I have often said getting old isn’t for the faint of heart and the older I get the more I own the truth of that statement. I am only 63 as I write this. I am healthy, not on prescription drugs, and no major chronic pain, although all kinds of mysterious pains tend to show up along the way. Yet I know I am in the challenging phase of letting go in life.
This letting go isn’t so much about things as about dreams and expectations I either consciously or unconsciously held for my life, that I know will never come to pass now. It’s about the youthful looking person that no longer looks back at me in the mirror. It’s also about some of the activities I used to enjoy (or indulge in) that I no longer feel like doing, such as partying or staying out late, etc. I would rather stay home now and relax and read or watch TV, than frantically go about looking for ways to fill my time. I’m happy about that and I’m also kind of sad that I don’t want to be more social.
I’m not really in the building stage in business anymore either, though there are still things I can and want to do. I’m not retiring any time soon but I’m sure that too will bring on some grief as I once again face the loss of yet another identity. The bottom line is that there’s a lot more life behind me than in front of me which means I have to enjoy every day as best I can, even while I am letting go of some of the fantasies and possibilities to which I’ve been clinging. There’s still a lot of living to do, places to go and people to meet but it’s different now somehow and I guess it’s the ‘different’ that brings up the grief.
With all the losses I’ve experienced in my life I know there are only going to be more of them going forward, so I think it’s important for me to face that realistically and with compassion. I have no desire to fight it, I’ve done plenty of that in my life, and now it’s time for acceptance and gentleness, and allowing the little things in life to bring me joy.
Even just thinking about all this as I write I can feel my heart opening and the life energy moving through me. Such is the gift of being present, of letting go and allowing myself to grieve.
Yvonne Racine is a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist and Life Celebrant