A Bittersweet Farewell

Dawn blossomed this morning well before I awakened, it’s high summer in my part of the world and the sun has just passed its zenith. Imperceptibly the days grow shorter, but for now they still seem to stretch forever.

This inevitable slide toward darkness and winter always washes me with a bit of melancholy. Here it is, light still glowing on the clouds till nearly midnight, and I’m already mourning the passing of summer.

It reminds me a bit of the piercing sense of loss I sometimes feel when I contemplate how far I’ve come from twenty.

This spring, as I waited and waited for my next period, noting all sorts of new and unpleasant changes in my body (dryness, hot flashes, night sweats, creaky knees) a sense of grief would intermittently consume me.

Whither that maiden I once was?

The innocence, the sense of promise, the safe knowledge that so much was before me, so many untested waters, lovers, adventures, babies, careers.

The supple skin, thick lustrous hair, lubricated joints. All just taken for granted. In fact not appreciated at all in my maiden years.

That same sense of promise Mother Nature delivers when those first tiny buds appear in early spring.

I want to weep sometimes for this lost maiden, who still lives inside me in so many ways, still questing still wondering. Because now, somehow, so many of those anticipated years have unfolded, unraveled themselves into minutes, hours, days.

Now, I’m swinging the other way. I don’t know where this lifetime stands in the wheel of the year, but I’m pretty sure it’s well past summer solstice.

It could be so easy to sink into sadness about all the opportunities I let slip away, the books left unwritten, sexual encounters spurned.

And then I remember:

Hey wait a minute! It ain’t over till it’s over!

Just because my hair has begun to thread with silver, just because I have to baby my knees a little more when climbing up that mountain, just because a new texture slowly takes over my skin – that doesn’t mean I don’t get to jump out and embrace the life that’s right here, right now.

Opportunities still abound, and now I have some wisdom to discern which path to step on. Stories, poems, books still live inside me, can still be written and gifted to the world.

Songs still to sing, dances still to dance, exotic cities to explore, life still to be lived.

Midlife, middle age…in our culture these words have a bit of a depressing ring to them. But that’s just a choice of interpretation. Wise, sexy crones are in nowadays. Who cares about 50 is the new 30? Or 60 is the new 40?

We midlife Goddesses can choose life and celebrate it no matter how many physical years have etched their experiences into our faces.

It’s okay to grieve for that maiden that has transformed through the mother years, and now approaches or embraces cronehood. We’re on a journey, a passage, and late summer light shimmers just as brightly – though with a different hue – than the luminescence of spring.

Come to think of it, I love the complex and colorful light of autumn through the trees even more than – the soft shades of spring.

So, dry those tears – kiss your maiden goodbye and wish her well.  it’s time to look ahead. What’s your big plan for this part of your life?

With Radiant Love,

 

 

Image by Emma Hassard

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33 Responses to A Bittersweet Farewell

  1. Officially celebrating my entry into Queendom made this transition so much better!  No longer a Maiden, yes, I do mourn that occasionally.  I’ll always be a Mother but I’m not yet a Crone.  This inbetween stage is filled with excitement from launching my business and planning things for my future.  My mother, who is 83, is taking up piano again and told me the other day, “You know, I think I’m just beginning to hit my stride!”

    •  @Loran Hills Your mother sounds wonderful! I love her! That’ what I’m aspiring to. My women’s community celebrates the entry into ‘cronehood’ one year after bleeding stops. I’m not there yet, but imagine it’s not too many years away! But yes this phase feels even more exciting than my 20s – when I was still feeling my way to my true personality and power.

  2. I’m loving being older now. When my youngest child left home I decided to become an artist. I work at home in my own business. I’m doing fine… happy as can be. For me, older age has been a blessing. When I was younger I was too busy with kids and their schedules and needs… but now I can finally live for myself again, for the first time in nearly 40 years.

    •  @lindajm How wonderful that this phase of your life is the creative time for you! I haven’t taken up art yet, but I do feel new creative surges powering through! It’s part of the freedom, isn’t it?

  3. I love being older too.  I find the things I used to worry about, like what was happening with my physical body do not matter as much.  I take better care of myself now that I don’t worry.  I am a Nana and I love the unconditional love I get from my grandbabies.  I am ready to do the things I never had time for and now I have a bit of financial backing I can do these things as I only have to worry about me.  I too, mourn the shortening days of summer.  Each year I eagerly watch as the days get longer and it is light when I rise in the morning.  I am a person of light, I accomplish so much more when it is light and bright.  Although my life is heading away from the long days of summer, I do not mourn for those days because the days I have now are much richer because of all I have learned throughout those days. 

    •  So beautifully said,@Joanna Saunders ! Life is richer when we can appreciate it with the wisdom our accumulated years have blessed us with. Frivolous worries drop away, and when we’re not spending our time worrying it’s taking better care of ourselves right there!

  4. I am getting there too and pass through the emotions you have mentioned in your post. Totally agree about the last part. Every period in life has its beautiful moments and no matter what age we are there are always things to be happy about.

    •  @Ani_LifeProb  Exactly right. And it’s a beautiful thing to appreciate and give thanks for each period of life right while we are living it. That’s what I love about being a bit older, I remember gratitude so much more often!

  5. Oh, Sarah, I loved this post SO much!  So lyrical, wise, heartfelt.  Maiden Sarah would have been incapable of this kind of writing because she hadn’t lived as long or as much. 
     
    I mourn my Maiden too and wonder if I had my youth to do over again, what I would do that I didn’t do?  Everything!  Which tells me all I need to know about how to live my crone years.  I just need to LIVE like I mean it and, thanks to my years (and creaky knees and wrinkly skin), I know how to do that now.  Now it’s all about quality and not quantity of time.  And I’m going to pack that quality in like there’s no tomorrow, because maybe there isn’t.

