I always thought getting older would be the worst thing possible.
I now know it is not.
Flipping another digit has deepened my knowing that the once dreaded aging monster comes bearing unexpected gifts.
Urgency is among the greatest of those gifts.
As a former dancer and performing artist aging once meant the ending of a career. I distinctly remember crying on my twenty-first birthday because I thought it was the beginning of the end. As silly as that may sound it was not silly at the time. I began to lie about my age before I turned thirty. I heard fellow performers decades my senior tell me they hoped I would never grow old.
It took me decades to really hear what that was saying.
As someone who once relied almost solely on physicality, I did not learn much about my greater depth until my physical state began to “decline.” My looks no longer opened doors. I became less castable, less a marketable commodity. I could no longer move as easily and gracefully as I once did. High-definition technology was in its infancy, yet it seemed to spell the end of my viability.
What I thought then was the ending was an incredible and unforeseen beginning.
I am now older than I ever thought I would be. If that is not enough of a surprise, I am also finding that I like it.
Having aged out of physical viability I am finding myself at a place of spiritual maturity that I would not trade for anything.
A big piece of that maturity is a growing urgency in terms of giving the gifts I came to this earth to give. I feel a welcomed and intensifying urgency about living my days in service to Something Greater than me. I find less urgency linked to goals and personal dreams, and more urgency being poured into how I show up and how I respond to what happens around me. I feel an intensity about my conscious becoming. About transforming the energy that emanates from me. I explore every evening what it was I did that day for others. Even if that doing was a simple prayer or a conscious blessing.
Aging has liberated me from the fixation on me.
Having been blessed with the usually maligned experiences of cancer and heart disease I am under no illusion that I have unlimited time. I have seen my expiration date more than once. As I still apparently have some shelf life, I am using that time to not stay on the shelf. I am using my remaining days to be all that I can be for the benefit of all living beings. That is my highest priority. That is my remaining aspiration. That is my most intense intention.
I still like to look my best, though I am no longer identified with it. I choose when to engage it, mostly because it pleases me. I do not try to look nice thinking it will open doors or get me some advantage. I actually enjoy being free of those notions. I no longer turn heads, and I could not be less concerned by that. Rather than turning heads I seek to open hearts. That is what is important to me now. That is what is vital. I can appreciate compliments without being devastated by the lack of them. I relate to my physicality in a far more wakeful way, and it has set me free.
My urgency has shifted from what I can get to what I can give.
My urgency has shifted from being accepted and loved to accepting and loving myself and others.
My urgency has shifted from being seen and approved of to deeply seeing and approving of others as a way of gracing and blessing.
Knowing my days are fewer colors my world with an intensity that, though I have less life left, has me feeling more intensely alive.
I surely do not look like I used to.
I surely do not move like I used to.
Doors do not open to me as quickly as they used to. That is likely a good thing as it takes me longer to walk through them.
Older does not always equate too wiser. And I pray that it might be true for me. With a less polished veneer I am focusing more and more on depth. On what I may give from that depth. On how I may serve with whatever I have left.
I have come to know that my age is none of my business. What I do with it is.
And in that my urgency lies.