In less that a year, I’ll be 40! I used to hate the idea of growing older. Every birthday until very recently I would curse the extra year and wish i could turn back time and be 21 again. But now, as the previously dreaded 40 gets closer, I am finding myself not just ok with it – but looking forward to it.
The last 39 years have been a ride for sure. Full of fun and happiness, great fear and sadness, births and deaths, growth and failure. A beautiful mess really. And one thing that has been a constant in these four decades is the rush. The busy. The all consuming drive to push, harder and faster. And finally, after four long decades I’ve decided to stop.
The next four decades are my second chance. My chance to make up for lost time. But not in the way you might imagine. Because the only way to make up for the time I’ve lost is to STOP. Go slower. It’s my chance to stop and smell the grass after the rain. All I want for the next half of my life is to live a slower, simpler and lovelier life.
I crave space. Time to meander and watch plants grow. Time to sit and watch my children play. For so so long I’ve simply been far too busy and rushed to allow myself this slower pace. I’ve missed too much of my life so far simply by not being present. Mindlessly rushing to goodness knows where to do goodness knows what.
I know I’ve achieved a lot. I’ve studied hard and earned a master’s degree. I’ve trained hard and completed a half ironman and two ultramarathons. I’ve loved hard and created two tiny humans. I’ve traveled to different parts of the world. I chased my dream job… got it and then quit! And everything in between. And yet there are gaping holes. Why? Because I didn’t know how to be truly present in the moment.
So now, in this last year of my fourth decade I’m choosing to try harder at being present. So that I remember the toadstools, the blossom tree, the smell of my daughters freshly washed hair, the sound of their laughter, fits of giggles just like their Granny. One of my regrets (I think it’s silly and downright dishonest to state you don’t have any) is that I’ve discovered the concepts of mindfulness this late. That it took me this long to decide that slow and simple is better than fast and furious.
I don’t know what the next decade will bring. We can plan, hope and dream, but we’ll never know for sure what will happen next. A year ago today I had no idea that my beautiful mother-in-law, who also happened to be one of my best friends, would be cruelly plucked from our family. I had hope, that she would survive, but I just didn’t know. The hole is huge. Gaping. And I wish now that every moment I had with her I was truly present. Being truly present would have helped to cement the memories of her in my brain. But I wasn’t. Regrets….
And it’s funny because while we all crave more space and time – we all have the exact same amount. We’ll never have any more time. I wished for one more day after she died. Heck, just one more hour. But we can’t bargain with time like that. When it’s gone, it’s gone. There ain’t no going back.
So then, what do we do?
We hear all the time… “you can make time!” or “don’t waste your time doing that (or this)!”. I want to slap every person that says this to me. Every time. For two reasons, 1) it’s annoying. I’m not God, so technically, no – I cannot make time, and 2) they are right.
We need to change our mindset. Change our relationship with time. Move from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset. I actually trust that the amount of time we have in each day is the right amount. It’s what we choose to do with. What is it that you want to do today? You have 24 hours to achieve it!
Don’t let life pass you by. Participate fully!
So, in my last year of my 30’s… as I amble my way to my fifth decade (!), I’m deciding to STOP. Go slow. Notice things. Take a moment. Not to take a photo… but to allow my brain to create a memory. Because I just don’t know what tomorrow will bring.