Let me begin by clarifying that this blog is in no way about the famous American pop band of the same name. When I talk about the four seasons here I refer to the seasons of life, my life, and because I live in Canada where four seasons of weather occur, I draw on each as a metaphor of sorts.
In the spring of our lives, between birth and age 25 years, we are exploring. Everything is new and exciting, and we embrace each experience with wonder and awe. Just like the new spring blossoms, we are pure and unblemished and beautiful, and the future holds only promise and optimism because youth is beautiful. (I relate this to my childhood where I recall discovering games and school and friends. I played, I skipped, and I loved to sing. I was of average size with very straight blonde hair (it was natural ly blonde then) and I loved my family. My teen years were uneventful, unlike many. I did not experiment with drugs or alcohol, nor did I break curfews. In short I was a meek and mild young girl content to follow the rules. (my sister was a challenging teen so I guess I figured that was enough for my parents) Home was safe and secure and life was good)
In the summer of our lives, from 26 to 50 years, we experiment with the innocence of our spring. We are brave and independent, setting lofty goals with confidence because we can conquer anything. We succeed, sometimes we fail. We evaluate what we want out of life, set priorities then hone our skills to forge ahead on our chosen path. We are still somewhat ‘green’, like the summer leaves, in that we’ve physically peaked but there is still much room for trial and error and mental growth and maturity. We are confident, cocky even, because we think we know it all, and unlike the spring of our lives our appearance now reflects the wear and tear; no longer pure and unblemished but still beautiful because we are strong and dynamic. (Now this is the season of life I found most challenging. I chose my career path (actually my mother chose it for me – she was quite overbearing,,,,but I digress) Let’s say I ‘accepted’ my chosen career path. I found my partner in life, and I grew a spine. No longer meek and mild I started speaking up for myself,,,, maybe too much? (my husband would say I never shut up) Tired of straight hair I experimented with new looks, perming my hair until it frizzed like a giant brillo pad and restoring my ‘natural’ blonde hair colour. I worked hard and played harder and by the end of my summer my appearance clearly reflected my wear and tear. A little older, a few lines on my face and pounds on my middle, and not always as confident as my cocky exterior displayed, I strutted my stuff. Sometimes I had to face my own shortcomings and much as I initially resisted, by the late summer of my life I found it easier to come clean,,,,and life was good)
In the autumn of our lives, between 51 and 75, (that’s where I am now) we take stock of all we’ve learned. We reflect and sometimes regret the impetuousness of our youth. Most importantly we accept and forgive because by now the cockiness has left us and we now see ourselves more clearly, not always perfect, and honest enough to admit it. Like the autumn leaves we now bear the scars of lessons learned along the way in a colourful display that proudly declares that we’ve finally come in to our own and we’re ok with it. We now know what we want out of life and we boldly go for it but we tread lightly now because physically we are weakening. (I have found the fall of my life to be the most gratifying to date. I take pride in all I’ve accomplished and let go of regret. Instead of judging or criticizing others, I now laugh at their uniqueness, and you know, that’s very freeing. (Why didn’t I do this sooner?) I stopped stressing over what I haven’t done and celebrate what I have. I accepted, finally, that my hair is painfully straight and gave up trying to force it to curl (I think it’s because I was distracted by all the grey that was now peppering my ‘natural’ blonde) I let the dust in my house collect because I’d rather spend my time laughing in the company of others. And most importantly, I found my spiritual side. Life has a deeper meaning. Like the typical fall colours, I am now brave enough to sport flaming red lipstick and leopard print pants because they’re fun and what others think really doesn’t matter anymore – this is me, and life is not just good, it’s better)
In the winter of our lives, from ages 76 to 100, (should we live that long) we seek reconciliation. Life has given us many opportunities and we acknowledge how we managed them, honestly. We share our hard earned wisdom with those younger than us hoping they won’t make the same mistakes but knowing full well each has a path to walk, and many are laden with hurdles. We no longer regret, rather we span our seasons with gratitude accepting that which we acquired along the way, good or bad. And like the winter, so drab and colourless, we are wrinkled and tired, still beautiful but in a different way. No longer are we strong of body but our wisdom is now matured thanks to the experiences from the spring, summer and fall of our lives. We are, for all purposes, complete and perfect, and we finally see clearly our reason for being here. We find and reflect inner peace, taking our due position in our communities as respected elders. (too bad we had to wait so long, huh?) We have earned this. (frankly, I can hardly wait to reach the winter of my life cause when I do I’m not doing a damn thing! I’m gonna sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labour. I’ll still sport outrageous outfits (maybe more so?) I will speak my mind and let you work for me because I spent a life time working for you. In short, this wrinkled old lady is gonna ride what’s left of her roller coaster ride with gusto,,,,,just try to stop me! There may be snow on the rooftop but there will always be a fiery spirit in the hearth)
And just like the four seasons we have come full circle, and if we are fortunate enough to make it through all four with our noodles in tact we will have fulfilled our life’s purpose. We came in the spring and played. We grew and learned in the summer. We reconciled in the fall. And in the winter we accepted with gratitude all that we’ve experienced. Truth told, it goes by fast so don’t close your eyes for too long lest you miss an important season. Life is good…..so very good!