Why is there often a disconnect between what we see in the mirror and how we perceive ourselves internally—especially after a certain age. And, by the way, exactly what is a “certain age?”
In a recent blog, I posed this question and said I did not have an answer. So it was timely upon reading Until I Say Goodbye (by Susan Spencer-Wendell), I encountered the words of poet Ranier Marie Rilke:
“Don’t search for the answers, which would not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the question now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
Ms. Spencer-Wendell, a thirty-five year-old award winning journalist when she was diagnosed with ALS, had to face the question of what you would do if you had a year to live of health remaining. She thought of the uncertainty of this horrible, debilitating, degenerating disease and wondered how long she’d be able to live with what she faced.
Then she thought, “Don’t search for answers. Live the questions.”
Susan decided to take seven trips with the most important seven people in her life, and describes the year of joy she encountered with them while her disease still allowed.
Here is a young woman who had to give up her career, stop picking up her small son, eventually unable to feed herself, and never became bitter or angry. This certainly puts a new perspective on my own story of what I had to forfeit as a result of my illness.
My frustration, sadness, and anger about my health and giving up dancing and riding a bicycle is nothing compared to giving up lifting your arms or walking or feeding yourself or hugging your husband.
"Don’t cry because it’s over … smile because it happened.” –Dr. Seuss