A friend of mine who has known me for a LONG time sent me some pictures he found in an old box. Pictures of me. Pictures of me taken over 30 years ago, when I was 25. I am still reeling from the shock of them.
I hardly recognized myself. I kept staring at these pictures wondering, “Who IS that??” I recognized her, but I didn’t recognize her as ME. I couldn’t remember being her. I couldn’t remember what that girl sounded like when she spoke, or what she thought about, or what she did with her days.
She had long brown hair and a slim figure and a line-less face and there were no bags under her eyes and she could see without glasses or contacts.
It made me realize how close to the end of my life I am.
32 years ago I had no idea how my life was going to play out. I could never have fathomed a future in which I could be standing at a desk, in my yoga studio, looking at pictures of myself unable to recognize myself.
I keep looking at these pictures and asking, dumbfounded, “Who IS that girl?”
One thing for sure: It both is, and isn’t “me.”
So the question becomes: Who am I? Am I that girl in the picture? Or am I this woman sitting here writing on this gray February morning? And how did that girl in the picture turn into this person I am now? And how come I want to cry when I look at that picture?
That girl is not who I am now. Time has radically changed me. Not only my looks, but everything. I want to say, caterpillar into butterfly, but in terms of beauty, it’s more like butterfly into caterpillar.
But my biggest reaction was: Holy shit! Time is running out! I’m getting old! What have I done with my life??!! It’s almost over. In 32 years from now, if I last that long, I’ll be 89. Will I be ready to die? Is anyone ever ready to die?
Will I, in 32 years, at the end of my life, be thinking: Good job, Kath. You got a bit of a late start, but you certainly made up for it! Bravo! Life well lived!
That is what I hope to be able to say: Life Well-Lived.
So if that’s the goal, how do I get there? How do I live my life from here on out so that I can be able to say that at the end? How do I live a “well-lived life?”
1. Help. Be of service. Ease the path for others.
2. Create beauty and joy in my wake, everywhere I go.
3. Give freely of my gifts (and know what they are!)
4. Leave a legacy of happiness.
5. Make every day count. Make a daily contribution.
6. Express gratitude.
7. Be kind and unfailingly friendly.
If I did those 7 things every day, for the rest of my life, would that constitute a life well-lived? Would that earn me a small “Bravo!”?
I know I am a small rock, but even small rocks can create strong ripples in a pond if thrown with enthusiasm and a certain amount of force.
This thought gives me hope.
And it takes away some of the fear.