The other day, on my yoga mat (where only good things happen) I saw my life in two distinct halves. (I’ve always held to some sort of belief that I will live to one hundred or slightly beyond). So the arithmetic says, I’m just starting the second half of my life. And then it hit me.
What if I could really get a second start at 50? What if it were just as if the slate were wiped clean, and along with it, stupid mistakes, big and small, were just – gone. And as I lay there and went with that, a sense of hope and excitement started to build. I can do better the second time around, I’m sure. Fairly humming with the thoughts of a clean slate in just under a year, I floated home.
And then, less than twenty-four hours later, I picked a stupid fight with only man I’ve ever loved over a text message that stimulated an old hurt. And I came crashing down, exhausted, thinking – I just can’t keep being periodically stupid for another fifty years. Sigh.
What gives the elderly – and clearly, those of us who are fifty, driving fun cars, riding motorcycles and still viewing life as a playground do not count – that settled, amazing sense of knowing? I’m certain they all made many mistakes, poor decisions, and hurt those they love the most too many times to count. They sought after success in their careers, lived selfishly at times, didn’t give as much money away as they’d like, and forgot what was really important.
I know a couple of things. Wisdom doesn’t come from avoiding mistakes. It comes from learning from them. And perhaps the wise have realized that we are always going to have a certain ability to make poor decisions, and rather than beat ourselves up and try a little harder to not screw up, they have accepted that for whatever reason, this is how we are made.
But maybe, it’s more about acceptance. Acceptance that they – or we – are good enough. Mistakes and all, exhausted from trying to hit perfect, or even really good – they accept that they are good enough, thank you. And if I am good enough – then you, and everyone I meet – are good enough.
True freedom from guilt, striving and remorse for me and you? No need to judge, criticize and expose each other’s weaknesses? Maybe that’s what I see in the faces of the elderly. Because it radiates from them and it says to everyone else they meet – stop striving to be perfect. You are good enough.
Ten months to let this cement into knowing. I’ll keep you posted.
I borrowed this photo from here:
Thanks, Marc, for posting this today. Perfect timing.