Photo Courtesy of Rita Barney
Sometimes I yawn when I hear 40ish year old women complain about how their youth has slipped away or about a minute wrinkle, or hear of their devout worries of being oldish and just not having the muscles in their derriere to keep it perky and tight or how unattractive it is to have a pooch in the belly. Sometimes, I fight with my voice box to simply listen in silence; I stand by, chuckling to myself, finding it more advantageous to join in on the less dramatic monologue that runs nonstop in my head.
I want to say, ”Listen up kid, ya’ ain't seen nothin’ yet.” I want to interrupt and ask if they can see me standing here, old and fighting age on my own terms, or ask if they think I am chopped liver or if I am invisible or if they think I am unsightly and barren of success and worth and productivity. But to date, I have won the battle against trying to explain, taking the high road, deciding to simply be a role model. Let the younger generations.let society watch me win. Watch me lead. Watch me grow wise and become who I was originally intended to be. For age has it’s privileges. It also has it’s responsibilities.
And I take myself back down memory lane to my fortieth year. I was 23 years younger than today. I was smart and rather daring when it came to business. I loved people. I loved God. And at the time, I truly believed I loved life. However, I was a slave to the bathroom scales, wearing a preteen boy jean, and I was afraid of food. I was a workaholic, and a worrier. I had a phobia of introducing myself and found any kind of public speaking extremely difficult. I lived, on a daily basis, in fear of failing. Not the kind of fear that caused one to sit on the couch and do nothing, but the kind that will drive you to strive for perfection, 24/7.
Awww, my story is really no different than most. If truthful, we all struggle with a want for something we were never meant to have; Reaching for the stars when we aren’t equipped, as of yet anyway. We look over the fence at someone else’s garden and want roses when our soil is best suited for daisies. If we’re artists we wish we were better at accounting or if we are number gurus we daydream about being an athlete. We all want to be thin, muscular, not too tall, but not short. JUST RIGHT? What we’re really saying is we want to live a fairy tale life, like Goldie Locks; I want what I want. She was looking for just the perfect atmosphere to make herself feel comfy and cozy. One could even say, that maybe, she was being a little brattish. We move from one thing to another, never feeling content, possibly ending up as Hansel and Gretel seeking out the candy house leading us into a trap.
And then somewhere around the 50 year mark, I met Grace. And Grace showed me how to treasure Me and those gifts I was born with. Grace showed me how to love others for who they were. With Grace came peace and a clearer understanding of my personalized journey. And I wondered how I had survived life up to now without it. And for my first 40 years, I had not understood that life its self, IS the journey. I learned that none of us are born all-knowing; none of us inhale our final breath being 100 percent complete. And at 50 the shackles began to rattle and I became bolder and less judgmental. Grace, for me, was the key to unlocking the chains I had unknowingly carried around since before puberty..
At 50, we moved to a different state to attend culinary school and society told me I was too old and I found my moxie and I pushed through anyway. And I graduated top in my class. And I discovered that this was what I was born to do. At this hour. At this juncture of the journey. Not unlike the 10 years before when I found myself restoring a vintage structure and eventually opening up a bed and breakfast. It was at that time the seed was planted for culinary school as I hosted guests for dinners and made specialty desserts and served wine. Each season has a purpose. Some we plant in. Some we water in order for the following season to produce a harvest.
And Grace grew, and I found myself in Rome speaking before crowds of women at a women’s conference. The more I yielded to Grace, the more mercy and benevolence I could inauguarate, not only for myself but for others; and I found more shackles falling from my soul. Imagine me, the one who was afraid to stand and introduce herself, now speaking to others on a platform.
Alas, the journey I had so long waited for, yearned for, was now manifesting itself. I could find no words. I began to see that age is not to be feared, but to be cherished. Then it happened one day, on my journey to 60.It was as if I was the Sleeping Beauty. My eyes were opened and I discovered just how spectacular my life.my journey had been all along. I had only fallen asleep to the fact we know in part. We see in part. And we learn along the way.
The moral to my life lived fairy tale???
We all have a personalized journey. The journey doesn't present itself magically over night. The journey is not about age or weight, money, prestige, or even a timeline. It’s not about living in the same season day after day, year after year. It’s about progression. It’s about excepting change. It’s about understanding that others have not walked where we’ve walked. It’s about understanding the 40-year-old mom’s in no way can understand what it’s like to be 50, the 50ish crowd can’t go where a 60-year-old businesswoman has been no more than I can perceive what it’s like to walk the journey my 85-year-old mother is on. It’s about granting others Grace to find their path on their own time. It’s about allowing Grace into our lives, to change us, encourage us, free us from society's opinions and life's bumps and bruises.
It’s about allowing Grace to free us from ourselves.
Write your story like only you can and discover just how perfectly wonderful your flawed fairy tale life can be.
Who am I, you ask?..
Grand Mum to 8, a humble human mom to three, furkid mom to two, married 45 years to my #1 sweetheart. I am a woman on a mission to Live Out Loud and take as many women with me on the journey as possible. Speaking of possible, I don’t believe in impossible. All things are possible for those who choose to speak life instead of death over their own journey. Entrepreneur, chef, coffee shop owner, storyteller, ME.
Check out Rita's cafe on her official website for Cafe Paradee here and read her blog at TheJourneysCalling.com.
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Facebook: the journeys calling/rita barney