Growing older is about understanding what all the clichés mean.
Today’s cliché was handed to me by my friend and mentor Honey in a brief exchange over Facebook: The quality of your life has nothing to do with your circumstances.
This is a notion I’ve heard before and read before in countless literary and verbal incarnations. I’ve even practiced it to a certain extent. For the most part, however, I’ve devoted my time and energy to ensuring that my circumstances will conduce to a mostly pleasant quality of life. Why? Because while clichés are blindingly obvious in theory (the intellectual equivalent of pap), they’re frustratingly difficult in practice. (Here’s a classic example: If you really love someone, you’ll let them go. I rest my case.)
The thing is, one can only dodge the truth (or life’s lessons) so long. For me, I’ve wrung all the happiness and contentment that’s possible from focusing purely on re-arranging my circumstances. I’ve gone a long way with this strategy (a run that’s lasted a good thirty years) and I’ve finally exhausted its possibilities.
Which means that from this point onwards, it’s about finally turning inwards: about creating a state of mind (or a way of being) impervious and immune to what goes on outside.
As my other friend and mentor Aljor has told me: It’s simple, Eileen. It’s just not easy.