Beliefnet
The Queen of My Self

On my birthday last year, a friend presented me with a gorgeous amber necklace that she had gotten in Russia twenty years ago before she immigrated to the United States. Though she felt that it did not suit her, she held on to it for two decades for sentimental reasons. When she gave it to me, she apologized for it not being a new store-bought thing, but I was thrilled. Not only does it suit me perfectly, but I was extremely touched by her sharing of this nostalgic gem.

And I completely understood her motivation for giving it away. It is common for women in midlife to display an overwhelming urge to purge, to clean out, throw out, refuse, release, discard, to distill and streamline all of our attachments. We refine our needs and tastes and now want to be surrounded by only those people, places and things that add something positive to our lives.

If we are to practice living life with intention, purpose, and appreciation, we are called to take stock — on every level imaginable — material, mental, emotional and spiritual. And we feel the need to evaluate everything in terms of its value to us.

Do our belongings, attitudes, ideas, obligations, commitments, habits, goals, dreams, relationships and wardrobes still fit us? Do they suit us and our current life style? Are they flattering? Do they please us? Do they continue to serve us? Do they feed us what we need? Or do they just take up space? Do they drain our energy and slow us down by the amount of maintenance that they require?

It seems to me that we spend the first half of our lives accumulating things and the second half getting rid of them, paring our possessions down to a manageable cache. At some point in our middle years, it is important to take the time to catalogue what it is we have, what we have accumulated, what we hold onto, what we have carried with us through the years, and what we would be better off letting go of. As we face the second half of our lives, it is prime time to check our baggage and lighten up our load.

With practice, we can distinguish which of our possessions and commitments express our true desires, needs, values and aesthetics, and which do not. Which relationships serve us in a reciprocal manner, and which do not. Which engagements, involvements and assignments are fulfilling and life-affirming and which are empty busywork. “It’s not so much how busy you are, but why you are busy,” the writer Marie O’Conner reminds us. “The bee is praised; the mosquito is swatted.”

So what do you want/need to release as you come into your Queendom? What you have already let go of and what do you still need to part with — mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually?

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The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

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