In the ‘birthdays are a time of reflection’ category:
I’m 49 today! Big deal, right?
Right. It is a big deal. To me. And that’s all that matters.
(I may or may not be sticking my tongue out at you right now. The odds are good on the former.)
Anyway, maybe this particular blog as a ‘summation of what I’ve learned thus far’, so to speak, should have waited until next year on my ‘milestone 50th’ birthday, especially since I’m often spouting about how we change all the time and I could change my mind on these things by next year; however, my opinions on what I’m writing about now haven’t changed, and – wait ‘til next year? Puh-leeze. If you’ve learned anything about me here it’s that: patience is not my strong suit and I almost never do what I should do.
Then again, I could still change my mind in exactly one year and completely recant everything I’m saying today. I might even do that. Just for the sport of it.
But for now, as a new 49-year-old, right now:
I. LOVE. MY. AGE.
I love being older.
When we were younger –
– I say ‘younger’ instead of ‘kids’ because I still feel like a kid –
we couldn’t wait to grow up because then we ‘could do whatever we wanted to do’.
(For the record, I haven’t grown up yet. At this exact moment there are still no plans to.)
Do you realize how true that is? We can do whatever we want to do.
I’ll say it again: We can do whatever we want to do.
I can hear the argument that starts with the discussion of all the things we have to do because of our ‘responsibilities’: we have to work to support our kids, our homes, our lives. We feel we have no choice here; but we do. I can choose to work or choose not to work. And then the argument goes: you have to work or you will lose what you have.
Think about that. Consequences or repercussions do not imply lack of choice, they merely change the parameters of what we are choosing between. If I choose not to work, I will suffer the consequences, right?
Then I am making a choice between working and not getting paid, and not between working or not working. The ‘consequence’ of the choice is the actual choice. Ergo, I still have the ability to make a choice, and there is no have to.
See what I did there?
What I have learned is that it really depends on how we think (and, of course, if we think). We truly do create our own realities.
When we are younger, our beliefs are quite expansive. We have no knowledge of how to limit ourselves. That comes with age. And later with more aging, we learn how limited we’ve allowed ourselves to become.
We then make another choice: live with the limits we learned or take a deep breath and let them go.
As we get older we begin to see that so many of the rules we live by are learned and not natural. What we knew as children before we were shown the ideas of expectations and judgment was natural … and right. We learned to worry about what other people thought of us, and were taught to behave under specific standards of conformity – and these differed geographically.
How can so many different groups of race, ethnicity, gender and religion not see that if they’d simply been born somewhere else their whole learned-belief-scope would be different? And if they see that, how can they assume their learned-belief-scope is the one and true way? Doesn’t that simple fact prove unequivocally how much of what any one of us believes now is learned and not known?
There is a difference between belief and knowing. Belief implies a base hope; knowing just is.
We were born out of love, and love was our first experience. As babies, we looked around at the world around us with awe and appreciation at how different everything was – but then grew up to be taught that only some differences are acceptable.
I have limited myself continuously out of concern of judgment from everyone around me; my parents, my school, my churches, teachers, the ‘popular’ kids, the rich kids, the boys, the girls, the men, the women, society, magazines, politics, my kids, my kids’ teachers, other parents, boyfriends, husbands, siblings … and that guy on the corner. Their expectations and the threat of judgment from them played a big part in how I acted, spoke, dressed, worked, played, taught, learned … and even thought. Yes, in some cases I did choose the path of rebellion and did things to spite them – but it still proves that my life was limited or controlled by others’ thinking (even in reverse). And I chose that, because I was still stuck in my learned conformity.
I realized that sad fact a long time ago. At first, I spent a number of years being angry at everyone else for doing that to me; then a few more years angry at myself for letting them. Then I realized I was wasting time and decided to take matters into my own hands. I decided to change – secretly, of course. Secretly, because if I told anyone what I was planning to do – who I was planning to be, whose rules I was planning to follow – there would be enough opposition to make me cower back in my corner and conform.
It took even longer to get up the courage to act on my newer way of thinking.
Now, I’m more committed to doing what I want more than ever – to being who I am. No matter what anyone else thinks or says. That’s the beauty of it. The freedom in being myself – being true to what I know – is incredible. Do I still use bad judgment? DUH. Sometimes I’m even aware of it at the time and choose it anyway. Does it still hurt if someone judges me, or is disappointed in me? Of course; but not as much, and definitely not as often.
I am so much happier this way.
The flip side (because it’s never this OR that – it’s always this AND that) is actually even better. The more I release myself of outside expectations and judgments, the less I expect and judge others.
I am creating my own reality – even your part in it is somewhat of my own creation. What I choose to ‘get’ from you is what I want to see. As co-creators together, this is the most and bestest support I can give you, as long as what I choose to see in you is positive. Without judgment or expectation, I am learning to love you as the love you were when you were born. I can be happy loving you, because love is always positive. If I feel I’m being hurt by that, then I need to change my expectations of you and allow you the same freedoms of choice that I am learning to allow myself.
No, I still don’t quite have the hang of it yet – but I’m getting there.
Back to the ‘flip side’. This AND that. It is always this AND that. The other side of the coin – both sides at the same time – because without both sides there is no coin. There will always be something positive in what we perceive to be negative, and always something negative in what we perceive to be positive. Polarity is necessary for perspective. The person who is born blind will never know what darkness is if he’s never seen light. Polarity is necessary for choice of preference. So-called ‘bad’ choices are helpful for the same reason.
If I remain aware of my freedom of choice in my thoughts and make sure to find my positive in everything, then I – and only I – control my actions. Actions are the results of emotions which are the results of thoughts. This is how we create our reality.
This is how I’m creating mine. It took me 49 years to get here, but with the focus on the right perspective I can say it’s been a great time. (Don’t ask me about that on a bad day – I have occasionally been known to choose self-pity.)
I control my life. I love the power and freedom in knowing that. No matter what I do; right or wrong, good or bad, stupid or stupid-er. There is no blame on others, and can be no blame on myself because I make choices based on my knowledge at the moment.
You can think whatever you want of me. That’s pretty great for you, isn’t it? And whatever you think is fine – good even, because it has no effect on me unless I want it to, or if I decide to teach myself a lesson and choose for it to.
(I’m hoping to grow out of that.)
My reality, my choice; your reality, yours. How fun is that? We each get our own piece of paper and our own crayons!
We were told as kids that we need to learn to grow. I feel like I’m still a kid, but lately I find I’m growing more by un-learning. Still more of this and that. I love synchronicity.
I can hear the Universe shouting to me, “Happy Birthday, Susie!” but it sounds like, “It’s about time!”
Yes, it is. 49 years’ worth.
Happy Birthday to Me!