies, but the true existence, the true energy form doesn’t…the essence.
I marvel. I have met some women not very long ago who blew me out of the water. They were all in their seventies – my mother being one of them. There’s a light in them. It’s like the self growth journey producing the light. If you realize your soul, if you soothe and realize and nurture and grow your soul, that soul, that light emerges out of you. I look at these people and think, how old are you? I don’t know how old you are anymore. They become timeless because it’s the essence that overtakes and really shines through. I wouldn’t even have known if they had plastic surgery or not. It wouldn’t have mattered and they didn’t I’m sure because they knew it didn’t matter. Wow! To get there!
No that’s not me; I’m still at that counter going, alright anti-aging cream where are you?! There’s got to be a brand that’s going to do it! The has to be The Brand…come on there’s not one of us that’s not…but you’ve got your forties to try pull it back and then acceptance starts to pour in…it moves you into a level of acceptance or serenity? If you can get there; I think that’s ultimately what we’re being asked to do because what are you going to do if you don’t surrender to it? Are you going to go back in for surgery for the eighth time? It’s that new mantra…I love me.
I’ve been living my bucket list which is exciting. Gosh, the things I’ve wanted to do, biking, mountain biking, cross country… I would love to take a week bike trip and go somewhere and just pack…or bike up to Canada and then my fiancée and I are really interested in horses. I did a trail ride not too long ago and it was like WOW! I love this! So I thought about going up to a Dude Ranch…both of them really have the feeling of being connected with nature and I’ve always been that type of person so I would love to try something like that. And then this used to be on my bucket list. I don’t know if it will ever return again, but sometimes it kind of flares up for me and I think it would be fun – skydiving! Don’t ask me what that is for me, but I don’t know if I’d ever do that. And then I even contemplated flying at one time, but that’s one expensive hobby. So I though, nah, I don’t know if I want to do that…there’s just something about going up into the air one time or really trying something like that…and I definitely want to travel, that’s a bucket list thing I’ve had. There are a couple places I want to see. I’d really like to go to Greece. I’ve been to other places that I wanted to see, but what’s left is Greece and New Zealand. So who knows?
© 2011 The Terrain Project.