My daughter, Riley Anna, recently turned ten years old. “TEN YEARS OLD!! DOUBLE DIGITS! I’m a TWEEN! Only three years ‘til I’m a TEENAGER!” (The all caps and exclamation points are hers, not mine, I can assure you.) My response to her overzealous excitement at turning ten was more along the lines of a quiet– “Woo-hoo. That’s great.” – followed by a tearful spell locked in the bathroom – every mom’s one sure “alone” place in the house. Of course, I’m thrilled to watch my daughter as she grows into such a loving, empathetic, fun, entertaining, caring person. But this milestone birthday brought home the fact that a decade is a good chunk of time, and this last chunk whizzed by at a rate that makes my head spin. Given traditional wisdom, the next will fly by with even faster. So what does this mean? Since I gave birth to Riley Anna at age 34 (I just barely missed “advanced maternal age” – isn’t that a charming medical phrase?) – you do the math. I’m coming up on a milestone birthday of my own and making great strides into this time of life we call “mid”. It seems like a good time to step back and take stock of my life, so I have. And you know what? I wouldn’t go back a decade for all the Botox in Hollywood! Since turning 40 I’ve experienced some of the best times of my life. I’ve been writing, performing and recording my original music again after years away from it. I’ve made time for meditation almost every morning of the past four years. I’ve been trained and certified as a creativity coach and now have the distinct privilege and pleasure of helping other people create and live their best lives. I’ve taken up running and am loving it, and I’m even training for a half-marathon – something I never would have done as a 20 or 30 year old! All this to say – if you’re ready for a change – if you’re hoping there’s something more – if you’re experiencing a little trepidation about the prospect of your next birthday – take a page from my daughter’s book. Own your age! LOVE IT! Be thrilled by the possibility of it all! Each new year brings new opportunities to do what we’ve never done, go where we’ve never gone, try what we’ve never tried. Now’s the time to go for it! As I like to say, “I’m having a Mid-Life Oasis – because it’s to much nicer than a crisis!” Join me, won’t you?
(photo by Christy Cogsdill)The card with the cute photo of a chipmunk with overstuffed cheeks has been sitting on my desk since my return from Breckenridge, Colorado. He reminds me of the sweet little creatures that feast on sunflower seeds (courtesy of my dad) on our back porch. They’re adorable to watch as they scamper to and fro. They stuff so many seeds in their mouths that you’re absolutely sure their tiny cheeks will explode if they go for one more, and then somehow, miraculously, they pop in a couple more and do not, in fact, explode.
I’ve kept this card out because I wanted to use it for a blog post, but I just couldn’t seem to find the exact topic the photo conveyed. I’ve been home for almost two weeks now. Still not sure what this little guy was saying to me, I thought to myself, “I’ll just scan the photo and then I’ll have it – just in case.” And that’s when it hit me! The reason I resonate so much with those hoarding chippies is I can relate to them! They’re stocking up while the gettin’s good “just in case” they show up one morning to find no more seeds. Well, I too have a bad case of the “just in case” blues. I keep my grandmother’s china just in case I ever want to have a formal dinner party or tea. (I never do. I’m not the formal type!) I hold onto old toothbrushes just in case I want to scrub tile grout with them. (I never do. I guess I’m not the grout-scrubbing type either.) I stash decades of documents in boxes that overflow out of my office closet, just in case I ever need them. (like I could find them if I did – ha!) I recently read a great article on the “just in case” mentality, and I’m sure I clipped and stored it somewhere –“just in case” I should ever want to refer to it again. (Like I do today, but can’t, because I don’t have the first clue where it is!) I have this image in my mind…somewhere in the cosmos there are these enlightened beings watching me scamper around my office with my stacks and stacks of stuff. I can hear them now, “Oh, how cute. She’s bought another book on creativity. Wouldn’t you think she’d have enough by now? Do you think she’ll actually read this one all the way through?” Having just recently cleaned out and organized my bedroom closet and my daughter’s closet with the help of a wonderful professional organizer (Atta Girl Organizing), I know first-hand the fantastic feeling of letting go of things I really don’t need (give-away totes with ripped handles, sandals I haven’t worn in five years, clothes that don’t fit) and then putting the things I really do need and want in order. Seriously, my closet now brings me a feeling of peace and serenity. Sometimes I just look in it and sigh. It’s like my moment of Zen. My challenge to myself, and to you, this fall is to practice feeling abundant, knowing that I have plenty, and that things that I’ll need in the future will show up exactly when I need them. I don’t have to hang on to a bunch of stuff “just in case.” It’s interesting how creating literal space, seems to free up our time as well. Less stuff to deal with (clean, store, repair, manage) more time to create (write, sing, paint, play, run, design). What about you? Anyone have any ideas for making space in your life? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Let’s support each other this fall and enjoy the freedom of the “just in time” mentality, rather than the frenetic “just in case” pace of a squirrel storing food for the winter – which can make us nuts! P.S. – Here’s a link to that article I was thinking of earlier. It was written by Martha Beck for the April 2009 Oprah Magazine. I found it “just in time”!