3 Questions

     Since turning 45, so many things have happened; little things, life things, growth things. The three consistent questions I get are, "Do you ever slow down? You must have a lot of money to do all the things you do?" and "Who exactly are you dating?," These are not pressing questions about who I am, but I want to address them as proof you don't need money to experience life, you don't necessarily need a relationship, though a healthy one is essential, and what you see in pictures is only part of the story. The last question I get asked often. For the most part, I prefer to keep fairly private when I am dating someone, but at this point in my life I've decided not to date (for a while).  My last relationship was brief, but it packed a powerful message. After the tears, I came to appreciate it's impact immensely. Dare I say, it was probably one of the most poignant life events I've ever had, for no other reason than the timing and the circumstance lead me to a place of incredible healing. (That last line should all be in caps, it's that significant, but I don't want to seem like I'm screaming.) What more could I ask for?  I realize now I spent the entire time very cautious for fear he would hurt me. Before I knew it, it was over. My advice to anyone would be, if you recognize your fear, you're probably not ready, but at the same time life is about to hand you a painful lesson which could change everything, and it did. Pain isn't always a bad thing. So, I don't regret it happened, I realize it was meant to happen. My goal isn't to find someone now, my goal is to let life happen without thinking about it too much.
     It's true, I have a zest for life and I do a lot of things. However, Facebook is a place to highlight the fun times with pictures not really the quiet times, so if it seems like I never slow down, that's just not the case. I spend my share of time alone...not lonely, but alone. It's a beautiful thing when you can be alone with yourself and enjoy the company. I've made a conscious effort to dedicate at least one hour of quiet time every single day before I go to bed. I step away from my phone, no calls, no text, no t.v. (not a stretch there, I never watch regularly broadcast television). I watch documentaries about people who make a difference in the world, big and small, I read books or I meditate. My girls are older now, two off at college and one in high school. This has been an adjustment. I spent years raising them, but that's all changing.
          My friendships have taken on new meaning, grown deeper and more important. We have a closeness and an acceptance of one another in a way I've never had before, or perhaps I 'm just now realizing the importance of them. We've all been through our own heartaches, our own triumphs and overall our stories aren't much different. We lift each other up and catch each other when we fall. I see myself as some part of them, as they are a part of me and I'm confident should any one of my friends meet, as they often do, they will and have also become friends. We were brought together for a reason. When you stop forcing life, it happens naturally, the way it was designed to. Which is how I have come to do so many things, through friendship and sharing what's really great about our lives, with each other.
     Since turning 45, anything that doesn't serve a greater purpose or is a negative force in my life, I let go of, sometimes that includes people. I say "no" when I don't feel like doing something, and only a few of my friends will understand the significance of this and handful of women...but I don't take men's numbers when they try to hand them to me, just because I think it's easier to be nice than it is to be honest. I'm just honest, but I'm nice about it and I've found an incredible freedom in knowing what I need, and honoring that. Life quickly conspires to give you what you desire when you're true to yourself.
     I don't exactly know how many years it takes to reach who you're meant to be, but I do know when you think you're there, in five more years, you'll laugh at yourself for thinking such a thing. I read a quote some time ago by William S. Burroughs which resonated with me, "When you stop growing, you start dying." I often day dream about selling everything I own, except a backpack and setting out in the world and I secretly fantasize someone from National Geographic will call so I can tag along on a photo shoot somewhere in the world I've never seen. I'm the person tucked away in the library reading their magazines like some men page through Playboy. I can't imagine the day I stop growing. Almost everything I do seems like an adventure, because it is! I usually don't follow a set plan, that's just so limiting. I have a general idea when or where I want to be, rally some friends and it all works out. It's simple, not complicated. I truly live in every single moment I'm in: the sites, the sounds, the smells, the taste, the richness of the colors around me, the people, the music, the scenery. I devour it all like it's my greatest meal. Life has given me these things, not money and I'm thankful every single day.