I was looking in the mirror today - not an occupation to be encouraged at my age (49 & three-quarters), when I happened to come to the realisation that for all I have lost in terms of youth, I have had such a wonderful life thus far!
I have experienced life in many different costumes - daughter, sister, wife, mother, stepmother, therapist, teacher and writer.
- I love my life!! Why then would my impending 50th birthday be anything less than a celebration of the many wonderful opportunities I have had in my life!?
And yet - well - there's the whole party thing - not particularly keen on being the centre of attention, and there's the whole "What will I wear?" drama - and being a person of a certain stature I am not a natural clothes horse - I've been known to make the most expensive clothes look badly cut!!
But I came to a realisation this morning - well two actually - one after the other - a bit like the buses!
The first one was - 49 3/4 isn't so bad how much worse can 50 be? - Plus all the realisation listed above about how blessed I have been.
The second one was that parties are actually OK - in fact it struck me that our whole lives are a bit like a series of parties.
We enter a little tentatively - not really sure of all the bright lights and strange new, sounds, sights and smells. We cling to those we are close to and feel safe with. After a while, we might begin to get a little more adventurous and start meeting up with other people in different places.
We begin to try on different costumes and personas, as we gather more experience in life. Some parties are really joyful, others a little 'samey' and some are even downright 'scary' but all pass and we learn and change and grow and spend our time with many different people. We worry about our 'appearance', our ability to communicate and what impression we have made on others.
Then we begin to reflect on all the different parties we have been to, all the different costumes we have worn and wonder what it has all been about.
We may begin to realise just how valuable very single person we have passed time with has been to us. Those with whom we have felt comfortable and happy, but also those who have challenged us and from whom we have learnt lessons we may not have chosen for ourselves!
All has been enriching in some way or another - all events have led us to who we are today. Whoever you are - there are people in your life who are so glad they get to party with you and that you are exactly who you are.
They don't care what colour your hair is or how well your clothes fit you. They don't care whether you are wearing your 'full of life' costume or your 'sad and needy' costume - they will even welcome you with your 'annoying costume'.
Because we all have others around us who see us for who we truly are. Who see beyond the facade and the party small talk. Those who see the 'us' inside the costume with all our varied needs, wants and cares.
All my life (nearly but not quite half a century of it) I have felt an intrinsic 'me' inside. An identity deep within the layers of human development and the various stages of life. An always constant identity at the core of the many different personalities I have tried out as I have grown, learnt and adapted to the world around me.
It is on this level that we are all connected and sharing this time on this planet. It is on this level that the outer costumes of politics, race and religion are dispersed.
And on this level that we will find peace and prosperity.
So whatever you are doing today, however you are feeling and whoever you are spending your time with, remember this time will pass.
So take everything you can from every experience you have. Learn to appreciate the 'all' and embrace every aspect of this strange journey we call life.
Growth is good - it is what our parents brought us into the world for. It is what we leave in the hearts and minds of those we touch whilst here.
If like me you feel you have passed that 'best before date' -change your glasses - because beauty comes from within.
Next time you are being critical about your appearance, never mind the 'bum' - ask yourself instead -
"Does my soul look big in this?"
Love to all, Tracy x