There are stereotypes for us as we age.

There’s the old guy with his pants up to his armpits who’s shouting “get off my lawn.” Okay he spends hours on his lawn.

There’s the grouchy person who says, “you don’t know how easy you have it…” – you know, the walking to school barefoot in the snow uphill both ways kinda stuff. Just because I had it hard doesn’t mean you should, too. We don’t need to compare our hardships or despair.

There’s the looking back with nostalgia about how great things were because we could play on the streets without our parents having to supervise us. (Meanwhile, my mom was making half-wages and hoping my dad didn’t come home drunk and hit her, ignorance about AIDs was rampant, and trickle-down economics was getting a running start.)

There ‘s the lonely woman who’s entire life is crocheting hats for her cats. (That might be me in a couple of years.)

There are tons more. There are little slivers of truth in each of them, I know.

But I don’t choose any of them as my role model for the coming stages of my life. I don’t want to bitch about aging. It’s a privilege. And to me, it comes with responsibilities.

My job is to make sure that there is hope for the generations that follow mine. It’s a very difficult time in the world right now. Anxiety, fear and despair are the siren song of the times, pumped out into the atmosphere from so many speakers.

My choice is to make sure that I pass on my wisdom gently and with love. My job is to make sure that there are other songs to be heard, other choices, balance.

When people younger than me are having a dark night of the soul, my job is to make sure that there is a candle shining in the window so that they can navigate.  Because I’ve lived through some very difficult and dark times, and I’ve come through with my heart and hope intact, it’s my job to keep that flame alive.

When it’s dark and you don’t have any hope, escape seems like the only real option. Escape comes in many forms: denial, materialism, selfishness, revenge, isolation, drugs, alcohol and even suicide.

When it seems like the whole world is falling apart, there is an enormous need for visible hope in the face of and in spite of all that is going wrong. It’s not a trivial thing planting those seeds of hope, bringing options, alternatives, choices and balance to light. You don’t fight darkness with more darkness. In fact you can’t “fight” darkness at all.

You can only turn on a light.

In the meantime, remember these things: You are loved. We are all loved. Let’s all be kind. And in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

Maggie

*****

Are you interested in being the leader you are meant to be? Send me an email and we can set up a time to talk: maggie@maggiehuffman.com

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