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