Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Surprise of Losing My Innocence

The crows feet in the corners of my eyes have been giving me pause lately.

"Forever feeling young is the worlds' best kept secret"- Liberal Arts

It's like outwardly I can SEE that I'm growing older. Those crows feet mean lots of laughter and joy... days and experiences stacking on top of each other. But, on the inside, in many ways, I still feel like I could be in my undergrad, rocking the clubs and being ridiculous. Let's admit, I'm fairly ridiculous most days... my job allows for that.

What I didn't expect is the sense of heaviness that continues to sit on my heart. Although I feel I should still have so much time for my hopes and dreams (singer songwriter here I come!), I know that I'm not longer a carefree person. Life sort of happened. Each happening making me feel a bit heavier, adding a layer of thought and perspective.

Some of these layers are important, great even. I feel more ready for life, more confident in who I am and what I believe. I have less to prove, less to figure out. I'm just so HEAVY.

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who's felt this way. There have been songs, books, poems, (blog posts) written on the subject of this weird bittersweet surprise at the loss of innocence. I guess I just didn't expect it to happen to me... In that I expected to feel young at heart forever.

I'm not exactly afraid of aging, of the wrinkles, sagging, silvery hair that will grace my head. Nope, I'm more afraid of this heaviness, this strange metaphorical weight that has started pressing right on my sternum... radiating across my collarbones, my lungs and heart.

Now, there is worth in having some measured response to living. Experience and critical thinking can be useful (also referred to as 'wisdom'), I don't want to be 100% carefree.

Can I be lighter?

Interestingly, I don't feel that this realization of age=experience=heavy is exacerbated by our modern fast paced culture. It wouldn't surprise me that each generation of people had a moment at some point where they mourn the loss of their innocence and felt the weight of every day life lean on them.

Truthfully, I feel like for the first time in generations we have access to so many more tools meant to help us lighten our spirit. There's this hunger to find a way to peel back those layers while retaining all the valuable lessons and knowledge from every day living.

I see Yoga as having a role here... if used in a balanced way instead of escapism.

(I need to dance more... it keeps me LIGHT)

How do you lighten the spirit?


  1. I find doing things to make myself and others laugh always lifts my spirits. Which is easy to do at a gym where I can just bust out some new zumba moves. Oooo, ooo, oo... and tickling. Being tickled always makes me feel young. :)

  2. i know what you mean. have had a hard time feeling light and letting go over the past year. but i haven't thought of the heavy feeling being from age but rather from all the negative feelings i have at work or from things that have gone wrong or from worries about things going wrong.

  3. I've felt the same way. Getting out of my head and body is easier said than done! Sometimes I find that being intentionally ridiculous helps: Who says I can't wear panda ears to the grocery store? Why shouldn't my mom knit me a purple hat with kitty ears? Why can't I string rainbow lights in my craft room and watch the pretty colors change? Jim and I recently decided that since we're stuck in our house, we might as well enjoy it. Our new commitment is to make it as beautiful as possible, which means not settling for "good enough." We want to LOVE our space and make it a happy place for our family. This is a rambly way of saying that sometimes the simplest things help me become the lightest. But don't harsh on yourself for feeling heavy at times--we have to be grounded to rise up. :)

  4. Right there with you. Now in my mid-40s (oh, man it hurts to type that!!), I feel that heaviness you describe almost everyday. Funny, discovering yoga (Bikram) was so helpful for me -- I hope very soon to return to a regular practice -- in feeling lighter, more able to cope with life. For now, music and hockey will have to do. Peace.

  5. I think that middle age does feel heavy. Now that I am 60 I feel the lightness return. I'm not as interested in building whatever life I envision for myself; I'm more interested in shedding things and dancing with what's left. Hang in there. It's all good. Margaret O

  6. Bicycling. Oddly, I've felt SO MUCH OLDER and heavier this year (the kind of heavy you mean, not fat, lol) - so much so that I sometimes feel like I shouldn't be riding my bike to work. I keep thinking someone is going to pull me over and tell me I'm getting a ticket for not being "adult enough." I've never felt that way - it's really weird! But I keep going, because it makes me feel light and like a kid.

  7. We are approaching another tough season at work, and it's so easy to fall into despair. But I think what keeps me "lighter" (wish it was physically, too, lol) is prayer, my family and realizing this is only a season. My Thursday night yoga escape doesn't hurt either. :-)

  8. I think yoga can help us to stay lighter, longer, as well as lots of other things: being outdoors a lot, laughing, singing, dancing, living in the moment, appreciating the little things. But I think the "catch 22" is that if we do these things with the expectation that they will make us lighter (i.e. focusing on the outcome instead of on the activity), they may actually bring us down...

    For me as I get older, a big thing has been to let go of the past and of the future and try to live in the now more... Not worrying about "what I should have achieved already" or "all the time I wasted doing X", but generally trying to worry less! I hope it will keep me younger, longer. ;)


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