    • You’ve sure got a way with words yourself @Carol Hess ! That’s exactly it. No time for regrets – NOW is the moment. And NOW is when we can seize the opportunities, take those risks, bare the heart, and plunge into life. I’m so with you!

  6. You’re going to have to teach me to write like this some day.
    I’ll tell you my big plan(s) for this part of my life, however long “this part” lasts.
    1) Have a second child
    2) Enjoy nature, preferably with my family and friends, as often as possible
    3) Teach people the value of simple
    4) Show every person, animal, and living thing on this earth that I appreciate and respect them
    I’m not sure of the order of these things…just that it’s my plan.

    •  @joeyjoejoe Love the idea of appreciating and respecting all living beings! I’ll embrace that as a plan for sure! Sounds like you’ve got your head and your heart in the right place and that your family is very lucky!

  7. Beautiful, Sarah!  I tend to notice the “passing of the seasons” more as it relates to my kids growing older than myself.  Seeing them get older and changing is the biggest reminder of me getting older and changing.  Watching my beautiful 15-year-old daughter in her “early spring” reminds me of a time that seems so very long ago in my own life. 
     
    I spend a lot of my twenties and early thirties being old before my time, both in outlook and physical appearance, and it was only in my mid–to-late thirties that I bloomed and even felt like a maiden at all.  I had five or six really good years there, though!  Now I’m entering another phase — not quite a crone, but certainly not a fresh young maiden, either.  It’s not quite autumn, but it’s that poignant time in late summer when it’s still summer but back-to-school is on the horizon 🙂
     
    But I’ve heard so many older women say that midlife has been so freeing for them — finally dropping once and for all the obsession with looks and what other people think, and taking time to do what matters to them and makes them happy.  It seems like a time when many women truly get to know and spend time with themselves for the first time.  So as much as I do feel a twinge at the passing of youth, I look forward to the adventures ahead!  Like you said so well, there are songs still to sing and dances still to dance!
     
     

    •  @LynnHess I remember those days when my oldest daughter was blossoming into womanhood – it sure brought those twinges! It was also so beautiful to watch this blooming and to be there for her as she navigated those stormy waters. I think you’re still a ways from the crone years though! You’re right, midlife and getting past the years of obsessing about beauty is so freeing and super empowering when in its own way. We learn to appreciate a new sort of beauty, and to embrace other amazing aspects of ourselves.  I’m ready to get singing and dancing like no one is watching!

  8. How I love this – Ash, a fellow midlife Goddess.

    •  @AshAtShades  I’m so very glad this resonated for you Ash! And I’m thrilled you stopped by the blog. Thank you for your comment and look forward to seeing you around here again.

  9. This is a beautiful post and as time passes by, we can only be grateful for our good health and enjoy each moment. Life can be fun, no matter what your age. 

    •  Absolutely right @Cathy Treatment Talk ! I know that I’m still finding lots of fun at this stage of my life! Plus I’m able to appreciate it so much more. Thanks so much for your comment!
       

  10. Wow! Did I need to read this this morning!  I’ve been struggling to keep things going and I’m experiencing some intense menopause symptoms.  Don’t know how I missed your new site but I’m with you now!  Great job!

    • Hi @sharon61 ! I’m so glad you found the site too! Have you tried the herb maca for the symptoms? It did wonder for the onslaught of hot flashes I experienced a few months ago. Glad you enjoyed this article and look forward to getting to know you.

  11. I could SO relate to this post, Sarah!  I LOVE being the age that I am but do miss the energy of youth.  I’m now looking ahead and ‘the future’s so bright I gotta wear shades!’
    Thanks so much
    Claire

    • Yahoo @ClaireKerslake ! I’m with you on that. Slap on those shades and full speed ahead. The best is yet to come!
       

  12. Thanks Sarah! Because of this, I better appreciate my youth. Although I appreciate my youth much more than nearly all others my age because I use to have the health of a dying old man 🙂 but sometimes I forget. Shame on me!

    •  @HappierHuman  So glad I’ve inspired you to appreciate that suppleness of youth! And I hope you are saying that now you have the bursting good health that someone your age deserves – even if it was not always the case. Thanks so much for the comment!

  13. Beautifully written @saraholeary I will try to remember this post the next time I look too long at my wrinkles or curse another trip to the hairdresser to hide the grey. The only thing we have guaranteed  is the present moment, so lets not waste it feeling nostalgic about the past or worrying about the future.

    •  @CiaraConlon  So true – right now is the most awesome gift we could ever have. And that’s why they call it ‘the present’ – right? So much to be grateful for right now – whatever age we are!

  14. I get it, Sarah, I get it. 
     
    And this time of life brings us to that tricky point of holding two opposing things at once: grief over the passage of youth and excitement about the upcoming opportunities and passages.
     
    It’s tricky, but we can hold both at once because we are powerful crones!

    • Yes, @BobbiEmel that’s just it. The magic and beauty of holding both aspects in our being simultaneously. And to integrate these different aspects of who we are. That is the gift of life experience and wisdom. It’s true that it’s tricky at times but we do it!

  15. I loved reading this, Sarah. I can just hear the hope and excitement behind your words – you’re right, it ain’t over ’til it’s over! With the launch of this beautiful new site, I’d say you have a lot of good years ahead of you. =)

    •  @ZenCaffeine Thanks Kaylee! Yes, I can get fairly surging with excitement when I contemplate the possibility and promise in front of me.  In front of all of us really – no matter what our age or circumstance.

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