"We don't stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing." ~ George Bernard Shaw
I will turn forty in a few short months and honestly I am really looking forward to it. During my thirties I took up long distance running and then triathlons. It has become quite commonplace for me to say, " I am training for ________." As I have been considering the coming of this great milestone I feel things shifting and realigning in me, and in a good way. Recently it occurred to me that this coming into the forties is an event into which I can bring focus and intention. I can bring vision and action to this grand occasion so I might enter it with the same excitement and enthusiasm as I bring to race day.
My next consideration is, what are the skills and qualities I want to build and strengthen to bring on this next decade's journey? I have already grown into a deepening of my yoga practice, and I don't think it is any mere coincidence that I am in this year long yoga intensive focused on spiritual growth as I arrive at this new cycle in my life. I want my training for forty to be about loving myself more, exploring and making room for new adventures of joyful living and expanding experience. I want to find new edges and do things that scare me. I want to be balanced as well, and mindful of my energies, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. I want to see, feel, smell, and taste, new regions and nuances of this world, both the one outside of myself but even more so the one inside myself. I want to dive down into all the spaces of my being with a thirst to leave no stone unturned, to leave no part untouched. I want to revel in being my perfectly imperfect, fabulously flawed, magnificent mess of a self. I want to play and frolic and dance through this next decade. I am just adding specificity of intention to a process that has been ongoing and will continue on the day of my birthday and beyond. Ahhhh life, a magnificent and messy marathon, a great journey indeed.
In fact, just today, I was all lit up and inspired about the possibility of training for decades to come by a random encounter in line at Whole Foods. The woman next to me commented on how much she liked my tattoo. She then lifted her shirt sleeve to show me hers, which was simply the word hope. She smiled a beaming smile and said, " I got mine for my eightieth birthday." What struck me most was not how cool it was that she got a tattoo at eighty, although that is very cool, it was her youthful attitude and the light of joy and fullness of life that she radiated. It was obvious that this is a woman who at the age of eighty is still exploring and playing, embracing and relishing life, much like my own grandmother, who is in her eighties and despite fighting cancer for years has never let it stop her from living it up. How lucky she is to be able to do that!! I hope to be that lucky.