I feel my own mortality, often. I notice my eyes struggling to focus. I notice the cellulite on my legs in the mirror, the greying of my hair, the sagging of my cheeks (on my face ;)). The things in themselves are not scary. It is what I take them to mean.
Do they mean I am running out of time to do whatever great work I imagined would finally bring the love and adoration I thought I needed and didn’t have?
Does it mean imminent failure? Does is mean my time is almost up?
Does it mean I will never be ‘sexy’ again? For a woman, your ‘sexiness’ is a power card, it gets you in the door, it gets you heard, it gets you the job, it gets you the attention you need to get your other needs met, or does it? What does ‘sexy’ even mean? I have heard that it has nothing to do with physical attributes. So, can you lose it with age?
My Mom said that old age makes her irrelevant. Is that true? What does it mean to her to be relevant? What does it mean to me? What does it mean to you?
I think I may be at the beginning of menopause, where my eggs/hormones are now signalling to me, “Okay lady, do you want any more kids? ‘Cause if you do you’d better get on it!!” “Seriously?”, I ask myself. “I am 45. I am not having another baby. Get over it.” But it’s a real feeling, and it recurs, more frequently lately.
I never had a daughter. That may be a good thing. I’m not sure how well I could parent a girl. How could I translate all the thousands of years of oppression, and how to gain acceptance and safety; and at the same time give her hope for the future, to encourage her to take responsibility for her dreams and make them happen, despite whatever stands in her way… even if it’s me? I am still learning… how could I help another?
Maybe that will forever be the task of parenthood. The blind leading the blind. With love and hope and compassion and forgiveness. Forever inadequate and somehow still (maybe just barely) enough.
Maybe the aging means something else. Maybe I am becoming more farsighted because now is the time for me to look farther ahead, to care for the future generations I will never meet. Maybe I can’t see close up anymore because closely focusing on the details of the mechanics of the present moment is no longer my role.
Maybe my hair is graying and my skin is sagging because the suppleness of youth is no longer my domain. And maybe we become less supple so that we can distance ourselves enough from the young just enough to not be competition and instead be coaches and guides and teachers.
Maybe the sex hormones finally release us from their all encompassing grip so that we can finally become fully emotionally developed humans, who can see far into the future, and lead the young to places we will never visit, in the spirit of service and compassion.