Like giving birth to a baby, no-one can prepare you for what lies ahead – you can’t see how your life will be in your 70’s. It’s up to you to live it your way. It’s about how you have lived and how flexible you are able to be in adapting to this later cycle of your life – it’s a work in progress. So, what does this look like for me and how important is it for me to remain flexible and adaptable in my 70’s?
Having a flexible, adaptable state of mind has meant letting go of old patterns of behaviour that no longer serve me, such as a false sense of responsibility, sympathy, judgement, frustration. This requires a level of honesty and self-awareness, and it is a work in progress. Letting go of control – wanting things to be a certain way, accepting others for who they are and respecting their choices, observing what is happening in the world without needing it to be different – means learning a new way of being.
This year I am faced with the ending of cycles that have been constants in my life for some time. For example, my husband and I are renovating our house, and planning to move to a new home which will suit this stage of life that we are now in. Living with the dust and the noise and general disruption of my clean orderly home has been a challenge, and has tested my levels of flexibility and adaptability. At the same time there is a sense of anticipation about what lies ahead for us.
This year my grandson is starting school. For the last five years I have spent time looking after him, playing his games, taking him to swimming lessons, putting him to bed when he has had sleepovers and all the other things that grannies do with their grandchildren. From now on I realise that things will be different. He has begun the next stage of his life and with that a new level of independence. I recognise that this is also the beginning of a new cycle for me. I feel the change that is taking place. I appreciate the time we have had together, and that his parents gave me this opportunity, and I also appreciate the relationship that we now have with each other. Nurturing takes on a more expanded form, where I can enjoy observing him grow and learn, where the future is not black and white, but welcomed for whatever is in store.
Change ushers in the new, it feels like an expansion and a step into the unknown. To be in the flow of life with the changes enables more steadiness and appreciation for whatever each new day brings.
As a work in progress, being in the 70’s means that I have seventy years of life experience. Learning to observe life from this lived experience, to be more loving and accepting of myself and others, establishes a foundation of authority that I can bring to every situation. This feels like true flexibility and adaptability, qualities that will support me to embrace life ahead with open arms.
Bernadette C., Australia
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