Growing older = getting wiser = freeing up

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When I received an invitation from Susannah Conway to participate in a blog series about the AWESOMENESS of aging, I got full body goose bumps, aka “truth bumps.”

How refreshing to focus on the positive aspects of aging, rather than replaying the same old, “how to hold onto your youth” conversation, over and over again. Finally, an opportunity to collectively celebrate all that is GOOD about getting older…and wiser.  Leave it to Susannah to spark such a sorely needed dialogue in celebration of her 41st birthday.

This woman is seriously on the pulse.

Like many of the inspiring women participating in this conversation, I am turning the big 4-O this year.  Although I’ve never been too caught up in the number game, forty does seem like a pretty big deal — a threshold of sorts.  And, while it can be tempting to focus on the shocking amount of grey hair I have, my deepening “laugh lines” or my cranky-body-part-of-the-moment, it’s honestly just not that interesting to me…anymore.

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To give you the full story, I’ve spent an excruciating amount of time and energy worrying about what I look like…and sound like and act like (you name it).  For much of my teens, twenties and into my thirties, I battled massive insecurities that held me in unhealthy patterns.  Although I knew on an intellectual level that the “gremlin” voices in my head were way out of control, they often ran the show.

However, as my life’s work started to clarify, amplified with a few life-altering trips to Burning Man, stacks of self-help books and a heaps of soul seaching, I slowly started caring less and less about what I looked like on the outside.  My priorities started to shift towards feeling good, doing positive work in the world and surrounding myself with the people I love.  This shift was so potent for me, I actually decided to change my name to reflect the “new me.”  This is how committed I was to letting those old stories GO.

 The moral of my story is:  Growing older = getting wiser = freeing up.

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Now, with each passing year, I’m aware of how much LESS I care about what other people think of me.  At the same time, I’ve also grown more comfortable living in my skin, speaking my truth and owning my expertise and talent.  As a result, I let my uniqueness shine brighter, I stand taller, I speak more clearly and I attract more and more amazing people into my sphere.  Hallelujah.

Aging has also shed some serious light on the BIG LIFE questions such as:  Who am I?  What do I believe? What is my style?  What foods make me feel good? What kind of partner is good for me?  What am I going to be when I grow up?  And the list goes on.

Although I’ll always be a truth seeker and I still find myself stumbling along at times, on most days I find myself standing firmly on solid ground — belief system in tack and clear purpose leading me forward.  I even found myself a NICE guy who makes me laugh, listens deeply, accepts everything about me and shows up when he says he will.  This, my friends, is a sign of the times.

I tell you what, it’s amazing how much energy I’ve FREED UP by no longer worrying about things that don’t actually matter or by spending time with people who do not feed my soul.  Instead, I use my energy to create art, inspire others, spread love, manifest big dreams and tend to my body, mind and spirit.  Did I mention travel the world, do cartwheels on the beach, volunteer in disaster zones and write books?

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I’m grateful to say that my life feels more grounded, soulful,  connected and FUN than ever before.  This is not to say it’s all smooth sailing from here, but the waters do feel pretty calm around here thanks to all the years of brave navigating that have brought me here.

Here’s to celebrating life with each and every delicious year.

***Head on over to Sussanah’s blog for links to many other inspiring tales on aging from rockin’ women around the world.  So juicy!

 

16 Comments

  1. love, love, love this! how wonderful it is to step deeper and deeper into ourselves!

  2. Hmmm does this mean that cause I’m 63 that I’m supposed to be wise and know who I am ???? Yes, I’m wiser than I was at a young 40 years old when the world was still exciting and new but I still can’t believe I’m old — my mind is young and I guess thats what plays tricks on you at times – the body doesn’t stop. However my advice to all the young 40 year old women out there is this — “Make the most of your life while you still can”, Eat Healthy, Exercise – Yoga, Pilates and walking or running gently, AND PLAY when you can, embrace you and welcome you into your life.

