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Ashley Solomon, Psy.D is a psychologist who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders, body image, trauma, and serious mental illness.

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Aging, gracefully

May 17, 2012 12 Comments by Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul

{image credit :: greylikesbaby}

My birthday is in a day or so and I’m finding myself having an interesting reaction to anticipating its arrival. First, you must know that I love birthdays. Like l-o-v-e birthdays. I’m the lady who wants to celebrate the person whose special day it is for the entire month. To be honest, I’m a good person to know around your birthday – I’ll bake you treats, sprinkle confetti in your hair, and just generally sing your praises.

So as I approach this birthday a bit more… subdued. Somehow, it seems less like an occasion for fanfare and more of one for quiet reflection. As this particular birthday draws near, my mind keeps going back to myself as a young girl playing make-believe.

From the time I could talk I wanted to be older than I was. I forged ahead with everything I did and by six years old I already felt nineteen. So playing “grown-up” was a natural pastime for myself and my, at times, unwilling brothers. In my fantasy, I always played myself at the age that I am on the cusp of turning (give it up now, cuz I’m not telling you the digits!).

It always seemed like such a cool age, at least in my pre-adolescent mind. It seemed hip, but wise. Adult, but fun. Sophisticated, but stylish. Of course, I had my life carefully painted in my world of pretend as well. And now as I creep up to this next marker of time, I am left recognizing all the ways in which my fantasy has – and has not – come developed into reality.

It’s easy to get sucked into the well of disappointment at what has not transpired. I have not yet bought my Tuscan villa, for one. Or written my book, for two (I had very mature goals, you’ll see). In all of the regret, it’s easy to lose sight of all of the ways in which my visions have actually manifested in beautiful and profound ways.

There’s a really powerful quote from Joseph Campbell that I repeatedly share on Facebook and have stuck to my wall at work (on an incredibly decorative post-it note, no less). It says:

“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

I am nothing if not a planner, and so this whole “letting go” idea doesn’t exactly come naturally. But I work at it each and every day. I hold on passionately to the dreams that have become reality, and I (try to) let sift through my fingers those that have not.

Being about to enter this new year of life (and, as my girlhood self predicted, being incredibly wise by now), I feel it my prerogative to remind you that if we stay so narrowly focused on the life we have pictured for ourselves, we risk a more beautiful life passing us by unnoticed.

So take a risk. Do something unexpected. Look forward and not back. Open yourself to the possibilities of the unknown. Stay present, but dream big. And never stop being hopeful.

And most of all, always blow out candles on your birthday.

What else should I (or you) remember on a birthday? (Check out the amazing 

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12 Comments

  1. Joy
    2 years ago

    For my birthday (which is in 6 days) I like to take 2 balloons and write a wish for the coming year and a thank you to the previous year and let them go

    Reply

  2. Joy
    2 years ago

    Ohhh and most importantly happy birthday

    Reply

  3. Crystal
    2 years ago

    Aging Gracefully.While there’s no escaping getting older, we can decide to age well and gracefully rather than bemoaning it.
    Crystal recently posted..Hot Tub Spa Covers

    Reply

  4. Cristina Fahrbach-Connors
    2 years ago

    Loved this! So well put and issues I’m grappling with myself. Gave this post a shout-out on my blog.
    Cristina Fahrbach-Connors recently posted..Stories of Substance: Body Image Round-Up

    Reply

  5. Ezekiel A. Thommy
    2 years ago

    Glad I’ve found this interesting blog..Thanks this is really inspired me..
    Ezekiel A. Thommy recently posted..Where to Buy Male Extra

    Reply

  6. Nique
    2 years ago

    Happy birthday to you. So how would you want to celebrate your special day? Yes I do agree that you should never stop being hopeful. We have to always look forward to what the future has in store for us. Thanks for sharing.
    Nique recently posted..How To Pick Up Girls

    Reply

  7. Noel Dean
    2 years ago

    Happy birthday to you. Really it’s a nice fillings to me. I wish your success and thanks for this great post.
    Noel Dean recently posted..Llanuras del volcán Barú

    Reply

  8. Grandma Sylvia
    2 years ago

    I enjoyed this post Ashley. I too am having a birthday soon and am reminded to not worry over what might have been but to enjoy the present. Thank you, I’m glad you had one of your best birthdays ever.Love You.

    Reply

  9. PTC
    2 years ago

    Happy Birthday!
    PTC recently posted..No WIMS

    Reply

  10. Kristy Hans
    2 years ago

    Have a wonderful and awesome birthday. Wish you always healthy. Aging gracefully really happens fast so the best thing we must need to do is to enjoy our life and do the best of your life.
    Kristy Hans recently posted..Naturomax review

    Reply

  11. Laura
    2 years ago

    Natural physical grace isn’t something everyone is born with. Many of us tend to rush, slouch and move with less grace than we’d like.
    Laura recently posted..A horrible Easter at the London Dungeon

    Reply

  12. Melany Ross
    2 years ago

    I love this quote a lot “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” It speaks of what I am doing right now. There is a way I had always thought my life would be but as days go by things just change. Life seems to take a different turn each day and I am learning to accept and live with that. For sure it feels good to do something unexpected.
    Melany Ross recently posted..maxworkoutsreview.net

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