Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Benefits of Aging -- Gracefully

I've been playing around with feng shui a little as I work on creating a serene and inviting office. What I really want is a serene and inviting home, not a house filled with chaos. It's a little difficult to do serene with two huge lab mix dogs bounding around, but I'm doing my best. (Have I mentioned that my daughter brought her dog when she moved in?) I think I've managed to get the hang of the most elementary feng shui principles. I've figured out, I think, which section of my house is associated with what, and I think I've managed a rudimentary understanding of the connection colors and different elements, like fire, water, wood and water, have with the bagua. Kind of. This is definitely something that could take a whole lot more study than I have time to devote to it. On the other hand, I finally have time in my life to devote to studying things simply because I want to know more about them -- like feng shui. When my kids were younger and at home all the time, undertaking a study of feng shui, even a minor study, would have been impossible. I still remember the soul-searching I had to do just to convince myself I could take time away from the kids to write. I guess it's natural. At least, it seems to be something women do on a regular basis. Between work and kids and the house and a husband (if you've got one) and parents and family obligations, and maybe a church thing or two, finding time to take a bath seems like a minor miracle. Finding quiet time to study something just for fun???? Forget it! The real tragedy is that when our kids start getting older and gaining independence, when we find ourselves rattling round the house with time we don't know how to fill, most of us have forgotten what once interested us in the first place. A couple of years ago, when I was going through a particularly difficult time in my life, someone (actually several someones) advised me to do something nice for myself every day. Trouble was, I had no idea what I might enjoy. On the plus side, if you're persistent enough and determined enough, eventually you do begin to remember what you used to find interesting. And you begin to figure out what you don't find interesting, too. About this time, you start realizing how many years you've spent pretending to be interested in things you couldn't care any less about. You also start losing interest in maintaining the pretense, which is why, by the time we're old, people think women are cranky. We're not actually cranky, we've just stopped pretending to be so sweet all the time. Pleasing others isn't nearly as attractive to me at this age as it was when I was 20. So other people may like me less, but I like myself better. In my opinion, that's not such a bad trade!

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