I am feeling melancholy. Sentimental. Nostalgic. These sad-faced visitors knocking at the door to my ultra-sensitive soul trigger emotions we all find difficult to face. Wasted moments. Lost time. Forgotten memories.
Why do we do this? Why do we look in our rearview mirror at the road we traveled, memorializing the scenery we took for granted along the way?
We eagerly got in the car on our journey of life, put our blinders on and didn’t even bother to look out the window to enjoy the view. We were only excited for the destination, not the journey.
The remorse we have for this revelation is heart-wrenching. We want the time back. We want a second chance. We want the memories to miraculously reappear in our mind, so that we can once again feel that breath of youth on our face, fresh air in our lungs, and the wind of passion in our soul.
We long to remember the “firsts.” First love. First “real” kiss. First moment your arms held your child and you realized this was a love like none other. First amazing glance at our new grandchild – the startling realization that the circle of life is here and now.
We long to remember it all – every event that measured up to that beautiful word “meaningful.” We want all of those moments back, so our sulking soul can come out from under its blanket of pity and revel in all its glory in the here and now.
How do we accomplish that? How do we recapture that essence of youth and remember the journey that we so blindly rushed through?
I’ve thought a lot about this over the past year or so since I’ve retired and I’ve realized, only now, that as much as I loved my career, it gradually took over my life. It became who I was. It monopolized my time and energy and I had little left over of “me.”
Yes, I had a great career. Yes, I was successful at it. Yes, I feel I contributed greatly to my profession. But I, solely, take responsibility for letting it consume my life. My “being” disappeared behind the magnitude of my job and a greedy computer screen.
I reclaimed my “self” last year and peeled off the tough layers of minutiae that grew around my spirit like troublesome weeds. This liberating process has had an awakening effect on many things that I had forgotten about myself. Like how I love to garden. And read. And write. And paint. And take walks. And nap. My spirit is giddy with Joy. Happy. Fulfilled. Rested. Restored.
But, the flip side of this reclamation is one that gnaws at my spirit’s twin sister – the sensitive one that mourns the loss of “what could have been” and causes me soulful pause. During the time that I spent working and burying my “self” under the demands of career, I lost time. I lost the ability to refresh my weary soul through the joys of everyday living, simplicity and meaningful moments.
It’s truly regretful to feel that sense of loss. I long for a rewind of the last 20 years or more to capture more of what I could have had. A do-over. Repeat. But, I am not one to linger on the “what ifs” or spend too much time on wishful thinking. So I, stubbornly, commit to shake off those sad-faced visitors at my door and break free to make up for the regretful missed moments.
In that spirit, here are five tips for looking back to recapture your youthful spirit.
First of all, we make mistakes. Some people in our past have made mistakes too. We are human. We need to get over it. Any mistake that has been made in our life is a lesson learned. We are hard on ourselves and mull over every potential hurt that could have been misinterpreted.
Forget about the mistakes and release yourself and others from the guilt. Don’t get caught up with anything negative that has happened. Break free and move forward with a positive attitude. Your spirit will thank you.
Second, do the things that give you joy. Pull out those memories from your youth and remember what gave you the most pleasure. Was it being outdoors? Was it using your creativity? Was it spending time with other people or your best friend?
Recall the joy-filled bliss of younger days and find ways to rekindle those feelings.
Third, create a photo album of your life. This is a great way to reminisce and remember everything that you have done, places you have gone, and moments you have felt joy. Start with your childhood and make this project about you! Your life in pictures shows just how greatly you have lived. Leave pages for writing about your feelings or things you remember.
Creating an album is a great way to summarize and celebrate who you are. The person that you are today is the direct result of all of your life experiences. Be proud of the path that you took to get here. Your family, someday, will cherish these photos as their most prized possession.
Fourth, visit your hometown. Walk down the roads that you once traveled with younger legs and lighter hearts. Drive by homes you lived in, schools you attended, schools your children went to, jogging your memory of the details of the life you lived.
Fifth, and finally, talk with your family and friends of days gone by. There is something so comforting in sharing memories with those with whom we spent time. A memory that we have forgotten all about can be jostled loose from our dusty minds and remembered with such joy and laughter.
I think, especially as we get older, we are conflicted with emotions that mess with our sensitive souls. We are joyful of being at the point in our life where we can live more simply, rested and happy. But the opposing emotion of realizing the finiteness of life makes us feel sad and regretful over missed moments and lost time. My goal for you is to find peace with your journey in this life. Past. Present. And future.
So many of my readers who have written to me have not had easy lives. Rough childhoods, divorce, financial problems, deaths. Sad and lonely souls reaching out, seeking joy at this stage in their lives. They tell stories that are not always easy to read and tug at my own soul to find ways to encourage comfort, positivity, and joy. If I can help even one person find happiness in their day, just by reading this, then my hopeful spirit will sing with delight.
My message is simple:
Surround yourselves with sincere people. Loving souls who support you and bring joy to your days. Make friends with the past – remember that its greatest joys and deepest sorrows are part of the journey that you have traveled to get to this moment in time. Breathe deeply in the fresh air of today and feel the kiss of tomorrow on your cheek. Make your tomorrows count. Every single one of them.
My blogging website moonflowerblooms.com is dedicated to finding these moments that give you joy. Read it and believe.
How have you recaptured the spirit and passion of youth? Are there any things in your past that are limiting your growth in the present? What techniques have you used to move forward with a new perspective in your 60s? Please join the conversation.
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