Who are you?
Over the years, the answer to that question might change. Life evolves. You learn lessons and become many different people over the course of your life.
You aren’t supposed to stay the same through the whole thing.
Life is a path, leading you to yourself.
The biggest changes happen depending on:
- What stage of life you’re in (child, parent, grandparent, solo, partnered, etc.).
- What’s happening (birth, death, health, sick, trauma).
- Who’s with you (you change with new core relationships).
- Each lesson (every lesson teaches you something and can have big or small effects on your personality and the way you see life).
The biggest changes have to do with age.
When you’re a child, you’re like a flower bud. Too small to know what you’ll be just yet. Just the budding of a personality.
There’s a general you-ness about you. A you-ness that people that have known you forever will still see within you as you get older. But only because they know what to look for.
They see the first layer, with many more layers built on top.
The child you is just opening her eyes. Just getting a glimpse of what this whole life thing is about. The stove is hot, the ice is cold, some people are good, and some are bad, what gets you into trouble and what’s okay.
There are fundamental lessons to learn. Things you need to survive and get along with other humans. It’s an information gathering stage.
Teenager. The time of experimentation, mistakes, embarrassment. How many times have you looked back and wanted to crawl under a rock?
The stupid mistakes you made. Oh, the boys you dated and the clothes you wore. It’s cringeworthy.
You might think about how dumb you were. There was so much you didn’t know. But how could you know? This is when you learned.
You can’t become the wise old crone without first being the unlearned teenager. One step leads to another.
It’s the best time to make mistakes, and the most effective way to learn.
Remember that as you raise teenagers.
This is where you care too much what others think. You just want to fit it. You desperately want to be liked.
You’re trying to find your place in the world. Where do you belong? Who do you want to be?
Those are big questions so it’s no wonder why it’s such a confusing time.
Medium Middle Age (30’s-40’s)
I call this medium middle age. But I guess nowadays, it’s not even middle yet. People are living to be 100.
Remember thinking 40 was ancient? Haha. Little did we know how little we would know at 40.
This is the stage in the game where you start getting an actual sense of who you are. The real you.
You’re not getting old. You’re becoming the person you were meant to be all the time. But you had to learn some things first.
You grow. You start to realize it doesn’t really matter what everyone else thinks. It matters how you feel. It matters what you think.
You stop hanging out with people that don’t make your life better. You start seeking people that make you better.
This is the age for new businesses or new adventures. For making that you-ness more real. Taking it to the next level. Becoming more you than you’ve ever been before.
It’s beautiful. You’re beautiful.
Later Middle Age (50’s-60’s)
Still not old. And don’t let society tell you different.
There’s still so much to see, do, and learn. If you’re lucky, this is only halfway. Just think of how much more life you can pack into those years!
By now you’ve settled into a comfortable you-ness. You have a pretty good idea of who you are and what matters to you.
Does that mean you stop there? Oh no. Not yet. You’re not done growing your “you”.
There are still places you haven’t been, experiences you haven’t had, lessons you haven’t learned. Still so much potential for evolution of the self.
You’re just older and wiser now. You catch on a little quicker. That doesn’t make the lessons any easier though.
You have lessons to pass on too. Things the newbies of the world can learn from you.
They may roll their eyes as you give them your guidance. That’s okay. There were things people said to me that mattered so much to my growth. But I didn’t know it until years and years later.
The lessons take root when they should, and not a moment sooner. So, say it anyway. And the universe will decide if and when it’s important to them.
At this point it won’t matter so much what the young bucks think. You’ll know. And you’ll keep on keeping on.
Older and Wiser (70+)
Congrats! You don’t know how lucky you are to have made it this far!
You’ve said goodbye to many by now. They’ve been lost to car accidents, cancer, stroke, heart attacks, shark bites, and any other conceivable way to go.
You could have been one of them, but you weren’t. You’re still here. That’s pretty epic.
You’re still available to give guidance to those willing to listen. In our culture that might not be many.
Somehow, the older you get, the more invisible you become.
But you’re not invisible. I often wonder if this is a way of teaching us to slowly let go of being needed or seen.
One day you’ll no longer be here. So, if you’re here but not necessarily needed, it’s easier to slowly fade from life instead of suddenly being spirited away when you weren’t ready.
Getting old isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s hard, physically and emotionally.
Your body hurts and so do your feelings at first. You’re becoming one of the invisible. The prime is over.
I hope to live this part out, and to live it out gracefully. You can’t change it, but you can respect it.
This stage of life holds its own quiet beauty.
At first, you’re young and know nothing. Then you move onto learning and stumbling all over the place. All the while having a blast. You’re the new kid on the block. Life is about you, the new growth, the new chapter. You have a vibrancy about you.
Then, you get older and wiser. The spark of newness wears off. And it’s replaced with wisdom and knowledge and evolution. It’s beautiful. It’s not the same vibrancy but it’s beautiful.
And when that changes again, it changes into something quiet. Something steady. We turn in our young vibrancy in exchange for old age.
And while many fight it, and don’t enjoy it, it’s a gift. It’s a gift not given to everyone.
You get to look back at the whole evolution of the self. You get to see and guide others in their evolution. You get to see the full circle. You get to be the full circle.
You get to experience every version of life this journey has to offer. What a ride.
When you watch a movie, do you stop halfway and turn the tv off? That’s no way to end a story. You want to know how it ends. You want to see what happens.
That’s old age. Seeing what happens. Being part of it.
You don’t get to be the main star forever. You’re the main star to yourself. But others get to be the loudest in the room. It’s their turn. You had yours.
Applaud them. Enjoy them. Enjoy seeing it from this side of the path.
Life has a lot to do with trust.
You have to trust the path before you. It’s leading you somewhere.
It’s leading you to the “you” you’re meant to be.
You won’t know how far along into that journey you’ll get. You may only get halfway.
So, enjoy it. Cherish it. And if you’re lucky enough to get old, appreciate it. It’s a gift.
It’s not a punishment.
Trust life. Trust it to teach you, to grow you, and to take you as far as you’re supposed to go.
Trust life to show you who you are. What you want. What you care about. Why are you here?
Maybe you won’t know until the very end. That’s okay.
You’re you. The only you here. And isn’t that amazing?
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