At a certain point, life becomes less about who you're becoming
and more about who you've become. What you used to think
of as the future has become the present, and you can't help but
wonder if your life wouldn't be better if you'd just lived it
more fully in the past. But how could you have? You
were too busy thinking about the future!
Once you're past a certain age, you can hardly believe you
wasted even one minute of your youth not enjoying it. And
the last thing you want to do now is steal any more life from
yourself by failing to be deeply in it while it's
happening. You finally get it--not just theoretically, but
viscerally--that this moment is all you have.
You don't close your eyes anymore and wonder who you might
be in 20 years; if you're smart, you study the tape of your
current existence to monitor how you're doing now. You see
the present as an ongoing act of creation. You look more
closely at your thoughts, behavior, and interaction with
others. You understand that if you're coming at life from
fear and separation, you have no reason to expect anything but
fear and separation back. You seek to increase your
strengths and decrease your weaknesses. You look at your
wounds and ask God to heal them.
You ask forgiveness for
the things you're ashamed of.
You no longer seek your
satisfaction in things outside yourself, completion in other
people, or peace of mind in either the past or future. You
are who you are, not who you might one day be. Your
life is what it is, not what it might someday be.
Focusing on who you are and what your life is right now, you
come to the ironic and almost amusing realization that, yes, the
fun is in the journey itself.
One of my
biggest regrets is missing the Christmas pageant at my daughter's
preschool when she was three years old. On the one hand,
someone working for me didn't bother to tell me about it; on the
other, I'd obviously given off the vibe that I wouldn't care or
didn't have time to go. And now sometimes I think to myself
what I wouldn't give to see that pageant now. I have a
memory missing, and it feels like a hole where a smile should be.
I was ashamed to admit it, when finally I did, that I'd become a
bit like my father, who was so concerned about his career in his
40s and 50s that his emotional availability to his children was
relegated to only one day of the week. On Sundays, I had
him; every other day, I longed for him. Years later, when
his first granddaughter came along, he'd aged to that more mellow
place where being present to a child seemed at last more
satisfying than being present to his work.
I used to feel jealous of the little girls whom he grandfathered
with so much care and attention. I knew that if he had
fathered me the way he grandfathered them, I would have become a
different woman. How horrified I was years later to hear my
five-year-old daughter say these pitiful words: "I miss
my mommy even when she's here."
Seeing places where we have been unconscious before, we have a
desire to do it all again--but right this time! And
in some cases we can. Many people atone for not having been
better parents by being much better grandparents. And that's
often how their children forgive them. But some situations
aren't so amenable to redoing, and some years can't so easily be
made up. That's why it's so important to appreciate that the
best time to be your best is in the present moment. You'll
never have a better chance.
purpose of this book by best-selling author and lecturer
Marianne Williamson is to psychologically and spiritually
reframe the midlife transition so that it leads to a
wonderful sense of joy and awakening. In our
ability to rethink our lives lies our greatest power to
change them. When we were young, we had energy
but we were clueless about what to do with it.
Today, we have less energy, perhaps, but we have far more
understanding of what each breath of life is for.
And now at last, we have a destiny to fulfill—not a
destiny of a life that’s simply over, but rather a
destiny of a life that is finally truly lived.