I was listening to Glennon Doyle’s interview with Ashton Applewhite when I got all excited about Pro-Aging and bought Applewhite’s book, This Chair Rocks; A Manifesto Against Ageism. I could definitely buy into a U-shaped curve that indicates we are actually happiest at the beginning and end of our lives. All this being old absolutely equals being sad and depressed is bull hockey! It was an I’ll have what she’s having moment and I committed to learn more about a positive, fact-based attitude toward aging and shunning ageism.
I want to be Pro-Age
BF says he’s going to relive his 20’s in his 70’s. Use his upcoming decade to do all the things he would have done in his 20’s if he’d had the confidence, knowledge, time, and resources. I like that idea. Who said we have to live our life in some prescribed, linear timeline anyway? So, in my next decade, I hope to live a more informed, intuitive, authentic version of my 20’s.
Living a Mulligan
As I began journaling about this 20’s redo project, I asked myself if I’d been living truer, what I would have done differently. This landed me in an unexpected, not exactly welcomed, rabbit hole of regrets that started way before my twenties.
Oh! that I could have been the one, lone teenager who spent copious amounts of time studying the great philosophers, historians, and feminist leaders of the day followed by periods of deep reflection and meditation, resulting in a self-assured twenty-something, spot-on living her life purpose. Sounds like a character in a novel, right? I know but looking back on my youth always brings a bit of sorrow over the way I bent to other people’s energy, a habit I carried well into my twenties and beyond. Regret that I didn’t find a way to be less reactive to the wants and needs of others and more attuned to my own.
In Preparation For My Twenties . . .
As a teenager, I wish I’d had fewer boyfriends and been a better student. I wish I’d spent a little more time alone reading and writing and thinking my own thoughts. I wish I’d spent more time appreciating and developing my own talents and less time worrying what other people thought of me. I wish I’d been kinder to myself and others. Less judgmental. I wish I’d invested in loving my body and less time comparing. I wish I’d understood and accepted periods and pimples. I wish I’d danced more. I wish I’d been braver and less guided by fear. I wish I’d learned to follow my own joy. I wish I hadn’t conflated growing the hell up and responsibility with being boring.
One of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t find a more constructive way to rebel. I turned 13 in 1969, the third and youngest daughter of an evangelical minister. Of course, I would rebel, but couldn’t I have made it less messy? A bit prettier? Did I have to terrorize my family?
Maybe this go-round I can find a kick-ass way to rebel against ageism. Screw expectations. Be a little naughty. Do my own thing like the sassy egret in the photo above. Understand and accept post-menopause and wrinkles. Win a stare-down against fear. Maybe I can set a fun-filled example for the young women in my life. Maybe I can use my encore 20’s to make the world a better place, contribute. Spread joy. Dance.
Maybe, I can live my Plan B.