A million times I have said that my #1 supreme goal in life is to really get what it is to be human. So experiences that span the vast expanse of being are ones I tend to face – sometimes like standing firmly on the beach staring at an approaching tidal wave.
The facing of experience gives me a kind of rush. It’s a warrior’s heart: challenge as opportunity to find out what I’m really capable of. This feeds me at such a deep level – having to dig deep inside myself, excavating power, to face, head-on, the force of existence. Wow.
My new tidal wave is aging.
I will be 44 in a few short months. And the reality of my physical body is anchoring me in time in a way I have never experienced or imagined.
My face is changing. So is how my body processes and reacts to what I do, or don’t do, with it. My hormones are responding to their own clock, independent of my thoughts or diet or wishes, they are obeying some greater force. And people are treating me differently – as an older woman. Not older older, but people can now tell I am nearing the end of reproductive viability – or, at least, in the parking lot of the ballpark.
I have a list of all the things I would have done to myself if I had unlimited funds. What would I zap, fill, paralyze, lift, tuck, nip, or cut? Because I could try freeze myself in place, or back in time, say 10 years ago.
Science provides an escape hatch. But escape from what?
I certainly wouldn’t be escaping aging. I would be escaping my fear. Aging is reminding me, or making me aware of, a number of things.
One is that I really am going to die. I’m experiencing my body going entropic. And I know I can do more/better, but that’s not the point. I eat great, I teach people about nutrition and herbs and all of that, I am super healthy, yadda yadda yadda.
It’s not about looking or feeling better. It’s about facing what is surfacing for me.
Another thing I’m facing is a diminished partner pool. Men my age are either married, freaked out about their own aging and deriving comfort from younger women, or too old for me – i.e. stuck in their ways and lacking the real fire I find so appealing in younger men. And this is hard because I am finally old enough to be in a place where I actually want to be permanently partnered, i.e. married.
I recently experienced the ending of a relationship with a man 20 years younger than me. We had an incredible connection on every level. The kind of thing you dream about and hope for and we both felt this way. We would talk for hours and it felt like 20 minutes. He would instantly and effortlessly know my thoughts and feelings and I his. We just “got” each other. And we wanted to be together. And we didn’t move forward because of the reality of our age difference.
He wants marriage and kids and a long life with me. But fertility might be an issue. And he wants to experience his firsts with someone as their firsts. And I’ve lived a lot. I can give perspective on things he’s going through but not be in them with him because I’ve already addressed things that can’t come up for me as a woman in my forties. I’m too mature to feel certain things as real and intense the way he does.
Finding someone, such an intensely beautiful match, after looking for so long, only to have age be the one thing keeping us apart, the one thing neither of us can do anything about, sucks.
Yet I feel amazing. I am happy and shiny and glorious in my way. And I am aging.
And I am surprised by the fear I feel.
I want to go get some things “touched up” not to look better, but to escape the fear I feel. That’s as honest as I can be. I don’t like the lines between my eyebrows or little things here and there. But they are signs of my life, of my choices, of how I process living. And they are showing up.
I am a living sculpture, a work of art, waking from the dream of being the artist.
Life is carving me, shaping me, happening to me, and there is nothing I can do about it. My ending is an inevitability. And that’s a weird thing to have as a non-theoretical.
This is not a discomfort I want relief from. This is a tidal wave I want to face. It makes my heart beat faster, and stronger, to stare at it and feel what rises up in me, and ask myself “So Sadee, how are you going to show-up for this part of your journey?”
Aging feels schizophrenic to me. I feel more alive and beautiful and centered and gorgeous than I ever have. And I feel more scared and small and scarce than ever.
Life undulates. And recognizing this is one of the things that allows me to not run and get cosmetic surgery treatments. At least, not yet. Because I can tell I am in transition. And transition has tension and fear in it – along with all the good stuff. So my strategy, and this is totally a warrior technique, is to hold the tension, to surf it, until the transition transitions, so I can see who I am on the other side of the change that inevitably happens during these points in the undulation cycle. (The pink arrow shows where I am, right now, just coming out of the most intense squeeze in the undulation)
This is me aging. And aging is part of the human experience. I have no idea how other people feel about aging. I think a lot of us avoid feelings so well that we nip them in the bud before we even have a chance to become conscious of them. Which is totally valid – I honestly don’t care how people do their interiors – my life is mine, yours is yours, yay for everybody.
