Balance to me, at this point in my life, is about the art of letting go.
For the first 50 years of my existence, I was gathering and taking and acquiring all manner of things: money, homes, friends, partners, loyalty, favours, safety, peace and most of all – love.
Around the time of my 50th, I had an epiphany of sorts, and the thought popped into my head that I really didn’t know shit about anything. Who was I to be counseling loved ones and friends when they came to me for advice? How could I possibly give anyone direction when I had always blown around like a leaf in the wind most of my life, accepting and constantly adjusting my sails, according to the ferocity of the storms and tragedies? I had done a fair bit of living, so possibly I was helpful in that I could relate to many things, and provide tips or life “hacks”. But in truth, I did most of them a disservice even attempting to direct them on the right path.
In the last few years, it has been all about letting it all go for me.
I have let go of trying to control anyone I love and have become quieter and more attentive to their physical cues. Everyone knows I am still here for them, but that maybe it is just to sit with them in silence, or give them some home made soup, or a hug if that is what their bodies seem to be signaling to me.
I am no longer throwing on my cape and dashing to rescue every loved one anymore. They need to learn their own lessons, after all- we all do, even if sometimes those lessons leave scars.
I am relying on my instincts and my body more then I ever did in my past.
I am not holding on to toxic partners, for fear of being alone, because I have come to realize that I actually love my own company and look forward to whole days where I can do what I want, eat what and when I want, and do what feels perfectly right for me.
It felt a bit selfish in the beginning, but now it is feeling mighty fine.
I am also letting go of material things I have hauled around with me from home to home for years. Holding onto items that mean nothing to me anymore. Downsizing, is what they call it, I guess.
I am also downsizing on resentments, anger, bitterness, grief, and unrealistic expectations of how others should treat me. It’s up to me to set those boundaries and rules.
I want to minimize on the material and maximize on the experiences and the moments.
I recently was in Mexico with my sons for my bonus daughter’s wedding.( Ain’t no steps in THIS house except the ones leading up the stairs!) As many my age have experienced, getting all the “kids” together in one place once they have grown up and moved on is a feat in itself.
Well, I had them all close by for a whole 8 days and it was a series of the absolute best moments of my entire life.
Most of the wedding attendees were younger than me, with the exception of the groom’s Mother. And yet- it seemed my hotel door was constantly swinging open and shut with the arrival of one of them or the other.
They came to sit with me and watch the sunrises and we all came together at the end of those long, hot days to watch the sunsets together at the ocean.
They popped in to invite me for dinner with their families, in the event I was dining alone.
The one family had a little one that I would just take by the hand and walk slowly with through the glorious landscaping and along the beach. Or just sit with…play with his baby-fine hair as it blew softly across his cheek from the ocean breeze.
I sat the morning of the wedding on my patio, watching the sun rise and closed my eyes and said a prayer for the first time in many years.
I thanked God/Creator/Buddha/Mohammed- all of them.
Thanked them for the beauty and the warmth and the opportunity to watch my strong, healthy, handsome sons playing in the ocean and laughing- oh my GOD, so much laughter!
Asked that they bless the marriage we were about to witness later that day, and keep that young love alive for the rest of their lives.
I took a straw hat of my mother’s and a bandana that my brother wore so often you could see through it. Packed them in my suitcase on a whim.
My brother’s bandana is tied around a little palm tree trunk- a thin little trunk that must indicate it has years of growing and stretching to the sun before it.
My mother’s straw hat I filled with all the pesos I had left in my purse, some chocolates, as well as the boldest and most fragrant of the beautiful tropical flowers that made up my corsage.
And a note, (that I likely incurred $20 in internet charges for) in order to write it in Spanish for my housekeepers that week. I thanked them for their graciousness and their hard work.
That is my balance- the holding on and cherishing of the moments that matter, but also at the same time, letting go of that which I no longer need to carry with me.