Personal, Perspective, Yoga Philosophy

The thing about growing older

I turned another year older this week, and I celebrated in my classes with a playlist full of songs from my college/post-college years. (By the way, pic above was the start of my senior year in college. Good ole Windows 2000 desktop and Dallas Stars obsessed posters.) Those were years where I officially became an adult in the eyes of the law and the years where I had no choice but to become an adult because I needed to be financially independent.

Those coming-of-age years were scary and uncertain and fascinating and ridiculous and adventurous. Through all of my teen years, I felt I needed to live up to the “brand” I created for myself. An honors student, newspaper editor, pit captain, president of so-and-so club, blah blah blah. I had a long list of achievements and accolades and titles and labels, but I still had no clue who I was or wanted to be. Even through college, I was too chicken to try on new personas. I was always the tomboy nerd who told dirty jokes. That was my comfort zone, and I sat in it for a very long time. Or maybe that’s part of who I am at the core. But that’s not all that I am, and I’m learning that now.

I allowed the fictional labels in my head and my worries about other people dictate my choices up until adulthood. And it was only when I pushed myself out of the nest in 2003 to live in San Francisco that I started to find my inner truth. I had to learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

My 20s were full of demolition moments. I had erected so many walls to protect myself that it took a good decade to take them down. Now in my 30s, I’m still finding walls to knock down, but at least they’re getting easier to demolish. I’m not as attached to them. I won’t really miss them. I’m making room for more space. I’m in constant renovation mode.

Here’s the thing about growing older. You stop giving a rat’s ass about the labels, the mental hang-ups and the attachments that cause us to suffer, and every year, you get closer to your truth. And what is my truth, you may ask? I don’t know yet – at least not fully. I think I’ll find out at the end, but I can feel in my heart that I’m getting a little closer to it. That I’m shedding layers that are masking it, hiding it and manipulating it.

If you follow me on social media, you may have noticed that I’m a bit infatuated with Outlander – both the books and the TV show. There’s this really great scene in the first season where Claire and Jamie (the main characters who were forced into marriage but develop an unshakeable love) come to a moment of truth that moves their relationship forward in a way that they hadn’t experienced before.

outlander_Honest_Ep11

There are things that I canna tell you, at least not yet. And I’ll ask nothing of ye that ye canna give me. But what I would ask of ye – when you do tell me something, let it be the truth. And I’ll promise ye the same.
– Jamie Fraser, Outlander

This moment of honesty and trust, to me, is at the heart of the yama satya, or truthfulness. And while satya is often applicable between two people, I think there is something very powerful about it also existing within ourselves. When we have the ability to rid ourselves of lies and stories to make ourselves feel better or more important, what’s left is the truth. The older I get, the more I feel I can own my truth and live my truth.

It’s a process, for sure, but it’s one that I fully embrace and will explore deeply in my next turn around the sun.

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