When I was younger, I assumed that when I was an adult, that I would know myself and in knowing myself I would become wise. As an adult I have learned that I am continually learning about myself; I am sometimes astonished by what I didn’t realise about myself. I am not at all wise in the way I had hoped to be. I assumed maturity would just happen, like a cloak that would arrive from somewhere and would, over time, grow around my shoulders and down my back and become like a wonderfully comfortable coat of many fibres – that looked awesome and suited my aging but lovely persona.
That’s not my experience of maturity at all. Or wisdom. Or graceful aging.
I thought that as I aged I would know myself more fully, would feel more sure-footed, make fewer mistakes; I wouldn’t cry so often, or feel things quite as keenly as before.
I still find myself wondering why I do some of the things I do; why some days I feel like a dinghy adrift on a tumultuous ocean -tossed by giant waves with no anchor and no oars, when other days I feel so alive and vibrant, sure of myself and my direction.
So I hold on to the things that I DO know about me. I care about others. Compassion and empathy and kindness matter to me. I want to protect those who are hurting, and stand up for those who can’t fight back. I don’t argue well, but I do care and I feel and I believe. And I’m happy to laugh with those who laugh, and to cry with those who cry. And on the dark days I try to remember that ‘This, too, shall pass.”
I may surprise myself with what and how much I am still learning about me but I also know that I have an acceptance of me that I didn’t have in younger years. I’m not so hard on me. I give myself room to breathe, room to be.
I might be a nectarine, not an apple or a banana or a mandarin – and not everyone likes nectarines… and I’m ok with that. I’m more accepting of my self, and in accepting the me that I am still discovering, I am more accepting of others. And there is a joy in that.