There are times in our lives when we cross into new and uncharted territory and we feel both excited and terrified at the same time. Heading off to a new school. Traveling to an unknown place. Getting to know a potential life partner. Having a baby. Buying a house or a piece of land. Starting a new job. These are all scary yet exhilarating things.
All of my life I have seen aging as a blessing. I love how with each passing year I become more comfortable in my own skin. I am inspired by how increased experience brings a different kind of passion for life. Yet, this year was the first time I realized that age might not be on my side anymore. My physical body seems a bit more fragile than it used to be as I head back into a renewed exercise regime. I was recently excluded from a government development grant to attend a farming conference as it was for ‘youth’ only (defined as under the age of 40). As far as the job market is concerned, I should have established myself and be on my upward climb by now – instead I am still trying to figure out what to do there. I do not want to get bogged down in this kind of thinking.
I have never wanted a gift that was not mine to keep and even as a teenager I was aware that youth was something that would not stay with me forever. I wanted to develop things in myself that would grow and last a lifetime. I did not want to focus on assets that deteriorated over time. I always imagine myself towards the end of my life as a strong and wise woman with her long, white hair pulled tightly into a bun - friendly, funny and really hard to read. And, yes, I still take myself way too seriously. In this future vision, I am wealthy with experience, and have accumulated so much to care for and be proud of and hopefully learned a few things from my mistakes. There is nothing the years and gravity will have taken from me that I need to have back again.
Somehow these days, it feels just like I’m heading away to summer camp, flying overseas or starting at a new school. Life is exciting right now and full of potential. And age has absolutely nothing to do with this, grants or no grants, wobbly knees or no. I don’t know if it is related to the act of watching my children grow into their boots, or if it is more to do with renewing my own life, potentially switching careers (leaving a career?) for a different kind of life.
What age can never take away is the wonder at being part of this world. And every time a new project, a new friend, a new idea, a new connection takes shape I get to explore it like a toddler does. Instead of young eyes, I want to see the world through new eyes. I want to start each day as though it is at the beginning. And unlike youth, that gift is mine to keep.