There’s one thing for sure in life: death. Like it or not, we signed up for it the day we were born. Our time on earth is precious.
Many are fortunate to experience the early years without the life-altering loss of a close friend or loved one, leaving the subject of death furthest from our minds. But by middle-age, most have experienced the grief of loss, sometimes over those who didn’t make it to this beautiful middle-aged stage of life.
I said goodbye to both sets of grandparents by the time I was in my late twenties. A couple weeks ago, Michael and I were in our childhood hometown and visited their gravesides. Before we knew it, we were lost in time as we wandered among the rows, catching ourselves down memory lane passing by those who had been part of our lives: aunts, uncles, teachers, friends, and friends’ parents. Giggles, smiles, and even tears were shared.
The memories shared were of time spent together, the influence each individual had on us, and the kind of person we knew them to be. There’s so much truth in the notion that when we die, it’s not our job title, material things, or hours spent at the office that others will remember; but instead, we “live on” through cherished memories created with loved ones and the impact we had on their lives. Our hearts felt full.
As middle-aged people, we’re far more conscious of time than ever before and conversations commonly lead to “how fast time goes by”. We’ve arrived to the stage that still feels like it should belong to our parents and grandparents. How did we get here so fast?! That summer afternoon reminded us loud and clear: now is the time to savour and enjoy, be present in life, and consider how we want to be remembered, what impact have we made and still want to make in the lives of others?
As middle-aged women, we catch ourselves yearning for our youth and years gone by (I’ve caught myself back there many times this summer, as my now adult kids come and go from the cottage). As difficult as it is, let’s not waste time wanting the past back. Instead, embrace today as it too will be gone soon and we’ll be yearning for these exact moments.
Like my physician said when I turned 52, “…enjoy 52, because when you turn 62, 52 will look really good”! So be present and keep building those special memories and relationships. Don’t just “think about” your legacy; start creating action around it. Why? Because in the end we are dead a long time and the gift of time is precious, so we should build our memories and legacy now. Because we can!
D by denise Journal is published biweekly. To subscribe and receive directly to your inbox click here.
Photos: Michael Zaporzan