Reflecting on the Rhythm of Life Lessons Through the Rear-View Mirror
Hindsight is always 20/20 By Brenda Cyr
Photo by Bogdan Dirică from Pexels
The other day I was watching excited kids getting their school supplies. They were full of giggles and had bright eyes as they chose their new pens, books, and pencil cases. They were anticipating their return to school and to start learning new things. Every year of school meant they were moving closer to being grown-up, and they couldn’t wait to get to that magical place.
Tagging behind them was an exhausted Dad, carrying a list of the needed supplies. His shoulders sagged with the responsibility of raising these energetic children in this unprecedented time. I could almost hear his thoughts,” Don’t grow up, just don’t do it. It’s not what you think.”
The scene brought back vivid memories of when my kids were small. They were full of energy and anticipation about the beginning of another school year. I recall the delight in their eyes when they picked out that special pencil case or lunch box that would become a treasured item. I recall my exhaustion at having to figure out the new routines, planning lunches, and attempts to get them to bed on time. Unfortunately, my distraction with the business of life robbed me of the joy of participating in this event.
Our lives are filled with cycles, governed mainly by nature. They are invisible to those rushing through life. The seasons, phases of the moon, and rising tides all follow predictable patterns. Birth, adulthood, seniorhood, and old age also follow predictable patterns, and if we are lucky, nothing stops the cycle.
Springtime is childhood, growth, energy, and planting seeds. We have increasingly longer days and time to enjoy it. For me, springtime was school, excitement, and looking forward. I endured several scars during that springtime. I was eager to move into the summer of my life. I thought I would have more control over it.
Summer is adulthood, learning, reaping the benefits of the seeds of knowledge gained in the springtime of our lives. It is a time to enjoy long days and warm nights. Summertime was learning about relationships, the reality of working, paying bills, and kids to raise.
To my surprise, the burden of responsibility restricted all the control I thought I would have. There were hard lessons during the summer of my life and more than one tornado that blew through. But the anchors of family and faith held firm, and I survived them. Fall is seniorhood, harvesting the crops, and reaping the benefits of lifelong work. It is also preparing for the long cold days of winter. I don’t recall looking forward to the fall of my life. Or any other season, for that matter. I probably thought about it here and there, but never for very long or in-depth. But now I am here and find it is a beautiful season.
Typically, we don’t realize we have slipped into a new life cycle. But then, like the caterpillar that emerges as a beautiful butterfly, one day, it just happens.
We look back and realize that one chapter of our life is complete, and we have begun anew. First, we are teenagers, then young adults starting our life. Then, out of the blue, we are adults with a family and mortgage payments. Until you look back at how far you have come, these cycles slip seamlessly and silently from one to another.
I now see that I am in the fall of my life.
I can look backward and forward now. Looking back with some joy and sadness, I can see how things played out exactly as they should. Looking forward with curiosity, I can see that it is time to lighten up. There are honestly very few things I need to be content.
Happiness is a state of mind, not a collection of belongings. I am curious about what marks I have left on this beautiful planet. Whose life have I touched. I am sure there are moments that I don’t even recall that made a difference to someone, just as strangers have touched my life as well.
Our ancestors celebrated the season of fall by gathering the harvest and preparing staples for winter. Women gathered in kitchens. They exhibited their creativity by cooking and creating the necessities for winter. Knitting, weaving, and storytelling filled their days and evenings.
Now, in the fall of my life, I feel the urge to create, just as they did. To gather with friends, share stories, and create something to help others get through the hard times. Fortunately, all our progress and technology have not stopped the hidden rhythms of life.
I have things I want to accomplish and dreams to work on. I don’t think that this time of life is anywhere near the end. Mother Nature gives us fall so we can harvest the crops we planted in the spring. That is what I plan to do with this stage of my life- harvest all the seeds I have sewn and discover what beautiful mosaic evolves
Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. Albert Einstein
I know winter will be coming. I don’t know when, and I imagine I will slip into it, as unaware as I have of any other season I have slipped into.
But winter is not a season to fear. It is a season where the seeds lay dormant, waiting to burst forth anew. Just like the tender shoots of the crocuses bursting thru the snow, whatever happens during that chapter is full of hope. It is a time of renewal and recharging. With longevity increasing, I am unsure when the winter cycle will arrive or what treasures it holds for us.
But as with all other cycles of nature, I am sure it will arrive. And when it does, I will enjoy looking back over the fall season of my life and seeing how beautifully it fit with all the other seasons of my life.