Wednesday, 5 February 2014

A woman of substance

On balance I like getting old. It's something to do with the way that when you're young, you're an almost empty vessel holding nothing but potential and wonder. That's an amazing way to be and feel. Optimism is your default position and the world is your hamster. Life is all on the outside of you, waiting for you. That's seductive and positive and naturally we are drawn to it.

But the older you get, the more life has moved inside. You assimilate it, become it, embody it. It's more than just experience, it has actual substance. I know I feel more substantial - and not in a 'can't get into my old jeans' way. It's to do with gravitas and gravity and all that stuff. You become more solid.

Just by living it seems, we manifest our selves. How wonderful is that? We create ourselves by taking in life and sculpting it.

Yesterday, coming from a day spent with dear friends, meeting new people and then returning home to my beloved family, I also thought about how much of what we are, what we build into ourselves, is connection and the love that brings. The more years you are here, the more connections you make. The more connections you make, the more love you stand to have in your life and once it's in your life you merge with it and make it part of your bones and your soul.

At 50, I really feel that now. As a young woman I had little experience of love and nurturing that wasn't Labrador-shaped, and I believe I inherited an inability to be comfortable around human affection and empathy that has blighted quite a few of my family. My mantra in my teens and twenties was,'I don't know how to do life'. But I learnt. And I practised. And I screwed up royally. But I was making connections and I got lucky. Eventually my practising paid off and I got actually quite good at 'doing life'. I drew to myself souls - in human and non-human bodies - made of such love that nowadays I am just soaked in it.

I am heavy and full in the way of the West, the autumn and the harvesting time, and the days of appreciation for what we have been given as the fruit of our labour. And as I sit in the morning, with the simple things - a notebook, a candle, tea and two snoring dogs (very simple) - and think about what I have to be grateful for I have to say, I'm grateful for getting older.

Happy birthday to one of my very favourite connections ever, Susannah. Love you. xxx



  1. Getting older is the best gift one gets. Many are denied the privilege. I appreciate that 40 that now graces me because I know more, have experienced more, have healed, bounced back, enjoyed and laughed until I cried. I have lost friendships and formed new ones, ones I don't cling onto quite so tightly. I let it all be more, because I am 40. I am looking forward to 50 and to 60 and however

  2. I don't think I can accurately express in words my response to your post. You have literally taken my breath away. The knowledge, wisdom, and truth that you have just shared makes me feel inside the same way I felt when I heard the loudest, most beautiful cacophony of bells chiming out in London. Gorgeous. Got me right in the gut! Really spoke to me. Thank you for sharing.

  3. You get better and better with every day Mel : ) x

  4. Thank you Susan so very much for your kind words. I'm glad that this connection was made! I loved your post too. I especially liked that you said listening to other people talk about their lives has become more interesting than talking about your own. Yes! So much yes! And Kiki Smith? She just knows : ) x