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Well-Being TLC

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

December 2023: Freeing Me of Myself

 

Freeing Me of Myself


Birthday Proclamation 2023: “I hereby free myself from the burden of bringing forth any previous versions of me into age fifty-seven.” Thus, I am letting go of the idea of who I used to be and instead asking myself, “Who am I in this moment going forward?” Declaring these words aloud, I instantly felt lighter, breathed easier . . . and my mind cleared.


The weight of Debs who came before me lifted. It is not that I hate who I was at past ages or that I want to erase parts of my journey. Rather it is that I no longer wish to compete with or be beholden to any me of yesteryear.


Until that moment of clarity, I held the notion that who I am now equals the sum of my thoughts, emotions, and preference related to previous happenings. A simple backward glance would suffice to presently define me. But Mary Engelbreit insists, “Don’t look back—you’re not going that way.” In this case, don’t look back—you’re not that person anymore. And Engelbreit is indeed right, I am not going that way—back—and as I go forward, the person I used to be need not dictate where I go, how I go, or who I am as I go. Whew! What a relief!


Perhaps society’s messages led me astray. However untrue, the outer culture projects that: a youngster’s purpose is to grow up; a young adult’s purpose is train for an occupation; a middle-ager’s purpose is to work; and an elder’s purpose is to remain as young as possible for as long as possible—and here I am in the gap between middle age and elder, and not getting any younger.


The falseness of cultural expectations has not protected me from its influence. So, while I am fortunate to have a job I love that does not feel like work, my body and mind show obvious signs of aging. Any movement away from stillness now requires an audible grunt to nudge me into motion. And where did I put my car keys? Society, again, tells me, “Use it or lose it.” Please—I have been using it and still losing it. Do not shame me into thinking I am to blame for Mother Nature’s progression due to lack of effort on my part.


My purpose is not to battle my body and mind back into a prior more agile and energetic state. All the things I used to do, think, and feel, need not lasso me, and yank me back to my past for comparison. Nor should I stride ahead with this rope dragging fifty-six mini-me vintage models behind me. The Zen Proverb, “Let go or be dragged,” comes to mind. By steadying my gaze ahead, I let go!


Am I losing myself? Will I forget from where I came, or any lessons learned on my path by facing forward? No. I do not lack object permanence, or in this case lived experience permanence. Each pertinent moment is like a book in my personal library that I have already read and know by heart. The difference with looking ahead is that I have lined up the series of diaries on the shelf instead of tripping over every open volume randomly scattered around the entire floor.


Ah . . . to live in the moment! By getting out of my own way, I set myself free.


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