I wonder a lot about what kept my mom’s spirit awake instead of being buried in fear. Was it her knowing that she was dying that made her accept nothing other than fully living? Was it that she wanted to define her life, not some doctor or statistics? Whatever it was, she showed me what it meant to grab hold of life and live it, no matter what. The truth is, we all have a life sentence whether we are told by someone in a white coat or not.
I’m grateful having reached my 40’s and feeling like a has-been that I have her legacy to hold on to–to remind me of how life can be lived. It would be easy for me to feed into the belief that now I’m in my 40’s I must find products to fix me, procedures to rejuvenate me, and clothes to hide me. Despite my mom’s illness, her life became an exciting adventure in her 40’s. She left my Dad after 25 years of a not so great marriage; traveled Europe; got a lover 13 years younger than her, went back to school, took dancing classes weekly, and later danced her way to God.
Mom didn’t let ageism tell her how she should behave or be seen in the world. She showed us how to see her in all her glory.
Today, when I’m grieving the noticeably aging upon my body, and the fear of not being seen by the rest of the world creeps upon me, I use my mom’s memory as a reminder that life is by design. It is to be defined by me, and then my job is to live it–whatever way I choose.
There is no one way to live our 40’s and beyond. There is only our way, dictated by our design.
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