Getting Older

Make interesting mistakes.

Neil Gaiman

It seems like every time I’m by a mirror, another swathe of hair has gone grey; and while I’m staring at this desecration, I notice my hairline receding faster than the goddamn economy. At first, it’s jarring (of course) because I’m still in my freaking twenties (for another few months, anyway).

But, aside from further proof that the Divine has a sick sense of humor, I’m actually enjoying the process of getting older. Which is weird, because I always used to dread it — probably because my younger years were mostly squandered in a cult and the aftermath of leaving it, and it used to feel so unfair to be “missing out” on the “good years”. So why the hell am I okay with this freakish process of aging in a biologically inferior carbon-based body on an often-scary planet?

Let me explain.

The older I get, the more I think aging is the chemical process that cleanses our souls of all the accretive bullshit that isn’t truly us. It can take a long time, but the results are almost always worth it (which is why older people are almost always cooler than younger ones – they’re just more “polished” by life!) 

I think challenges are catalysts to this process — chemical agents that exponentially speed up the reaction. 

There’s nothing downright evil or shameful about letting the process take its time, but when we hide from challenges and seek excessive comfort, growth takes an awful lot longer. The delay, and we by extension, may become rather boring as a result. 

If we can learn to let the challenges in, and see them as tools and teachers, we may surprise ourselves with the speed of our progress, with hidden strength, courage, and wits, and with how very much more interesting our lives (and we ourselves) start to become. 

It’s fine and well to build a comfortable, secure life; but if we find ourselves feeling bored and trapped, sometimes Life is telling us that it’s okay to move towards the deep end of the pool now. Maybe it’s time to take a risk, ask for a raise (or get a better job!), sign up for classes, send a literary query letter, evaluate a romance, or do some other exciting and life-enhancing thing that we’ve been putting off for a while.  

With the world on fire (literally, in some cases), one blessing is being shown how very little we actually have to lose from these small steps towards a more fulfilling life! As one of my great accidental gurus once told me, sometimes you have to ask yourself one question. What’s the worst that could happen? Besides, you just might find yourself having a good time and creating some of that happiness stuff I hear so much about!

(NO I DON’T MEAN BREAKING QUARANTINE AND MAKING PEOPLE SICK. You know what I’m getting at.)

Now, some of those Thelema folks go a little overboard for my tastes, but I do like their little saying: Do as you will, and hurt none (do what you want, just don’t hurt anybody). Seems like a pretty good motto to me, especially in times like these.

It’s the freaking apocalypse — stay safe, be kind, and go do something fun and interesting!

Image used under license from 123RF

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