Stand as a spiritual warrior at the threshold of old age. This is no time to shrink away, to believe the lies of insignificance or uselessness. Do not retreat or retire from the world.
Instead, give yourself to your passions and your dreams. This is a time of great fruition, blooming and moving closer to the source of our creation.
A friend of mine recently wrote a piece about her short story being published in a prestigious literary magazine.
She is 74 years old, and though a writer for most of those years, like many of us, life intervened. Marriage, kids, work, the tragedies and celebrations of family life consumed her.
So when her short story was accepted to this magazine, it was a Velveteen Rabbit moment for her. She felt she had become real, a real writer. Into herself, she had pulled back and reclaimed a lifelong love of storytelling.
When I read what she had posted about her journey, I wept and I was filled with enthusiasm for her and deep inspiration. It had nothing to do with her age, and everything to do with her passion.
She was living out-loud, fully, completely, giving herself to her art, and I was inspired to want to live that fully too.
Isn’t that what we all want as we grow old? To live life fully and passionately, sharing our stories, our music, our art, our gardens, all of the different things that we love about life – for as long as we can?
My husband, Dean, grew up playing bass trombone. Later he played the bass guitar. Now that he is semi-retired, he has given in to the pull to study music theory at a college. He’s currently taking an online course with The Berkley School of Music.
He plays and practices his bass every evening after dinner, losing himself in music that beats to the rhythms of his heart. He has reclaimed something left behind and it is richly nourishing his existence.
My friend reclaimed her passion for writing. It had taken a back seat in the years that she was there for her family. My husband reclaimed his love of music, also something that took a back seat to marriage, mortgage and a career. This is the great joy of aging.
You get to do art for the sake of art, commit to a standard of personal excellence. What is reclaimed gives us new and fresh life.
What was cast aside in your life because it didn’t contribute to raising kids or paying the way? What are those things that you want to gather back now?
We pay homage to Creation by what we create. When our life has ceased to be about the identity of work, family and accumulation, we are left with the worshipful state of making music, making art, creating stories, designing crafts and growing gardens.
These things are not done with the mind that created our work or our careers, these things are brought to life from our hearts and our souls.
Many are the times that I wished I’d come to my writing earlier in life. But like all of us, life had her way with me, and I write today because of the varied experiences of living this long.
Had I taken another path, I might have been someone who did not feel the burden of stories pressing against her heart, seeking release.
It seems that I must remind myself again and again that the fullness of life can’t be found in the past, but rather in this present moment where I can give myself fully to something so that I too have that Velveteen Rabbit moment. I am real.
Stand proudly in your years and do not lament. This is the time to live life in a sacred way, reclaim those things you once thought of as lost.
Pick up your pen, your knitting needles, your paintbrush.
Give yourself fully to the life you make. Let passion be the wind that lifts your wings. How strange, wonder-filled and glorious are these older years.
Have you reclaimed a past passion and pulled it into your present life? Are you at the precipice and just need a little nudge to try? I would love to know about your experience with reclamation. As always, I am eager to hear your precious thoughts so please share them below.