“Life. What a whirlwind of so many things. Rules, obligations, family, friendships, beliefs, education, life lessons, love, grief, joy, and the list goes on and on. As I mature, and I use that term loosely, I’m discovering who I am. Discovering who I believe I am meant to be. I decided it was time for me to figure things out.
No more feelings of obligation to people should have been kicked out of my life a long time ago. That sounds harsh, but if we’re honest with ourselves, we all have them in our lives. I prioritize what and who is important to me. I have found my tribe and all I have to say is, DO THIS! Go find them.
Finding my tribe made me realize how very short life is. No, I’m not dying, yet I am. Each day I am given, I am one day closer to the end. That sounds extremely depressing, but it doesn’t have to be. The older I get, the more I treasure every day.
So, the past few years I have subconsciously made two lines of people in my mind, the ‘Keepers’ and the ‘Move Alongs.’ It began with my family. I figure I would start with the hardest, most obligatory list. You know, the ‘thicker than blood,’ ‘They will always be your family,’ ‘Deep down you will always love each other.’
But here’s what I have discovered now that I am in my late 50’s: this is not true.
We aren’t supposed to have a bond because we’re told we should. This can cause extreme stress and sadness for years. Why should they stay in my bubble just because someone put us in the same close proximity growing up? With the passing of my parents, I gained the strength to let go of a family member or two. I finally reached around myself, grabbed ahold of my backbone, and cut the ties. It was the most liberating thing I have done in a long time.
Next, my ‘friends.’ This wasn’t something that needed to be discussed. It was something that needed to be done. It was time for me to ‘move along.’ I need laughter. I need tears. I need time. What I discovered was the ‘time’ part with friends was the toughest. Life changes and people move on. I get that, but I needed friends. Last year, I made a commitment to make time to invite friends to join me for scheduled visits. It sounds weird, but it worked. We started to gather a few times a month. This filled my life with laughter, tears, and love. It was the perfect storm.
So, this is what I’ve learned about life so far…
Life can be hard. I’ve been broke. I’ve had money. I’ve been married. I’ve been divorced. Sometimes my kids don’t like me and sometimes they love me. People I love die. Friends walk away. My family has fewer people in it. I laugh. I savor every day I am given. I’m not perfect. I love wine. I should lose weight. I should exercise more. I dislike calling Comcast. I have learned to let go, and this has lightened my burden. The most important thing I learned is to have people around that make my life better, and for me, that has come in the form of some amazing friends.
I am finished being someone I’m not. I speak up. I hug more. I say I love you when I want you to know I mean it, not because I say it to everyone. I still have so much to learn to become me, but now I know I only need to reach inside, listen to my head and my heart, and then, JUST DO IT! Getting old is liberating!”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Becky Gacono, 57, of Pennsylvania. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more from Becky:
‘Can you wipe my eyes? Can you make my tears stop?’ We sat in silence as my 90-year-old father’s tears fell. He was going to be alone for the first time in 69 years.’: Elderly man’s emotional final goodbye to his beloved wife
Help us show compassion is contagious. SHARE this story on Facebook with family and friends.