WHO ARE YOU ANYWAY?
Aren’t you just one stage of development after another, that mindlessly follows a single path? We start development by learning to walk and talk. You learn what is acceptable to say by expressing Yes and No. Eventually we learn the limits of that expression. Life moves as a clock ticks, from here to the next phase or period of learning. We learn how to be a student and make friends. You fail or succeed with relating to people or school, scaring yourself one way or another. You grow up, and are called an adult even though you may not really know who or what that is. Never mind, you go on to a training program of some kind because you want to succeed, survive, find a place for yourself in the world. You get a skill as a hairdresser, a cook, a teacher, a dental assistant, a lawyer. You become someone in the world. Maybe that will help with the nagging sense of not having an identity, not really knowing who or what you are.
You either meet someone and have children or stay single and devote yourself to your profession. You have worked hard. Almost no one consciously thinks beyond this adult period. It is supposed to go on forever. There is almost a hypnosis about it. This is an unquestioned life.
WHERE IS THE KEY?
I lived that way too, moving from one stage to the next. But I began to notice something at midlife and I’ve kept noticing it. I check in periodically and ask myself, “Am I the same person I was before?” When I became an adolescent, I looked entirely different from how I looked as a preschool child. So it wasn’t based on how I looked. But I recognized myself. I knew it was me. It almost seems like a ridiculous question. But, I began to wonder HOW do I know I am me?
Well, I looked inside myself. I had a sense of me that was always with me. This sense has never changed. It has always been there. My thinking has changed. Many feelings have changed about myself and different people, but I still have that indescribable presence that I am here. Not, Lois is here, but this sense is here. I have called it Lois, but it does not know its name. It is just an awareness. I’ve asked many of my clients if they recognize this sense. Surprised by the question, not one of them doubted they are the same person they always were. They are familiar with the internal sense.
THAT SENSE OF REVERSE AGING
Perhaps we all have the same sense? I certainly bring it with me wherever I go in life. It’s an anti-aging state, that is always with me. It is a peaceful state, unaffected by emotional blows, pain of loss and defeat, or the benefits of success. I find it comforting. I like the idea of being able to bring it with me into an older age, as something constant that I can count on. All I need to do is become aware of it. It makes no negative judgments of me or anyone else, no matter what. It’s just there. Certainly, I’m more aware of it as I make my midlife transition. It’s best described, as a light pulse of energy. When I focus on this energy, the glow of it grows more powerful. Being aware of it, I feel a sense of reverse aging. The fact that it has always been there, frees me from any sense that I am really aging in this fundamental sense of myself. When I listen to my thoughts and feelings it recedes from my awareness. What do you think? What do you notice about it?
I think the key to successful aging is building on this sense, this foundation, that nothing disrupts, when I am aware of it.