There are so many negative cliches about aging. After my 21st birthday, I could care less about celebrating my birthday. Now at 40, I fully embrace my years on this earth and am proud of where I am mentally. I feel that the challenges I have faced created many opportunities to learn, grow, evolve and helped me to gain more wisdom. When somebody asks me how old I am, I’m glad to tell them. For me this is a stark difference from how I felt even ten years ago.
A few factors contribute to how our society views age, most especially how each gender ages. Men become distinguished looking when their hair turns gray and women are described as old. The beauty industry drives these ideas about aging by producing products to stop or help freeze time from affecting our looks. Many of us subscribe to the idea that aging is bad and not something to be celebrated based solely upon our outward appearances instead of what really matters which is how we feel on the inside. Granted, I sometimes feel more tired or sore after doing activities that in the past didn’t faze me physically. Lately however I have become more interested in how my mind works, specifically how I cope with life’s struggles. My age has definitely improved my over all outlook and I feel more positive that I will overcome whatever life throws at me.
In my youth growing up, when a problem arose it felt like the end of the world and impossible to overcome. I was much more pessimistic with even the thought of facing dark times. Experience has now shown me that things can always be worse and with patience the light will eventually prevail. I trust in that because I now trust in myself.
I have had a few people in my life that were determined to break my spirit physically, mentally and emotionally. I have endured harsh abuse from those that were supposed to love me. Initially these situations left me doubting, blaming and hating myself. I was allowing these people to own space in my mind and ultimately control me. I passively accepted whatever they projected upon me and internalized their evil which had me spending years in a heavy depressed state suffering in my own mental prison.
Now on the other side of that hell, I realize that what changed was a shift in my perception of reality. I believe experience (age) has been my best friend in dealing with how best to navigate whatever life throws at me. I refuse to suffer and take on the negativity of others actions. As an empath this is one of the most important lessons I have had to implement for my own safety and peace of mind. For years I was easily confused by all the controlling energy and aggressive emotions swirling around me. I have had to learn boundaries to protect myself from these unwanted effects from certain people. When I encounter these people I am now keenly aware of how my body responds to their energy. I feel like I’m suffocating and I instantly feel nervous and unsafe. Becoming aware of these changes to my own well being has become key to successful breaking the cycle.
I use positive mantras, meditation and essential oils to ground me. I have learned to check in with myself and become mindful when assessing what I am feeling. Trusting my gut and listening to the clues I am given. In the past I was either unaware or unwilling to question these internal clues. I feel age has taught me that when something doesn’t feel right I need to pay attention to it and not ignore it. Mostly I think I was fearful of these mystery feelings. I only became aware that I am an intuitive and physical empath a few years ago by the guidance of my long term therapist. Before her insight directed me to my truth I just thought I was crazy. I didn’t know how to explain what was going on internally, distracting me and pulling my focus away. I lived in a perpetual state of fear. I didn’t discuss these feelings and thoughts with anyone because I didn’t think anybody would understand. I was trapped inside this enormous web of complex emotions without any idea of if what I was feeling belonged to me or someone else around me. I also get what I call “visions” which I see in my mind like words on a banner. These can be either a premonition for the future or the thoughts of someone I am close to. These days it’s most times the thoughts of my fiance. I have only recently become able to properly handle this phenomenon going on inside me 24/7.
These thoughts and feelings used to absolutely exhaust me, terrify me and depress me leaving me completely clueless as to what was going on. I am so grateful to my therapist and to my friend who is a fellow empath who educated me on ways to protect myself. Life lessons that are invaluable. This poem reflects how I feel today!