For some reason, I woke today with such a feeling of lightheartedness. I have no idea why, but it was so overwhelming I wanted to skip like a child! I could not image what on earth was going on, but skipping seemed like the only appropriate inherent bodily expression. So, for the first time in years, I skipped. Better yet, I tried to skip. Whose body was I inhabiting? Where was that once familiar feet off the ground, light as air feeling? Why was I not as light as a feather? Why did my feet hardly leave the security of the floor? I was taken aback, this was not right!
Startled, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and the reflection was not of the lighthearted child I had reverted back to, but of the older woman I had become. My momentary return to childhood faded as quickly as it had appeared. Shoulders slumped slowly with signs of apparent disappointment.
Upon taking a second glance, I reconnected with the woman in the mirror, remembering her well and what her reflection portrayed. Behind her fine lines and wrinkles, within the depth of her brown eyes, were years of growth and endurance. Like potters clay before the kiln, she represented my journey from childhood into womanhood. She portrayed my love of family, marriage, children and grandchildren. She personified strife, freedom, integrity, creativity and friendships.
The woman, who continued to stare back at me, smiled ever so slightly and when she blinked the windows of her soul revealed compassion and wisdom. Wisdom, not easily gained but learned through hardship, disappointment, bad decisions, loss, heartache, and heartbreak. As she continued to stare back we reached out to each other, testing the vision, fingertips separated only by a sheet of glass; touching ever so slightly the here and now. That moment was powerful because I felt acceptance, complete understanding, reassuring warmth and I was no longer afraid to fully embraced myself for who I was. My eyes were looking at a beautiful woman.
Will I skip again? You bet I will!! I will skip with the same joy and laughter that resonated more than fifty years ago. I may not be as light on my feet, but I will not let that deter me. I am going to enjoy it fully all the while keeping in mind what Betty Friedan so eloquently stated, “Aging is not ‘lost youth’ but a new stage of opportunity and strength”.