One thing that is great about being in your early forties is that you really don't feel the need to seek permission or approval anymore. Four decades in the same skin has a way of settling you into being rather than needing. It's kind of glorious. No longer do I feel the need to explain or justify sitting at the lake for two hours instead of using every waking hour to produce something in the name of work and responsibility. My time at the lake, usually spent with a book or knitting needles in hand, is a small window of time that I've claimed for myself once or twice a week while Emily is at classes. It is my blood pressure medicine and my anti-depressant. It restores and nourishes the part of me that comes alive in silence and solitude. Ideas are born here and deep peace is found.
Ben Hewitt's forthcoming book, The Nourishing Homestead, will be released in March of 2015. I'm currently devouring this review copy and can't wait to tell you all about as publication draws closer. You are going to love this one!
When I was a younger mom I'd pack so much into solo windows of time - grocery shopping, post office, dry cleaners, dentist appointments - but now? My car seems to point itself in the direction of this lake and drives here without much concern for all that I "should" be doing. At age 42, I have seen the light and it does not shine on my to do list or the appointments I should keep. It shines over these still waters, softening the edges of my day and fortifying my spirit in ways that the grocery store cannot. And we haven't gone hungry yet, so the groceries must be finding their way into our home at other times. Funny how it always seems to work out that way.
It's true what they say about middle age - you begin to look your own mortality in the eye for perhaps the first time. I know, I know... 40 is the new 30... 50 is the new 40... but I don't really buy all that. I mean, I am 42 right now, if I died at 84 there is not one person that would feel agasp - that I "died too young." Actually, people would honor a long life lived, and it would be. More than ever, middle age has taught me the importance of the mantra, if not now, when?
This is the life I have been waiting for. I've let go of the guilt for creating a life that is quiet, nourishing, and peaceful. It helps to embrace the truth that our world benefits when people live life in this way... quiet, nourishing, and peaceful. Dharma.
Years ago, a friend once shared with me that $5,000 of therapy taught her such and such about herself. Honestly, I don't remember what that lesson was, but I do remember that it seemed valid because $5,000 worth of therapy told her so. As a culture, we have permission to utilize psychotherapy or prescription drugs, both of which have their place, but what if our wellness routine consists of an extra hour or two of sleep, an afternoon of juicy yoga, food grown without the use of chemicals and genetically modified organisms... or time spent at the lake? Middle age has given me permission to honor these gentler, preventative healing modalities. I've always practiced the path of least resistance, but at this point in my life I no longer carry the guilt associated with taking the time for personal nourishment. I've not once regretted a morning spent at the lake, and hope to always have the wisdom to spend time beside healing waters.