Friday, October 23, 2009

Looking back and ahead

This month, I celebrated my birthday, and for the first time, it had me looking back. I admit to some maudlin feelings . . . this is the middle of my life . . . will it get better still? I was blessed with so many things. Life was good to me. And yet. I want more. Don't we always want more? Is that something everybody feels? Is that a good sign, a sign that the will to do something is still there, the will to move on, to change things, to make a difference? Or is it a sign that I've still not learned to be content with what I have, that I still don't see how rich I am, how lucky I was, how little life's capricious threats have shaken me?

I find it difficult to toe the line between the will to move on and being content with what I have. Ambition . . . a two-edged sword. To achieve your dreams, you have to dig in your feet, strain against obstacles, and just keep on pushing. But if you do so, do you have time to watch the flower grow next to the road you're struggling along? Can you afford to lay back and say with a happy sigh, "This is it. I'm happy, nothing else is needed."? Don't you have to make a choice?

I'm old enough to know it's a question of equilibrium - as everything in life. Theoretically, that concept is understood. But in every-day-life, I find it hard to put it into practice. The "time slices" when I stop and enjoy are too short. The "time slices" when I push and struggle are too long -- and sometimes, they exhaust me so much that I can't even enjoy the things I should be happy about. I consider it an achievement that I realize it. It would be worse if I didn't even notice. But still . . . How do you manage to keep the equilibrium?

7 comments:

I.J. Parnham said...

My next birthday has a nought in it so I decided some time ago to forget about time and angst. Life is, after all, the thing that happens while you're planning to do other things.

Elisabeth Rose said...

It was my birthday a few days ago too Beate. Happy Birthday!

Carol Hutchens said...

Happy Birthday, Beate. I'm an October baby too. Thanks for the provoking thoughts...

Carolyn said...

Happy Birthday, Beate.

Excellent, thought-provoking blog.

I suffer from the same affliction, but I don't plan to stop reaching for the stars. I've been very fortunate for the life I live, and extremely grateful, but I don't want to feel guilty because I want more. I figure so long as I don't whine about it (in public, that is ...), it's okay. :-)

Thanks for a good article.

Beate Boeker said...

Hey, we seem to have quite a few October authors among us! Ian, I liked your coment "life is what happens while you're planning to to other things" - it takes out the stress, somehow!
Thank you for your comments . . . I'm glad you found them thought-provoking!

Jane Myers Perrine said...

Beate--I've been pondering this as well. For years--most of my life--I thought growing older was something that happened to OTHER people. Now I'm finding that as there are more years behind me than lay ahead and time passes so fast I can't catch it, I'm still going to write and enjoy and live.

Beate Boeker said...

You're so right, Jane. Enjoying what we're doing - that's the secret.