I love getting older. Perhaps part of that comes from looking like I was 15 years old until my late twenties. Or maybe because I've never been afraid of what's at the end of getting older, and older, and older. I see aging for what it represents: experiences had, lessons learned, and if you're doing life right, wisdom gained.
In youth we learn; in age we understand ― Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach
I liken my viewpoint to riding on wheels from youth to the present.
In my teens, I felt like I was a toddler riding a tricycle weaving my way around the world with the security blanket of my immediate community.
My twenties saw an upgrade to a two-wheel bicycle with training wheels. I was off doing my own thing, yet regardless of how free and confident I felt on the path I was paving, I recognized that I had a lot to learn.
The training wheels came off in my thirties, and I found my two-wheel stride; it took until my mid-thirties to discover my alignment.
As I inch closer to my forties, I feel my grip loosen on the handlebars with more self-control and assurance than ever before. My pedaling is less frantic, preferring a long stride that's more intentional and conducive to where I'm at and where I'm going. I trust the winding path I ride on a bit more, and understand the old saying, "life is about the journey, not the destination," a bit more, too.
I'll get to where I'm going. Every year I make it to one point and then another; it's inevitable so long as I envision my destination, put the pedal power in, and do my best to savor the ride: speed bumps, skids, scrapes, and all.
I've had a long-standing feeling that my 40s will be my unicycle years. I'm talking a single big tire with a tall comfortable leather seat where I shift and glide with the deep sense of confidence I've admired in other women.
I've watched it happen with my sister, who turned 40 last year, and yes, I've read all about it from Hollywood's leading women. Our 40's can be awesome. And they're just the start.
"Today is the first day of the rest of your life."
Imagine getting older, and older, and older, and embracing it. Not because it's something you have no control over, but because you've said YES to the art of living, learning to fully be who you are, cruising on life's unicycle.
Riding a unicycle takes practice, as does life. Practice, practice, practice.
Life also takes on a lot of surprises. Some are good and welcomed but others, force us into new devastating realities.
As I celebrated my birthday in safety, good health, and in a generally carefree state of being with my family, I was reminded that our paths, with whatever type of wheels we're riding on, can be severely disrupted by powers beyond our control. The war in Ukraine had begun and Eastern states in Australia suffered major losses from record-breaking storms. Both events rocked people's world in an instant and potentially changed their lives forever. Devastating roadblocks land on people's paths daily, in all corners of the world, in all shapes and forms. It's a shitty reality of being human, but my wish is this: that we always remember that roadblocks are an obstruction, not the end of the road. What is hard today, won't be hard forever, we just have to keep going.
Once we learn how to ride a bicycle, we never forget how to do it. We get back on from a new starting point and practice, practice, practice again. We envision our destination–perhaps in a new light–and seek and find our alignment along the way. We pedal with and towards the wisdom that we can ride through quiet meadows with joy and make it out of landslides that come out of nowhere. We just keep riding every day, year after year. And if we're so fortunate, we get to our elder years and say "wow, what a ride."