The coming of spring always brings with it moments of reflection, renewal, and shedding the old proverbial skin. Spring is about replacing, restructuring and doing away with many of the things we may have buried in our winter minds.
How do we measure a happy life? How do we measure a successful one?
How do we know that we are on the right path to self realization, and our “highest self”?
There are moments that all these thoughts keep circulating in my head, after many years of practicing yoga, going to mindfulness workshops and trying to figure out what is the best path in life, and am I on it?
I’ve been thinking where I’ve been and where I’m going, what I’ve accomplished, what I set out to do and didn’t complete, what roads I have traveled that lead to places I didn’t expect to go to, and what lies ahead as I approach my 40th year on this planet.
I spoke to a friend I’ve known for almost 20 years, and as I usually do;
I asked her… “are you happy?”
Her answer of course didn’t surprise me as I’ve thought exactly the same thing.
She relented: ” I’m getting older, I am very lonely at times, my parents are getting older. I fear for their health and well being, I wonder what it is I’ve really accomplished in this life. I’ve not had a family, and do I still have time to have one? I feel like I’ve missed the boat” she said.
As we approach those ages, where the “milestones” of accomplishment are not always visible; we are unfairly placed against a timeline of who and what we “should be”. I related with my friend’s conundrum, as I’m sure many of us do. I don’t like this feeling of getting older having not reached those “milestones”. I am weary of my parents getting older and having to take care of them in their later years. I try to “snap out of it”; I told my friend, and remind myself of the journey that has led us all here. The wonderful projects I’ve participated in as an artist, a yoga teacher, a performer and now as of late a beginner writer, often allude me when I’m at a loss for what’s next.
It’s perfectly acceptable to face our fears, our loneliness, and our realizations of “have I done anything useful with my life? We are facing an age where the expectations weigh heavy. In Greece women my age “should” have had kids by now, they “should” have settled down and figured it all out, and the wild and free and unsettled energy that women have is often quashed for a more “sensible” family oriented path. Yet there are beautiful examples to the contrary.
I don’t want to be misunderstood as some “desperate wannabe housewife”, waiting for her turn to be realized. Women now more than any other time are allowed to be whatever the hell they want, do whatever they want, and navigate their lives in their own way, and yet there is something in all of us that wonders…
Have I done enough? Who will take care of me? Is THIS all there is? Am I successful enough? Did I miss the boat?
Even the most confident women I know have admitted to me, after much objection to the contrary, that these thoughts cross their minds from time to time, for what is this life without, personal accomplishment, companionship, friendship, camaraderie and a deep understanding that we can beautifully navigate this life with others beside us.
Have you met your expectations?
Did you set out goals that you didn’t manage to accomplish?