The older I get, the more I think I don't understand life at all.
When I was younger, I was too busy living to think too much about meaning. I knew I had to work hard and succeed. I knew I should care about and help others. But I didn't get LIFE. You know? I was just too young and inexperienced.
Often I still feel frightfully young and uncertain of things, like there is so much more out there to experience and consider. And really, I feel like it is all in here, and not "out there" at all. That the in-hereness of LIFE is one of its secrets that you start to figure out when you slow down and be.
I spend a lot of my time in the outer world. Doing things, achieving, accomplishing, striving, surviving. Generally, I like it there. I enjoy the busyness and the socialness and the continuity of my life. BUT I also like the sense I carry within me, a quiet, still, heavy, calm, soothing awareness that real life is inside and that all the rest of it is just illusion and trappings. It's why I can be happy even when I'm sad, and calm even when I'm agitated. I don't know if that makes sense, but that's okay too. It's what I feel.
Paradoxically, I've been feeling quite middle-aged of late. That's unusual for me. I convinced myself long ago that I was going to live well into my 90s, so I usually tend to think of my 40s as being a time of youth and vibrancy, not even halfway along my path this time through. But lately I'm driving in the car, or shopping, or writing, and I see myself as others most. A 43 year old woman, overweight, tired, frazzled hair and aging skin. You can't hide the reality of all of that behind an energetic smile. And it's okay. It's okay to me to be what I am. I'm not frightened of it or resisting it. Most of me actually embraces it. I worked hard to get to this day, this moment, and I have earned all of my past. It just seems sort of ... weird, I guess.
But happy. Mostly happy.