Friday, May 6, 2011

We Did Not Change, We Became Ourselves

We did not change as we grew older; we just became more clearly ourselves.

Lynn Hall

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I love this quote.  It says so much that I believe.  Maybe it's because I'm fifty three years old and my perspective has changed a little, but I don't see that getting older is so bad.  I kind of like it.  I mean, considering the alternative, I think it's a good thing! 

My nephew will graduate from high school in a couple of weeks.  He is the fourth of our six 'next generation' to make the leap from high school into his next life.  I remember those days.  I was excited.  I was scared.  I was sad (I really liked high school and all my friends).  I was so....ready to be out on my own...a little bit, at least.  He is ready to go.  He has watched his older brother who has paved the way for him and he is counting down the days until he, too, is out of the house.

I remember thinking, in the 'olden' days, that I had all the answers.  If they would just turn me loose, and those of my generation, we would fix so many of the world's mistakes.  The world was changing faster than it had ever changed before.  We got the vote.  We protested until the war was brought to a halt.  We were changing things because there were so many of us.  Just the size of our group forced the world to change.

I hear that same speech from our kids.  They're ready to do things their way; to make things happen that we never could or did.  It's true that they have more gadgets and technology to connect in ways we only dreamed of.  Are they smarter than we were?  I don't think so but the difference may be that my generation focused on "me."  What will this generation focus on, I wonder?  With all the new technology are they really able and willing to have deep, personal relationships or will they create a new world of surface-level only friendships?  Will face-to-face meetings be relegated to my generation?  I've heard a lot of people from my generation worry over this new means of communication, but I have faith that these young people will excel in their endeavors.  They will find a way to bring it all together to do incredible things; things beyond our imagination.

What I've discovered as I've grown older, is that while we had some good answers and we did some good things, we've become a generation searching for something...more.  We've discovered that we were good when we were younger, but we're even better now.  Now we have the luxury of time.  Time to look back and learn from all the lessons.  Time to enjoy now.  We understand from too many lessons learned, that there is no guarantee for tomorrow.  We can sit back and enjoy our children and our grandchildren knowing that time goes by so quickly that we must stop and seize this day.  We can look forward and appreciate that, as much as we know and understand today, we will be even better tomorrow. 

We will be better because we will understand ourselves even more, for we will have lived through even more lessons.  We will have had more time to love, more time to lose, more time to learn.  I think the biggest lesson we've learned so far is that we don't have all the answers...and that's OK.  We don't have to have all the answers.  We've learned that each of us is here for a unique purpose.  We're, each of us, learning lessons to lead us to that purpose.  And we've learned that everything will happen just the way it's supposed to happen no matter how hard we try to control it. 

What a relief!  Each lesson learned has led us closer to who we were intended to be, just as each step my nephew takes will lead him closer to who he is to be.  His journey is still in the beginning stages.  He has many, many lessons in front of him.  I've had a lot of lessons; some learned, some I've had to learn and learn and learn again.  I will have many more lessons in front of me, God willing.  I hope that I've learned to get it the first time, but I know that's wishful thinking.  Some lessons just take longer.  That's OK.  I've got the time and now I have the patience to see where life will lead me so that I can more clearly become myself.


Marion Williams-Bennett said...

This is a beautiful post- a wonderful reflection on this journey to ourselves.

It brought this quote to mind, from St. Catherine of Sienna

Be the person God intended you to be, and you will set the world on fire."

But I don't think we're born knowing who we are intended to be, it is part of our life's journey, the journey you beautifully describe here. We just need to be open to the way we fail, the lessons that get presented and the answers we're given.

And when we do...ooooh! fire!

Ereline said...

Thanks so much, Marion! You are so right. I watched my nephew last night at his graduation party, so confident and at the same time, so unsure. He doesn't mind telling you that he has no idea what he wants to do with his life. He is ready to take the next step and see where it leads him. I found myself thinking that maybe we should all be more this way, instead of forcing and stressing over everything.

Next steps should always be exciting, even at our age!