Writer's Tree

As a writer with each endeavor I grow and my branches spread to encompass the world.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Fountain of Youth?

I had a very interesting encounter last night and felt compelled to share it this morning. I have found myself at age 53, in a manner that is surprising to me, embracing the idea of aging. I have written about it here before but this was so wonderful that I wanted to share it with you.

While having a glass of wine at Gigi’s, I was approached by a much older woman. Her age was impossible to tell. While her skin and white hair spoke of a very old woman, her smile and countenance were mesmerizing and I was enraptured! I was in the presence of someone wise and loving and extremely beautiful. Her eyes smiled and the glow around her was radiating love as if from some celestial being. Sounds corny but I still think of her face this morning and can’t help but smile.

Her skin, translucent and wrinkled was like the bark of a wonderful old tree, it added to her beauty in a way that transfixed me. Like a child she was bubbling over with enthusiasm about a book my friend was reading that related to Quantum Physics. She spoke of having discovered it many years earlier and how it had changed her life, she was delighted with herself for being so open minded and ahead of her time, her spirit was contagious.

I could not take my eyes off her and I felt revived in a way that I have only experienced when embracing nature and its beauty. It felt like being with an old forest and young wood nymph both at the same time, and in that moment I believe I was forever changed, which would fit with quantum physics and perhaps I have taken a bit of her away with me.

She was young and vivacious and old and wise all at once and somehow it made me look forward to growing older. It was like she had discovered the fountain of youth. While it did not stop the aging process, it allowed her to love and embrace life with the eyes and excitement of a child. To never stop learning and to excitedly share what she had learned with those around her. I knew that I wanted to have that affect on others when I am old and it made me look with longing at the prospect of it.

So a little old woman who took the time to share a moment of her joy with me has changed my life, and my hope is that more of us will find that joy each day of our life’s until we are as old and beautiful as she.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day? Woman's Day!

I am not sure how I feel about Mother’s Day. It is really an unnecessary event in reality. I don’t need a day to be reminded that I am a mother, or that my children appreciate the fact that I am their mother. For those of you that are not mothers yet, or perhaps will never be mothers, either by choice or fate, it is perhaps a day of reminding you what you are not. Whether that is a good reminder or not is something that only you perhaps know and understand. But is it a necessary reminder?

At a time in my life when I am trying to discover still who I am, after many times in my live causing me to struggle with that question, it can sometimes be a cumbersome title. Do I resent being a mother, never; I have loved every moment of it. Even when I thought I was not doing a good job, it was never something I would have chosen to quit. But do I wish it be the definition of who I am?

I grew up with a mother that was not a good role model and late in her life choose to cut off my relationship with her. I was, however, there at the moment that her life ended and it was beautiful and yet sad to feel her heart beat against my palm for the last time. I felt at peace with her and I believe she was at peace with me but there was a sadness that we would never share what I felt was the definition of a good parent – child relationship. I would never really feel that she had loved me. I have always felt “motherless” in spite of the fact that she was alive for the first half of my life. Her entire life from the time that she was 18 was defined by the fact that she was a mother, and still I felt “motherless”.

I have watched the suffering of my sister as she buried her only son, lost at the barrel of a gun held by the hand of his best friend. I watched her struggle to define herself without that role that she had filled for 17 years. He was her life and she did not know how to continue without that role. She has done well and is a beautiful woman and person but she is reminded every day that she no longer has a role to fill and she feels the pain of that.

Mother; it is a powerful word and an awesome responsibility. It is something that defines us whether we like it or not. But, is it the definition of who we are? My job of "parenting" is coming to an end and I must face my future without their constant presence in my life. Yet every decision is filtered through the fact that I have children, even now when they are grown, when I make decisions for my life it is always there and I consider how it will affect those relationships. Will I be alright, do I know who I am and what I want to do with the future? I am seeking to find that out, my love for them and the wonderful close loving relationship that we all share will never end but I must think of myself now. I must forge ahead, and define myself for the remainder of my life.

So I am asking myself this morning, on Mother’s Day, if this is the most important thing for me to celebrate? Am I a good mother, was I a good mother? If my children are the criteria by which we answer that question, I was a great mother! Was I perfect, no, but I was the best that I knew how to be and they know that I love them unconditionally.

So what I am asking myself this morning is am I a good human being? What do I have to offer the world now that I am done with the hard part of parenting? What will I do with the rest of my life? You see we are all mothers, whether we have children or not, by virtue of our womanhood, it is part of our humanity. We all mother, take under our wing, support and foster the future of others. So I say to myself today, am I a good woman? The answer if a resounding yes!

Today I say to all of you out there, mothers or not!

HAPPY WOMAN’S DAY! I am proud to be one of you!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Growing old or growing up?

I find myself more often thinking of my life in terms of my age. I don’t remember doing that when I was younger. My children add, at your age, to things that they say to me and I find myself wondering why I still feel the way I do about things, at my age. I suppose it is because so many of the struggles in my life are not that different than the struggles in my 20 year old son’s life, but he is allowed the grace of being young.

He struggles with his future and his career path, as do I. He wants to be free to travel while he can; I share that desire with him as well. We both search for that one person that will make our lives more complete because we share it with someone that knows us and understands and loves us completely, our soul mates if you will.

The key to this dilemma is that the young have never been old, while the old have the advantage of having once been young. They have no way of understanding that while time and your body tell everyone that you are older, your spirit and soul continue to be young. You still want to dance and sing and have wild adventures and exciting love affairs. You are still “turned on”, to use an old person’s cliché, by doing something that you have never done before, seeing someplace new that you have always longed to see, or walking hand in hand in the rain with someone anticipating that first kiss while your heart beats emphatically with anticipation and desire.

So I would like others to understand that my age is not dictated by how many years I have spent on this earth, or how many wrinkles appear in my smile lines or around my eyes. It is dictated by my desire to embrace my life, this world, and those I encounter along my path with the excitement and delight that I have always possessed since my youth and will continue to possess until my spirit decides to dwell in some other time and place.

And, of course I have included a poem inspired by my journey and my attempt to understand the concept of growing old. I hope it speaks to you and allows you to take the time and freedom to enjoy the process and to say, to hell with growing old, I’m too busy growing up!

Growing Old or Growing Up?

It’s a strange thing, growing older,
I hear the concern in my children’s voices,
we want you to take care of yourself,
you shouldn’t do this, or that; at your age.

They are unaware of how this sounds,
the impact of their words.
Keep in mind you are growing older, resonates,
pressuring me to be defined simply by my age.

The young have no understanding of growing older,
perhaps, neither do the old.
Do we cross some mystical age barrier
and are unwillingly escorted to the realm of old?

The voice I speak to myself with
is still a young girl, a young woman.
At certain moments she remains a child,
with a child’s delight, or unbidden fears.

I am still learning to communicate with men,
themselves, young boys yet in many ways.
Hoping like some teenage girl,
to someday meet the man of my dreams.

Dreams, and I have so many of them,
are yet to be fulfilled and eagerly sought after.
I continue to gain knowledge and wear fresh wisdom,
ever searching to discover who and what I will be.

You may say I am growing old if you like,
but each new discovery that sprouts in my life
fills me with wonder, and I dance with joy, knowing
I am not growing old, I am simply growing up!

Conni Struss Johnson©

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