In less than a month I will celebrate my next birthday, which puts me one step closer to 50. In some ways, I feel much younger. I still sometimes like to think I look young and act young. When I'm feeling good about myself, I can out drink a 21 year old and out work a seasoned landscaper. But sometimes... too often lately, it seems... reality forces its way through my delusions and the inevitable limitations that come with age creep up to remind me that I'm speeding toward 50.
I remember when I was in my 20's. I was so foolish then. I look back on my younger self and shake my head and thank God that it was so long ago and anyone that knew me then is long gone from my life. But I suppose that's how it is for us all. As the saying goes, youth is wasted on the young. It's so very true. As a young man, I was obsessed with both spirituality and magic. I had a desperate need to find God in my life and at the same time I just knew that I was meant to use magic in some way, shape, or form. It was a frustrating time because I was learning about alternative religions, and found myself as a member of a witchcraft organization with initiations and lesson plans and whatever else. I worked my way through the lessons and up the initiatory path until I reached my Third Degree. What a success! But all along I knew this was not the path I was meant to follow. I learned a lot, much of which I still use to this day. But my upbringing and my ancestry were calling me home, back to the church, and I answered that call.
As I grow older, in addition to the increased aches and pains and the frightening twinges in my lower back every time I try to do manual labor, I realize that the young foolish me was the necessary first step to becoming who and what I am today. Aging brings wisdom. Or at least, its supposed to. I feel I've gained much wisdom over the years and have very in-depth insight into my own past behaviors and how they've helped mold me into the present day version of myself.
Every choice I've ever made in life has directed and re-directed me along the path leading to RIGHT NOW. And that's amazing. Getting older has given me more confidence in my powwowing and more respect from those who come to me for help. I will admit, I look much older than my years. Many people say I look younger, and maybe on good days I do, but I'm ok with getting older. I've never been afraid of the aging process. It has its own magic and its own set of Rites of Passage. I look forward to the next decade, when I turn 50, to see where it leads. I hope I become like my grandfather, God rest his soul. He was a kind man, a no-nonsense sort of guy. He worked hard right to the very end. His heart failed him at the age of 78 while he was mowing grass. That will be me. I hope. Working hard to the very last minute.
If my 20's were my foolish years, my 30's were the decade for figuring out who and what I was. And now, halfway through my 40's, I'm 100% confident in my self, my spiritual path, my home and family life, and my career. As a Powwow, aging has helped me feel more in tune with the work I do and more understanding of the ailments that people bring to me to help them with.
Let me also share a secret about aging that I didn't know until it happened to me. We get closer to our ancestors as we age. We reach a point in life, and maybe it's our halfway life point, I don't know, but we reach a point where we feel our past fading away and our future, which will inevitably lead us into the afterlife, is easier to feel. I feel the presence of those who have passed on, such as my father and my grandparents. I sometimes feel my Great Aunt Sarah when I'm powwowing, even though she wasn't a powwow, but I still feel like she is there. My magical work has become something that I connect with my family for some reason, even though I may very well be the first and only powwower in my entire family tree. But the older I get, the stronger I feel my connection to the deceased. And it makes me less afraid of dying and more confident with the work I'm doing.
My eyesight is getting a little weaker, even though I'm technically only middle-aged. My back hurts. My hearing sucks. But I'm still going strong. Only now I'm becoming more and more armed with wisdom.
Don't be afraid of getting older. Be afraid of not gaining wisdom from the experience.
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