Grateful for the Life in My Years
Thankful for the memories
If we are all blessed with one thing — it is memory. I think I am lucky to have a sharp memory and while it sometimes freaks me out that I can remember a lot of trivial things that probably serve no purpose, I also consider it a good thing.
After all, isn’t it wonderful to remember where my son stashed a particular sketch he made four years ago — and be able to recall what he was wearing on that particular day? Fine, go on. Laugh.
Yet, sometimes, memories — trivial or not — are all we have to fall back on when we feel low or lonely . . . or just want to wallow in a contemplative mood.
Even though I am two years short of six decades on earth, I still find it a little weird to think of myself in relation to the word “old”.
This reminds me of one particular incident — I must have been forty-five.
There was a running joke in the family about how I did not have the guts to cut my hair short for the longest time even though I yearned to keep it short (unlike my blog posts!).
One afternoon, my mom and I were busy prepping for dinner and watching TV, when we saw one of our favorite stars in a really short haircut. My mom remarked how wonderful the hairstyle looked on her. And I immediately responded, “When I am 40, that’s exactly what I am going to do — cut it short and look smart.”
My mom burst out laughing and wouldn’t stop. At first, I was puzzled — then I got a little annoyed. When she could finally control herself, she said, sputtering, “Vidya, how old do you think you are, now?”
Imagine my sheepishness when I realized with a start that I was forty-five! Of course, I had to join her in her laughter now.
Yes. That’s what it all boils down to. The life in my years. I am so busy living that it is often shocking to see the days go by so quickly. And before we know it, I’ve lived one more year.
As I look back, the things that I got worked up about, say, ten years ago, don’t bother me anymore. I’ve become more tolerant of myself and others and less focused on perfection.
I used to be the type of person who had to get things just right — and most of the time, it was all or nothing.
A simple example is cleaning the house. I either wanted to deep clean the entire house or not at all. I’d get so mad at my husband when he said — take one room at a time; it can be so tiring to spend all day doing nothing but clean.
I see the wisdom behind it now.
- I am happy to play with my dust bunnies.
- I am happy to do the work I do — writing, editing, blogging.
- I am happy to put aside what I am doing and just enjoy some music or read a book — or indulge in being impulsive and take an entire afternoon off just to look at photo albums and enjoy my walk down nostalgia lane.
- I am happy I am diabetic because it means a healthy lifestyle is a non-negotiable in my life.
- I do not worry or lose sleep over a kitchen sink full of washing up to do. I know it will get done . . . eventually.
- I am glad that I have plenty to give and no longer have the desire to “save” stuff.
Growing up in a frugal family, I used to feel compelled to save every little thing. Not anymore. Life is too short to bother with clutter. I am already halfway through clearing up mine.
Not easy, I tell you! What took years and years to accumulate does not leave in a day. Or even a month. Because life happens every day and it is easy to put things off. Still, I am working hard.
All I want is to look back at my life and know that I have no regrets.
After another decade, if I am around,
- I hope to look back and feel satisfied that I’ve celebrated the small things and lived mindfully.
- I hope I can be half the wonderful human being my mother was.
- Heck, I’d also love to put my feet up (if I can raise them that high) and gaze at my bookshelf and see my published work sitting there.
- I hope that when I am gone, I will be remembered as someone who believed that kindness to others equals the highest form of love.
You know what they say…growing old is mandatory but growing up is optional.
So I am just focusing on the life in my years . . . not the years in my life, with gratitude.
In response of sorts to Trista Signe Ainsworth’s prompt Treasured Time: How do you value time in your life?
I loved Ali’s beautiful poem What is Time where she writes about how, in the end, it does not matter how you define time, it is how you use it.
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