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Midlife Mantra

Joined: 5/13/2015
Posts: 7
liz pearl
Midlife Mantra
Our lives are made up of highs, lows and in-betweens. We navigate our way through dark tunnels, jammed highways, shady neighbourhoods, winding roads, steep hills, slippery slopes, rough patches, confusing intersections, calm fields, vast valleys, spectacular summits and breathtaking landscapes. The path we travel in between, whether rugged or clear, forges an opening with a panoramic vista, allowing us to reflect back upon and to look forward toward the chromatic horizon, often beautiful and sometimes blinding.
As I inevitably approach my 50th birthday, I am compelled to look backward and to gaze forward; the forthcoming mid-century milestone seems like a somewhat sturdy plateau with relatively decent visibility. And clear visibility is a wondrous blessing. For better or worse, the ardent idealism and romanticism of my youth have faded. The fog and fatigue of childbearing and childrearing have lifted. The triumphant finish line of the potentially turbulent teenage years of our offspring, when as devoted parents we simply hunker down and wait for the unpredictable rollercoaster ride to pass; is almost in sight. Presently, I am muddling my way through the transitional launching years ‒ precariously suspended (in my helicopter) by faith and good fortune (and nagging), watching with wonder, as my progeny free-fall toward safe landings. Each new stage presents fresh opportunities. One chapter concludes and another begins.
With caution and awe, I approach a slight junction of body, mind and soul. I have made it thus far; and now I pause and take a breather ‒ a Zen moment (Lotus Yoga Pose). Om. Ah. Or is that a sigh? A kvetch? I may as well, since I really don’t know what possible curves, crevices, precipices, puddles or peaks the path ahead might reveal. Not to mention my visibility or steering. Midlife mantra ‒ Oy...oy…
In modern psychology terms, I am prudently approaching gerotranscendence (a theory developed by Swedish gerontologist Dr. Lars Tornstam). The gerotranscendent individual experiences a re-definition of the self, of relationships to others and develops a new understanding of fundamental, existential questions. The big picture. Inner harmony and external focus. I think of this transition as a welcome realignment of my internal compass. Gerotranscendence offers a complementary theory to existing models of aging, one that highlights positive aging, growth, interconnectedness, wisdom and understanding, which are the incredible rewards of decades of the life we have lived. In lay person’s lingo, we affirm life and declare: “Carpe diem!” (Horace's Odes Book 1, number 11), and translated from Hebrew, Hillel the Elder’s words: “And if not now, when?" (Mishna in Pirkei Avot 1:14).
Judaism constantly implores us to learn from our wise sages and learned elders, in the hope that the strength, vibrancy and naiveté of youth might be tempered with the wisdom, acumen and maturity of experience. And so, from my present vantage point and current perspective, I wish to pass along the wisdom I have wholeheartedly gleaned. Wisdom proudly garnered from my extended sisterhood, the fascinating women of Living Legacies, and beyond.

“You can't connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards... You have to trust in something ‒ your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever‒because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path.”
‒Steve Jobs

“Like branches on a tree, our lives may grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one. All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today. Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”


Liz Pearl
© 2014

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