Beliefnet
The Queen of My Self

 

June is traditionally the month for weddings and it is also now celebrated as Gay Pride month. Love is in the air all around. This is a juicy time of making whoopy.

But while June is the jolly season for Brides and Grooms, Brides and Brides and Grooms and Grooms, it is important to remember that the most primary and important love is that of Self Love. All relationships are built on the respect, esteem and affection that we have for our self.

 

On Beauty and Age – Part 2

By Anne Lamott

I became more successful in my mid-40s, but this pales compared to the other gifts of this decade — how kind to myself I have become, what a wonderful, tender wife I am to myself, what a loving companion. I get myself tubs of hot salty water at the end of the day in which to soak my tired feet. I run interference for myself when I am working, like the wife of a great artist would: “No, I’m sorry, she can’t come. She’s working hard these days and needs a lot of downtime.” I live by the truth that No is a complete sentence. I rest as a spiritual act.

I have grown up enough to develop radical acceptance. I insist on the right to swim in warm water at every opportunity, no matter how cold, no matter how young and gorgeous the other people on the beach are. I don’t think that if I live to be 80 I’ll wish I’d spent more hours in the gym or kept my house a lot cleaner. I think I’m going to wish I had swum more unashamedly, made more mistakes, spaced out more, rested. On the day I die, I want to have had dessert. So this informs how l live now.

I have survived so much loss, as all of us have by our 40th — my parents, dear friends, my pets. Rubble is the ground on which our deepest friendships are built. If you haven’t already, you will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of a beloved person. But this is also the good news. They live forever, in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a leg that never heals perfectly — that still hurts when the weather is cold-but you learn to dance with the limp. You dance to the absurdities of life; you dance to the minuet of old friendships.

I danced alone for a couple of years, and came to believe I might not ever have a passionate romantic relationship — might end up alone! I’d been so terrified of this my whole life. But I’d rather never be in a couple or never get laid again than to be in a toxic relationship. I spent a few years celibate. It was lovely, and it was sometimes lonely. I had surrendered; I’d run out of bullets. But I learned to be the person I wished I’d meet — at which point I found a kind, artistic, handsome man. We have been together 20 months now, when we get out of bed, we hold our lower backs, like Walter Brennan, and we smile.

Younger women worry that their memories will begin to go. And you know what? They will. Menopause has not increased my focus and retention as much as I’d been hoping. But a lot is better off missed. A lot is better not gotten around to.

I know many of the women at the wedding fear getting older, and I wish I could gather them together again and give them my word of honor that every one of my friends loves being older, loves being in her 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s. My Aunt Gertrud is 85 and leaves us behind in the dust when we hike. Look, my feet hurt some mornings, and my body is less forgiving when I exercise more than I’m used to. But I love my life more, and me more. I’m so much juicier. And, like that old saying goes, it’s not that I think less of myself, but that I think of myself less often. And that feels like heaven to me

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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She is the Midlife Midwife™ offering counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity.

Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™: http://www.donnahenes.net/queen/consult.shtml

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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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