26 Apr 2021
The Blunders and Absurdities of Life
My eldest turned forty this year. I barely remember reaching that particular milestone as I was too immersed in the struggle of trying to make ends meet. Having lost yet another job due to layoffs, I made the decision to go back to college. It was time to retrain in a new field. That first day of school found me filled with hope that maybe I would be more successful this time around by carving out a new career. I laugh now at how I was feeling eager and yet scared all at the same time. I must have looked a sight for sore eyes standing there all decked out for my first day back in college. For the very first time in my life here I was going to school wearing jeans and sneakers. I could feel my mother cringe at the thought of it. My kids, on the other hand, made sure that I had the proper, socially acceptable student backpack. I remember feeling eager and yet scared silly all at the same time. Going back to school was a huge risk. My husband and I were barely managing financially. Dropping down to one paycheque was really not on our agenda to say the least.
That very first day of college will be forever imprinted in my memory. Time slowed down as I walked into my newly assigned homeroom. I paused in the doorway and scanned the room. As I looked around for a desk I was immediately struck by the fact that room was divided into two clearly distinct age groups. It was so odd and yet fascinating at the same time. I wondered, how had all of these people spontaneously divided themselves into two markedly different age groups? To the left side of the classroom sat ten young women preening their hair or looking into little hand mirrors as they applied their lip gloss. Their shiny faces filled with hope. The world was their oyster to be savoured as they pleased. On the opposite side of the classroom, however, sat eight women all over the age of thirty, looking weathered by life and circumstance. Each of them sitting at their desks, leaning forward with faces of determination, notebooks, and pens neatly laid out on their desks. Their faces registering the hopes and dreams of a better future, this time around. This group of women became my tribe. We established our own little mutual support group cheering each other on through the challenges of being back in college again. Through the next two years we all soldiered on together despite the rigors and tribulations of trying to manage our lives in the outside world after classes. This was the last place in the world any of us thought we would be at this stage of life.
When I reflect back on that time as a woman, turning forty, and having to start over, I realize what a precious, yet tumultuous time of emotional evolution it was for me. It was the beginning of deep self-reflection and a meteoric transition all at the same time. It was the opening up and embracing the fact that there was absolutely nothing I could do to change the past. For the first time in my life, I started to find forgiveness within myself. The feelings of joy that manifested in those moments surprised me. The mists of despair and bitterness that had been lurking in the background of my consciousness started to drift away. The future started to look brighter. It held promise. It also dawned on me that I was more in control of my life than I thought I was.
Maturing with age has its advantages. The challenges we face in life ultimately helps us to cultivate wisdom. I think we forget that. It is something that I think gets lost in the noise of living out life, especially for those who have had to weather massive life changes. We can so easily fall victim to the thoughts, feelings, and expectations of what we should have done, could have done, or would have done, if circumstances had been different. We lose sight, far too often of recognizing that the choices we made in the past were the best decisions at the time. There comes a time when you have to give yourself credit for surviving. We were all just doing the best that we could do.
In the end, getting out of our own way seems to be the gift of growing older. Becoming mired in the past only holds us back. Now more than ever we need to accept that we cannot change the past but we sure can do something about the future. It is far too easy to give up, give in and become compliant. We are never too old to change. The future is always waiting for us in the tomorrows of our lives. We always have control over how we wish to create the future.
In the meantime, we are all travelling through this trying time of the pandemic pondering our futures and ruminating on our past. We can choose to fester in the memories of the blunders we have made or laugh at the absurdities of what we thought we believed in. What is important is embracing the reality that you are the change you want to be.
I hope this poem will help you as you traverse through the never-ending fields of your thoughts and feelings:
“Write it on your heart
that every day is the best day in the year.
He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day
who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in.
Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with your old nonsense.
This new day is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on the yesterdays.”
Atherton Drenth is the author of Intuitive Dance. Building, Protecting & Clearing Your Energy (Llewellyn Worldwide), Following Body Wisdom and the Art of Intuitive Journaling. Atherton is a Clairvoyant, Medical Intuitive and Holistic Energy Practitioner facilitating transformational healing for her clients. She has been extensively trained and certified as a Medical Intuitive and Holistic Energy Practitioner. She has been in private practice since 2000. She is also a compassionate teacher committed to helping others develop their full intuitive potential through yearly workshops. She has a private practice in Ottawa, Ontario.