What I do care about it facing the reality of me fully and with courage. And that means, for me, being honest about how genuinely scared I am. I’m not scared 24/7. But when it comes up it really is this huge wall of water and I am a tiny (in comparison) 150 pound person standing on the vast shore.
When I share things that are personally challenging me, I often receive either advice or encouragement from many good hearts wanting to help me in some way. To anyone who feels such an urge, I assure you I need neither advice nor encouragement.
What I do need is to be seen and loved for me, regardless of my age or my colors (hair, skin, etc), but just be seen and valued as the beautiful human being that I am.
I think part of my fear and the hurt that I feel that aging is bringing to my life is the invisibility that comes with it. Like I’m not as valid as a partner because of my age, even when everything else is perfect. Or I am not _______ enough or too __________ because of the limited assumptions of others that opaques their view and their curiosity and their own aliveness. But that’s nothing new. Something always gets in our way of seeing someone for who they really are. I’m sure something about you makes people see that something and not see the person behind the something.
The only new thing that aging is bringing to me is the reality of my mortality. I’ve experienced that in other ways, like when I almost drowned. But almost drowning is something you can survive – aging is not. It is inevitable that we die. And for those of you who believe in reincarnation or eternal life or what have you, I am talking about the death of me as Sadee, in this body, here on this planet. That makes me really sad. And whatever I believe or know spiritually or energetically I am not allowing it to infiltrate the shore I am on or the wave I am facing. I need to experience this. Some part of me is genuinely scared in a new way that I simply must understand and be in the reality of.
And my loneliness. I’ve never experienced it like this because I have never not been viable as a partner due to something over which I have no control. So that got brought up and is weird to realize I have felt lonely and could ignore it but now I can’t and that’s new. A new facet. I mean, I’ve owned my loneliness before. It’s just a new version of it when it’s something I might not be able to escape because someone won’t open their arms to an old person. (One person now will become many people as time passes – a lot of older humans are very much left alone due to societal assumptions)
I am not despairing. I have no doubt whatsoever that I will kick ass because I always do. Nothing takes me down and that’s something I really trust and appreciate about myself. I say this not in a defiant “I’m a badass” way. I say this as someone who has been chewed up and spit out and shat on and gotten up, much to my dismay and amazement, and gotten on with my life in spite of my shattered fragments and blood and delirium.
That’s why I don’t need advice or encouragement. I’m past that. I’m in a deeper layer. I have room for the fundamental chaos of the universe. I have space to tolerate life’s undulations.
I need what I have always needed – to be seen and loved for who I am. In the past it was the 6’ blonde that made it hard. Or the white skin. Or the intelligence. Or the power. It’s always something, for each of us, that makes us invisible to others. (excepts dogs – dogs have x-ray vision)
Aging is something I have to face on my own because it is the things I am encountering inside of myself that I have to look at and get to know and make choices about.
I take comfort in knowing others have not only survived but thrived this particular transition. And I feel comforted by the honesty of others who have the courage to say that they are scared about their own aging, too, but I don’t need other people to be scared to be okay with how much I am scared.
I am super happy about my aliveness. And, honestly, the gifts aging brings are the best gifts ever in my journey of life so far. Making it to my forties has been like stepping into a magical garden where there is more beauty and peace than any other place in time I have ever been. It’s like a dimensional shift where I can be standing in the same physical space as someone younger than me but they aren’t in the gloriousness that I am in and I can explain it all I want but they still can’t see or feel what I do. It’s incredible.
It’s funny that the time when I feel the most alive and growly and hungry and open is the time when society says I am not as alive as someone younger. And I have to confront my own assumptions about how alive someone my age or older is because those assumptions might keep me from discovering someone as badass and juicy as I’m becoming.
Thanks for making space for me to share this. It helps immensely to open my fear and say “ahhhh”.
*I share this all with you because I think it’s really important that we get to see inside of another person in a very intimate way. I think it dissolves the walls of illusion that make us feel lonely. I’ve had a lot of seeing inside of others this way due to the privilege of my private practice. Hundreds of people have trusted me with their small tenderness and fragility. Witnessing the strength this takes, the strength life takes, to be fragile and human and still go to work and shop and have dinner parties, has bolstered and strengthened me to do the same. So maybe peeking inside of me will help some of you, too.
And to everyone who has shared, and shares, their fears and fragility with me – thank you. You may feel weak but I see your power and it has made me, without question, able to face my life better than I ever could have without your example and honesty. I mean this so sincerely. Thank you. You make me stronger than I could ever be by myself.