It surprises me how much I identify with the physical self. We all do. And it was after reading a MORE magazine article about women in mid-life mourning the loss of their younger selves (the hair, the body, the skin, whatever), that it clicked.
If I didn’t care so much how my [fill in the blank with whatever physical features you always identified with] defined me in my 20s and 30s, then I wouldn’t care when it changed in my 40s. Right?
This great blog from OM Times says it well – the old self is past, it doesn’t serve us anymore, let it go. And the fire that comes from truly transforming – not improving, not setting goals and crossing them off when you achieve them – is scary, but satisfying in a way we rarely get to experience.
Who cares if my hair was longer, fuller, thicker when I was 20 and not an inch of gray? I guess I did – I guess that was how I saw myself – as the gift-wrapping, not the surprise of a gift inside.
And don’t we all, anyway? The first thing so many think when seeing an old friend is – wow, he’s gotten fatter…she looks tired…her hair is different…look what time has done.
We live in a superficial world and if any of us attempt to transcend it, we meet with an uphill battle.
Except it’s a battle worth fighting.
Today, we lay to rest my friend and mentor, Jeff Zaslow, who spent a lifetime writing about the meaning beneath the wrapping. His book about the love we wish for our daughters, The Magic Room, focused on a small bridal shop in rural Michigan. No bright lights, no big city. Just everyday people making connections that filled their lives with meaning.
It’s a pretty momentous foundation for a life well-lived. There is no question he left us too soon. But what a legacy he leaves.
So from this moment forward, let’s focus on the layers deeper than the surface, the soul beneath the ever-changing body, the meaning in this life that goes by in a flash.