“I thought my midlife season would be about pushing into a new future … and it is. I thought it would be about leaving behind the expectations and encumbrances of the past. It is. What I didn’t know is that it would feel so much like recovering an essential self, not like discovering a new one.
Hold close to your essential self. Get to know it, the way you get to know everything in the world about someone you’re in love with, the way you know your child, their ever freckle and preference and which cry means what.
This self – this fragile and strong, creative, flip-flop and ponytail self – she’s been here all along, but I left her behind, almost lost her when I started to believe that constant motion would save me, that outrunning everything would keep me safe.
You cannot be a mystic when you’re hustling all the time. You can’t be a poet when you start to speak in certainties. You can’t stay tender and connected when you hurl yourself through life like being shot out of a cannon, your very speed a weapon you wield to keep yourself safe.
The natural world is so breathtakingly beautiful. People are so weird and awesome and loving and life-giving. Why, then, did I try so hard for so long to get away without feeling or living deeply?”
Shauna Niequist, Present Over Perfect