  3. Cheers dear Flora to “celebrating life with each and every delicious year.” !!!! You and I are similar in age (I turned 42 this past Fall) and it is interesting to see that we both mention in our posts how much we are loving feeling good in our own skins — speaking our minds and not caring so much about what other people think. I also really like what you said about ‘owning your expertise and talent’ at this stage in our lives. Yes, that’s a big one! So happy to have connected with you. I look forward to visiting your blog often. I need me some good sistah-hood with like-minded folk. XO

  4. I’m hitting the big 4-0 this year also, and I agree that the comfort I feel in my own skin now is one of the best parts of aging. I don’t feel that pressure to be something or someone else, and the people who are coming into my life are just amazing!

  5. Loved this post and you are certainly an inspiration. You are also one of the authentic ones out there doing this I think… I get so tired of the very staged videos and interviews that artists feel they have to do… managing every little bit of their persona for complete perception control. Good for you… your trueness shines through. And, after a divorce, I recently changed my name as well (my last name, that is) to something new and I know, as an artist, how weird this seems and how necessary it becomes to be who we must be. Thanks for sharing your story. 40s are kick ass! It all gets better!!!!

  6. Age is a state of mind, if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. I’ve always taken care of my machine, knowing that when I got older it would take care of me. We learn and learn in hopes of getting it right, but right or wrong, never stop trying and keep your dreams alive. I’m more confident in my abilities, and enjoying painting at this time in my life is a blessing, thanks to Flora for showing me the way. We need our girlfriends in our lives more and more and by sharing our journey, realize we are no alone.
    Live, Love and Laugh…..I’m 72 1/2…. and my light
    is still burning bright!!

    We need our girlfriends more and more as we age and by sharing our experiences, realize we are not alone on this fabulous journey.
    Live, love and laugh……I’m 72 and a half.

  7. LOVE LOVE LOVE!! You GO GIRL!! You explained how I’m feeling, EXACTLY!! Most days – I even forget how old I am! haha. It’s so wonderful – this journey of life, love and enjoyment! :)

  8. Thank you for this. It seems that now that I am a ‘woman of a certain age’… I truly get this. I think I’ve read sentiments like this before… as we age, we get wiser, care less about what others think, etc. Not as lovely as your writing, of course. However, it is now, that I am older, wiser and care less about what others think that I nod while reading your wise words. We are truly like fine wine…getting better and better with age. Can’t wait to meet you one of these days either in Bali or Portland. I feel a bit like you are already a friend of mine. Keep writing and sharing.. you are fabulous. Terima kasih.

  9. This is wonderful and I agree and resonate with you 100%! :) ) x

  10. Wow! Two of the woman that I truly admire talking about aging! i look forward to it but I have to tell you both that you are babies compared to me. Blessings, Lydia

  11. Ahhh the big 4-0!! I just turned 44, and I think the 40′s Frickin’ ROCK! I often forget how old I am? How cool is that? Welcome to the 40′s, glad you could join the party. Jump in, been keep the water warm for ya!
    Hugs
    Pippin

  12. Wow! FABULOUS post! I am turning 45 this year and I really understand what you mean. Keep spreading the truth and the love.

  13. This post was great. I turned 40 in December and it was a “moment” for me. I can, as I am sure many women out there can, relate with A lot of what you said. I loved your term “cranky” body parts. Now every time I feel “it” I’m gonna say, “don’t you get cranky with me” “we are FLEXIBLE” no stiff rods here! well….maybe some, giggle :-D cheers

  14. Flora ~ I know how you feel about obsessing about how you look and all that. You look fabulous, as you really should be told. Wiser is a good thing! I thrive on how wise I am becoming. But, also, we can put so much more thought and deep consciousness into our art, which I love about getting older. ~Karen Fields

  15. I am in my early 50′s and I can definitely connect with everything you are saying, I only found the courage to actually push myself in the Art world a few years ago and am often called “the Arty One” but used to think that people were just being nice. I have only kept close all the positive people in my life, I am too old/wise to be messing with trouble makers, and I have only just discovered you, your name and your art, I am learning so much in my 50′s I love this age and I have so much to learn. I am like a sponge wanting to pick up all the techniques that I wish I had known about in my younger days. I always knew I was Arty but felt that if others didn’t believe in me that I couldn’t believe in myself. Not any more. If you believe in yourself others will believe in you too. I look forward to seeing a lot more of your art and reading your blogs and whatever else comes along with my Journey in the Mixed Media/Art Journaling world. xx

  16. i love you Flora! you inspire me to the bones :D

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