Most days I am able to see growing older as a gift. In the past, I wasted way too much energy worrying about things I couldn’t control. Worrying about what others thought of me – bosses, co-workers, contemporaries, even complete strangers! It is the crowning reward of becoming a true grownup to gain the perspective on life that only time and experience can bring. Most days I wear my crown with pleasure and no longer obsess over what others may or may not think of me or second guess myself.
Most days. Most days I can go about my life, looking for adventures and creativity that are not defined by age. Most days I can be my own cheerleader and focus and direct my energies into positive actions. Sadly, these are not most days. Current world events weigh heavily on me. The systemic racism in our country can no longer be denied. People are dying daily from a health crisis that has been allowed to spin out of control. At a time when I most want to gather my loved ones close, I need to stay away to keep them safe. I am definitely in a COVID19-funk and know that life will never return to what I thought of as normal. Perhaps that is why some of the tools I have used in the past to pull myself out of a bad mood aren’t working. I knew I needed a shift in perspective, or it was going to be a very long summer.
This week, that perspective came from seeing myself through another’s eyes. I received a pre-birthday letter of love from a niece. In her eloquent writings, she shared her favorite memories of me through the years. While reading, I was amazed at her litany of reminisces, including the story about me providing her with some sage advice at a time she really needed it. And her memory of coming to visit with her mom and brother for the Christmas holidays when she was four or five years old and sleeping with me in my big bed, snuggled up and being allowed to cuddle my Raggedy Ann doll. Wow! I am beyond touched that with all she currently has on her own plate navigating her family through this pandemic, she reached out with such a kind heart. People often have a hard time appreciating their own value, including me. How helpful that every once in a while, we can have the privilege of seeing ourselves through someone else’s eyes.
While it is often human nature to stay with what we know, the times they are a changing. I am trying to use this time to reset my value system, figuring out where best to put my time and love. And as I bob and weave my way through our new normal, I am grateful for people like my niece who help me keep things in perspective.
C’est la vie.