This last year (2017) has been a mega year of transition and transformation on every front and at every level of my life – personal, professional, physical, mental, spiritual. You name it – things shifted seismically. As the year draws to a close, I reflect back on one of my most challenging and at the same time most exhilarating years of my life, and realise that the change process that has already been in place for the past few years has left me wiser and closer to my real self. As I look back on the personal, inner wisdom gained in the last few years, culminating in this last, massive year of change, here are the things I have grown too wise for:-
- Caring what others would think about me – I may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but those for whom I am the right cup of tea find me a very delicious cup indeed. It’s OK that not everyone likes me or thinks I’m great or wonderful. I also don’t think that about everyone. The difference is – I stopped caring. I am what I am. I do my best to be the best possible version of myself – that’s my promise to myself. And if this best possible version doesn’t sit right with some, including those who are close to me, that’s OK. They have the right to think and feel what they want – and so do I.
- Obsessing about the future – whether my small, personal one (“pension!”) or the global one (nuclear war, global warming, the fate of the human race). I do what I feel is right, I do what I can and I do it as best as possible. For the rest, I TRUST that things will work out to the best. Much to my amazement I have discovered that when I adopt this attitude, things turn out in a far better way than my little mind could have ever imagined.
- Being careful about using the word Spiritual – a spiritual connection – the sensation that I can connect with something that is wiser than my analytical mind (which is wonderfully sharp but has its limitations) – has become increasingly important to me. And while I might not frequent moon ceremonies or regularly dance with angels, I have found ways that work for me to connect with my higher wisdom. It feels wonderful, it feels comforting and it feels right beyond questioning. Not surprisingly, once I released the worry around using this word, I find so many around me who feel exactly the same.
- Spending time with negative people – chronically negative people are chronic energy drainers. On my mental list they are more dangerous to health than heavy smokers. I’ll give a hand to anyone who wants to rise up from negativity. But if they want to catch my hand and pull me down with them, then in the interest of self-protection I disengage. It’s not my role to save anyone that doesn’t want to save him/herself.
- Being the perfect mum – an impossible mission, if ever there was one. So I try to be a Good Enough mum, as per my understanding of the term, not my daughters’. And if, in their view, I fail miserably, then so be it. Let them be Perfect Mum when their time comes.
- Being perfect generally – oooh, a tough one for a recovering perfectionist. But these days I am more relaxed (relatively…) about not being a perfect performer, in whatever field. When you approve of yourself from deep within, as I have learned (and still learning!) to do over the years, you learn to be happy with good performance. I give myself a daily hug, praise what I have achieved and try to do even better next time. With less fear and less pressure to be 10 out of 10, the result usually comes closer to 10 anyway.
- Caring that I don’t ‘fit in’. I don’t 🙂 By now I know it. One way or another, I am pretty much always the odd one out. In the past it used to bother me as I so wanted to blend in with what I thought was the ‘uniform others’. These days I enjoy being the spice that adds diversity.
- Behaving ‘appropriately’ – according to whose standards, exactly?! I do my best to use my heart as my compass, which means I behave according to what feels appropriate to me. I have dropped the need to try and fit in with what others, even close ones, might consider ‘right’. Let everyone use their own compass – for themselves.
- Watching the news or following the latest trendy TV series – years ago, at a yoga retreat in India, our teacher said: ‘you all have so little free time. How do you wish to spend this time? Reading or watching something that will make no meaningful contribution to your life, or imbibing inspiration?’. This comment stuck with me. The biggest news reaches me any way; the rest is a waste of time. And few, way too few TV series are worth the extended amount of time they require. Time is indeed short; I’d rather spend it on things, anything that lifts me up than on things that depress, worry or waste precious time.
- Worrying about my age – to be honest, I never have done, but when I hear women talk about turning 50, what (a disaster) this means to them and how they are ‘of a certain age’, I smile inside broadly. These are the best years of my life! After 20 years of full-on family and children commitment (which I totally loved while it was on) I fully enjoy my freedom and my independence. My age has brought on so much wisdom, calm and a different outlook on life. It gave me a new, refreshing, fantastic perspective on love and sexuality. I am grateful every day that in my 50s I enjoy more independence and more ability to steer my life than any generation of women before me ever did – and that, statistically at least, I stand the chance to live a much longer and fuller life than any of them. My age is, for me, a cause for celebration.
And what have you grown too wise for?…