I’m not sure if it was turning fifty years old or because many of my PTSD symptoms have been dealt with and drastically reduced, but the last six months has opened my eyes to so many things. It has been a discovery of who I am, what I want, where I want to go, how I want to get there and who I want to spend my precious time with each day.
That’s another thing that I am even more keenly aware of…my precious time.
No longer do I waste time letting people lie to me or run me over just because they want to control someone other than themselves. Before I even know it, my mouth opens and holds them accountable for their words to me. I don’t tolerate anyone trying to shame or guilt me and I call them on it rather quickly. I started feeling that the only people who can throw stones at me are perfect people. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know any perfect people.
The PTSD healing process has not been and is not easy. I have to go into the darkest locked rooms in my soul and face everything that I have kept hidden away. The pain is sometimes overwhelming which is why I put away all those memories and emotions in the first place. Unfortunately, I have to deal with them now so that I can rid myself of PTSD. Such an irony, isn’t it?
As I have coped with one bitter pain after the next, I find that I am a calmer, less judgmental and definitely less of a controlling person. Actually, I don’t want to control everyone in the world anymore. I CAN’T tell you how much freedom that has given me. I control my actions and reactions. That’s it! That may sound totally normal and logical to you, but it has been a fantastic self-discovery.
At some point of every day I think, “I’m fifty years old. I know more now than I’ve ever known. What am I going to do with the rest of my life?”
I’ve been really sick the last couple days and only started feeling better a few hours ago. My head hurt so badly that I didn’t watch television or have any music playing in the background. I curled up under a quilt on the couch in total silence. Most of the time I kept my eyes closed and either thought about my future or relived lovely times in my past. I refused to get all worked up that I was too sick to do, do, do like usual. I’m slowly learning that it is okay and there is no reason to feel guilty if I don’t always work at something.
A popular quote was put to music by Kelly Clarkson…”What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger.” It wasn’t that long ago that life and PTSD was killing me. I look back now and wonder where I dug up the strength to continue instead of giving up. Maybe I’m stronger than I believe. Maybe God heard all the prayers of the people that care for me. Maybe I’m really not on God’s blacklist.
When I look in the mirror, I see an aging woman who doesn’t have that youthful glow of her twenties or thirties. There’s the beginnings of some wrinkles on my face and lots of tiny wrinkles on my hands. I don’t have the energy or physical prowess I used to take for granted. However, I have a lifetime of knowledge and experience. Our lives are a learning experience. If we bend, remain open minded, love unselfishly, empathize, serve, remain loyal, hard working, honest and determined, the by products are self-acceptance and happiness.
Self-acceptance and happiness. Those words speak volumes about the aging process. I have my weak moments, but I am finally accepting myself for all that I am and all that I’m not. That is HUGE for me.
It’s like this…A brand new barn sits by a busy road on several acres of a farm. Almost every passing car admires the new building with it’s smoothly painted walls and shiny glass windows. As the years pass, the paint on the barn begins to peel and crack. Not many people even give it more than a passing glance. The usefulness and value of the barn hasn’t diminish even though the outward beauty of the building isn’t as striking. There are only a few people who appreciate the old barn, but recognition by the masses isn’t needed.
Well, we are all barns at various stages of peeling and cracking paint. Aging doesn’t have to be a negative experience at all. Appreciate yourself and recognize all that you HAVE LEARNED AND COMPLETED up to this point. You weren’t born with an instruction manual, so what you’ve done thus far is good enough.
As a wise woman told me not too long ago, “Keep saying to yourself, ‘I am enough. I am enough.’” She was right. I AM enough just the way I am with all my shortcomings and flaws included.
Guess what? You’re enough too.