I've been thinking about being older lately. Not getting older but actually being older. Every weekend when I haul my tables and displays to the farmers markets I think about it. This spring when I realized I had packed on few pounds over the winter and they weren't shedding like usual I thought about it. When I practice yoga and meditation and I send the breath to where it hurts and don't have enough breath for all that, I think about it. I used to be incredibly flexible. I could do the splits until I was 40 and then one day I found I couldn't. On the other hand, I'm gentler with myself now (mostly). I'm more intuitive about eating, resting and contemplating life.
I do love this new non 9:00-5:00 life I've carved out for myself but sometimes I think I came to it a little late, learned to listen to myself a little too late. I'm a fearful person by nature. Don't ask me why, that's a road you don't want to go down. I am and that's that. Last week I went to a little gathering at a friends house. Just three couples and our collective brood of 4 kids. One couple is younger than the rest of us by I'm guessing 15 years. We were talking about my business and I was saying that I'd rather be doing online and wholesale sales exclusively rather than the physical work of the markets. This younger guy asked me why I didn't just do it. I launched into my typical excuse about not being very good at promoting myself or seeking new clients. He looked genuinely puzzled and again asked my "Why?" Caught a little off guard but feeling at ease with these friends I said, "because they might say, no". And he said "So?" In that moment the tiniest light of recognition about how absurd that argument is dawned on me.
I've done a few brave things in my life. I've climbed a few mountains, used to ride hunter jumper horses, put myself through grad school, had two babies, gracefully survived being fired at 50 and nearly 30 years ago I plucked up the courage to tell my sweetheart that I had fallen in love with her.
Growing older brings the luxury of introspection and a delicate toughness. I'm embracing it. I'm hauling my market paraphernalia for another season and I'm preparing for the future by facing the possibility of "yes" rather than the absurdity of no.