My crush on Oprah began long before #WCW was a thing. More than money or fame, I envy her ability to inspire others to think about self-improvement, happiness and personal fulfillment in bold and compelling new ways. In fact, I can’t think of anyone who’s led the national conversation on spirituality ~ and helped define it ~ more than Oprah. She introduced us to Deepak Chopra, Caroline Myss, Gabby Bernstein, Eckhart Tolle and a host of other crusaders in the search for self-awareness.
And let’s be honest anyone who can publicly document the rise and fall of dieting with grace and humor is a girlfriend you want in your corner. Authentic without judgment.
But Oprah was wrong ~ once ~ 50 doesn’t feel like the new 30. Not. At. All. Hot flashes, sleepless nights and the constant worry of what a sneeze can release is enough to remind me that I’m past middle-aged.
A time where where’s my glasses, what did I do with my car keys and what did I come in here for? are uttered more than any other conversation starter in my house.
For much of my life I approached aging with anticipation and promise…the excitement of becoming a teenager, a college student, a career woman, a married woman and a mother. With each life change clearly marked by societal boundaries and showered with possibility and positivity. Then suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, getting older just means getting older.
I understand that as a generation just post boomers, we’re working longer, living longer and making more well-informed decisions about diets, approach to fitness and future goals but there’s a clear sense of transition happening that has caught me a bit off guard.
Like any bridge, crossing over to the unknown is stressful and it’s the fear of the unknown that keeps us clinging to the past. Wavering on the edge of what has been and what’s to come. Should we be worried about the corporate ladder or focused on reaching retirement? Chase the dreams of our youth or find new ones? Go for the Botox or embrace the laugh lines?
When there’s no clear answer, you stay stuck. Mired in self-reflection and paralyzed to move forward. Over time and through meditation, I’ve slowly begun to realize, that if we’re lucky, age can be an asset, viewed through the filter of collective experiences
- With retrospective of life lessons but not the regret of hindsight.
- With introspective of growth that is not self-critical.
- With perspective from wisdom that’s sprinkled with a healthy attitude.
Ellen Degeneres humorously noted that when you’re hiking, over the hill means the hardest part of the climb is over and there’s a snack in your future. Perhaps we’re worried that we won’t see the beauty on the other side without our bifocals. Or there are too many over the hill Hallmark cards that have clouded our headset.
I recently saw Sheryl Sandberg on Super Soul Sunday with Oprah, discussing her book Option B, a story about grief and love after the sudden and tragic death of her husband, Dave. During the interview she fiercely states there should be gratitude in aging. It’s a privilege not everyone is afforded.
Did I know that? Yes I did.
Did I need a reminder? Yes I did.
I guess the human condition to take things for granted, until we’re reminded otherwise, doesn’t change no matter how old you get. Or how much wisdom we’ve acquired.