and create this instead
Following the Yellow Brick Road to Longevity
I’ve had this longevity idea bopping around in my head. A few months ago I read a book about Longevity village in China and have since researched other longevity locations. It isn’t the place, it is what they do at the place. Not a where but a what. I am now a student in longevity. I keep asking myself, “when I am 100, will this matter? Will I eat this? Will I be going to the gym?”
Spending time with Aunt Traute Baude — yes it rhymes, I was able to see how she moved, how she talked, and most important — what she shared with me. What was important for her to talk to me about. That stuck with me in a profound way.
That is my missing link.
I live in a 24-hour bubble.
I may want to look at what it will be like to live in a 24-hour bubble based on how I want my life to look when I’m 100.
Such a huge difference. The latter is grounded, focused, intentional, mindful.
At the moment, I’m scattered, scrambling, rushing, waiting, worrying, joyful, fearful. I want to be my 100 year old self now!
How can a person who studies mindfulness miss such an obvious thing? Yeah, I don’t know.
But, actually, we do know. Since I plan for a day and not a lifetime, I am mindful of the day but not the lifetime. Gonna let that sink in.
My thinking is tilted towards what I don’t want vs. what I do want and that slight imbalance is keeping me from moving forward.
My daily mindfulness practice needs to also move me beyond 24 hours.
Head up, forward facing mindfulness. I’ve had my head down in prayer and contemplation.
Today I am creating my tomorrow.
My hopes and dreams for my 100-year-old self needs direction now, just as my teenage self needed direction, and that is the missing link.
From a very young girl, I had curiosity, unbridled love, playfulness, I was tenacious with no one offering direction. I lived without boundaries and that is never a good thing. I didn’t learn how to channel my curiosity, my love, my joy, my playfulness. I had no guidance. I had what it took to move mountains but I didn’t have the proper tool, a shovel or even a spoon.
Then I began a journey to find the person to give me my shovel. My mountain was getting bigger and bigger with my heart’s desires. Shattered dreams, broken hearts, wanting Superman to come in and fix it all, then we live happily ever after.
Reality check: Superman does not exist AND he doesn’t own a shovel.
In the never ending search, I didn’t find a shovel but I found a spoon and rather than moving a mountain, I moved small platefuls of food into my mouth. I became my own mountain.
“Wherever you go, there you are.”
In all fairness to myself, I did think I would die during my 49th year. Turning 50 was bittersweet. I was excited to be alive but now what? I woke up to a life that wasn’t planned out beyond get married, have kids, stay home and be the perfect mom. (My version of the perfect mom — you are your own version or will be or will decide it’s not your thing.)
Day in, day out I cooked, cleaned, listened, fixed toys, toilets, lawnmowers, fences, and loved with all my might. My home was filled with a creative spirit and so much love.
Then one day it dawned on me. This experience is not shared. My perfect life was my own personal checklist and not a group effort. Everything about the marriage, the kids, the house, was me alone trying to do the work of a family. I wasn’t fostering cooperation and collaboration. I was just doing everything. Not in a control freak kind of way; it just evolved. I woke up in a movie and I had the staring roles as wife, mom, chef, chauffeur, gardener, social planner, handy man, travel agent, and ER nurse.
How, why, where am I? I spent a few YEARS trying to figure out where I veered off course.
The answer came to me as I was walking my beloved Dexter. I didn’t have a vision, I had a checklist. Remember, I grew up with no boundaries and no support resulting in a slow spinning motion.
I only had one oar to paddle with for 49 years.
Now that I’m not dead, I have a vision, not a timeline.
I have a life, not a list.
When I look at my husband and my kids, the house — it all looks very crystal clear. I see every relationship in a new way. The daily tasks are lush opportunities for me to embrace the sacredness of my life. Most importantly, when I look in the mirror I see the woman I am today AND the woman I will be at 100. She and I have the same vision. She is my friend, my mother, my sister, and the wise soul guiding me each day. I’m no longer alone looking outward for a shovel. Just like Dorthy’s message:
You’ve always had the power, my Dear. You just had to learn it for yourself.
You can read more about my turning 50 →here.
And I have another personal essay about turning 50 →here.
If you enjoyed this article and desire a more mindful 2018, let’s make it priority to connect deeper. We are all walking each other home, let’s journey together.
Begin here: become the most mindful, loving, joyful person you know.