I turned a year older this month. Confession: I was not excited about this. I miss the days where I couldn’t wait to have a birthday. When it meant cake and candles and wishes and a frilly party dress. When I was so excited to turn a year older that I would announce proudly to anyone who would listen that I was “eight and a half.”
Last year on my birthday I was in a Broadway show. In between the matinee and evening performances the cast and crew gatherered in the green room to present me with a cake and sing Happy Birthday. Seeing the look of fear on my face, the actress Alicia Silverstone turned to me and said “just wait- your 30s will be soooo much better than your 20s.” This was immediately followed with “and your 40s are even better” by the acting goddess Laura Linney. I confess to you now that my first thought to their birthday enthusiasm was “yes but you are both famous and accomplished so it’s totally different for you.”
Unlike the terror the beauty industry would like to instill in us lady folk, my fear of growing older isn’t based on wrinkles and saggy boobs. My trepidation with each additional candle to the birthday cake is the fear of running out of time to do all the things I want to do in this life.
Does this ring any bells for you? Well then read on my friend.
Yesterday I went to a training session that included taking a look at what they called our “shitsack”: the crap from the past that we carry around with us and weighs us down and prevents us from attaining what we really want. Then we were given this example:
Most of us think in linear terms of PAST –> PRESENT –> FUTURE. But if we overload our “shitsack” we are constantly looking backwards into the past, which then defines our present and looks more like PRESENT–>PAST–>PRESENT. So if you got burned in a bad relationship in the past and continue to think you’re not worthy of love or all men are douche bags then you will continue to avoid finding love. BUT if we define what we want our lives to look like in the future, we can make our present lead us in the right direction, changing our model to FUTURE–>PRESENT –>FUTURE and effectively rewriting our PAST. (I swear this makes sense- reread if necessary!)
Another great example comes from Margaret Lobenstine’s Renaissance Soul, my latest book obsession. In it, she writes about how so many people are afraid of going after what they really want/trying something new because they feel like they are running out of time to change courses now. She then goes on to provide this chart:
A. Quickly jot down the age to which you expect to live. _______
B. Write down your present age. ____
C. Subtract the answer on line B from your answer on line A. ____
D. Now write your present age again. _____
E. Subtract the answer on C from the answer on line B. _____
So if you are 31 years old and you expect to live until you are 80, then you have 49 years of exploring left to go…. that means that you have the same time available to you as you did when were -18 years old (18 years before you were born)! Woa!! Even if you take off a decade from that time, you still have miles to go before you sleep!
In short, we are all getting older with each and every milliseconds that we are alive and breathing on this planet. How we choose to spend those billions and billions of milliseconds is entirely ours for the making.