Today, a very good friend of mine started the journey to finish her second college degree. She walked back into a classroom after several years and is starting the first of a two semester journey to this degree. I'm really proud that she decided, in her early 40s, to finish what she started over 10 years ago.
The reason why I mention her age is significant. She said to me, "Mary, I was looking around and seeing the young faces - some as young as 17! It made me feel old!" I laughed because she is far from "old" but I can understand how she feels. When someone calls me "Ma'am", I realize that I am no longer in the "Miss" category. It was jarring the first time I heard it.
As we were talking, I said to her, "You know, I loved my college days but I wouldn't go back to them for the world. The life and knowledge I've gained since then is much more important to me than to go back to those days."
I paused after I said that because I had to wonder
if that was really true. As I've gotten older, the words "You don't
get older, you get better" is true.
Sure, I may not be able to stay up all night like I used to when I wrote papers for classes - the lack of sleep gets to me now. I had a different sense of responsibility than I do now. Skipping a class made sense then but now that I understand what I was missing (and how much I was paying to miss it) that would have NEVER happened.
However, when I reflect on it, the plethora of knowledge and growth I've experienced since then is priceless. My spiritual world blew wide open. Friends I had then, if they were meant to be in my life, have stuck with me and I've built amazing foundations with them. Those relationships have taught me how to value and treasure a friend and how to remove people from my life that were toxic.
Through the years, I've experienced all kinds of situations and I've learned from them - how to handle conflict, pain, death, life, joy laughter and much more. Back then, as mature as I thought I was, it was only the beginning of my journey. I had no idea how much I would change.
Penn and Teller on their Showtime show did a episode called "The Good Old Days". They talked about how people would reminisce about the old times, what they did, how it was - they romanticized their lives then. Penn and Teller's point was that we forget all the problems we had and remembered only the good times. Remembering the good times is important -they bring us great laughs and comfort - but we fool ourselves into thinking those were better times. Penn and Teller pointed out that probably isn't (and were as bold as to say it wasn't) true. If we could go back to those times, we probably wouldn't stay.
As I continue to get older, I learn and change all the time. I am not naive to think that I am a finished product - I will continue to change as the days move forward. But at least I have years behind me to say that I am not just getting older, each day, I get even better.
Copyright 2009, Spiritualitygirl
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Tags: learning lessons "life lessons" "mary d'alba" older past present spiritual spiritualitygirl wiser