“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery
There is something good about getting a bit older. You gain perspective.
You get to see what only experience and a history can offer. And so, you have a wonderful opportunity to rethink priorities, to write your story a bit differently. A lot differently.
With more tenderness and appreciation…with more daring and humility…with more love and less fear. Perspective offers the freedom to live with more authenticity, to take some chances you didn’t think were worth it or possible before, live with fewer restrictions and more courage, more optimism.
If we’re to be “good to anyone”, we need to be good to and for ourselves first, which means allowing ourselves to work on healing and opening up. And this kind of work, a consequence of both experience and deliberate effort, eventually softens you. It softens you as it makes you stronger.
You start to be ok with not being right all the time, with incomplete answers and difficult, yet beautiful questions. You start to see value and beauty in flaws, appreciate little things. You start to measure your success by contribution and opportunities, not fame, money or praise.
You cry a little more, but your laughter is also filled with a deeper, greater joy. You pick your battles more carefully. You see who around you is real and who isn’t…who stood by when all others, including yourself, have left. You start to see value not only in what you get, but in how something or someone helps you become…in how they help you learn how to receive and how to give.
You lose shame for your mistakes and start to take ownership of them. You’re willing to forgive and also be forgiven. You are not so worried about your weaknesses. You start to look next to you more and more, because you’d rather share any gift, joy, success or sadness. You begin to realize that pride is a humble thing, and true independence is mastery in the art of sharing.
You are more willing and eager to believe in small and big miracles, recognize how you can make them happen…for yourself and for others. You start to trust the heart a bit more, and dreams more than nightmares. You’re no longer so concerned by negative feelings and a lot more interested in what those little bright things that sparkle in the corners of your soul like fireflies on summer nights have to say.
Over the decades, I’ve seen places come and go, money come and go, possessions and achievements come and go. Insurmountable obstacles appeared and then were removed, unthinkable odds popped up and were overcome. What consumed so much energy and peace at certain times, or quite the opposite, what provided such relief and security, came and went.
The only thing that remains constant is the reality of love and connection we make room for…the life we live with the heart and soul. Because home is so much more than a physical place we move into…it’s something we make room for…it’s the presence and proximity of what and who we love.
Happiness is the same thing. Ultimately love and connection at work…seeing and being truly seen, witnessed, wanted, needed and accepted for who we are, flaws and gifts alike. The living we do with our hearts and souls is what inspires the mind, what motivates us to deal with practicalities, to create, to contribute. It’s the living that is always real and fully belongs to us.
So yes, there is something good about getting a bit older. And let’s also include getting hurt, making mistakes, and knowing what it’s like to get lost…facing hardship, falling down, meeting all the monsters hidden in the darkest corners of the soul.
It softens you. It softens you as it makes you stronger. It opens you to journey with your heart.
As as you journey with your heart more, you can finally come home because you know what that means. And you suddenly realize it’s never too late, nothing is set in stone, and the things you believed imprisoned or limited you are all temporary at their worst. You finally get to see how much freedom you actually have in your life, and can finally trust the potential your life has in this freedom.