Aging – Who Me?

My 68-year-old client, Miranda, was profoundly impacted by the results of her cataract surgery. Without the need for glasses, Miranda was confronted by the fact that she could no longer hide that she is aging.


For decades, Miranda’s eyeglasses were a fashion statement. She has all sorts of shapes and colors. She loved the attention she received because of her personal style in eyewear!  Until her cataract surgery she hadn’t realized the degree to which she was hiding behind her glasses. Without them she felt vulnerable, ashamed, old and on the decline into decrepitude. Holy Cow!!


On our zoom call, following the cataract surgery, I acknowledged in full amazement how beautiful Miranda is without her glasses. To me she looked 20 years younger. I didn’t know the degree to which having no glasses to hide behind was so threatening to Miranda’s sense of safety and identity. It all spilled out over the next hour.


When the Student is Ready the Teacher Appears

None of us know when, through just ordinary everyday-ish circumstances, we will be thrown into our next growth opportunity. Who knew that a common procedure to remove cataracts would throw someone into a crisis of being? Growth opportunities are everywhere, always. When we are ready—here they come!


I laugh as I write this, because as long as we are alive, we are ongoingly met with the day as it unfolds. And most of us try to keep unwanted emotional discomfort at bay. Emotional discomfort usually signifies a learning opportunity of some sort. As hard as we try, we can’t keep them from happening and we can’t avoid them from showing up on their own timing. 


I Don’t Know How to Do Me!

I believe that most people say to themselves, “Just let me do me the way I know how to do me. I may be avoiding and ignoring life as it is so I can remain in my safe little bubble, but what’s wrong with that? It’s better than having to acknowledge that I don’t really know how to do me, as me.” 


The foundational truth for most of us is that we don’t know how to do or be. The underlying truth for each of us is “I don’t know how to do me. So, I watch to see how other people are doing their life and I do that! I hear it all the time—usually not in those words.


Like so many of us, Miranda has been living in denial that she’s aging. She doesn’t know how to be with herself in this truth. As is true for all of us, she’s seeing her wrinkles and bags just keep on keepin’ on! “I don’t know how to be with this insanity. Tell me what to do, Rosie!!!”


We Are All on the Spectrum

I believe that each of us have come here to inevitably move ourselves along the spectrum from self-hate to self-appreciation. Perhaps some of us can actually get close to self-love. Aging can trigger feelings of powerlessness, hopelessness and helplessness. And depending on how any of us have been entrained, we can experience self-hate. We hate ourselves when we have no way of controlling and managing the truths that unfold as we age. Few of us are trained to gracefully allow and accept all the aspects of being that come with aging.


I wrote a book, created a podcast and ran a group all titled: Aging Like a Guru—Who Me? I was in my sixties then. And, now that I’m in my seventies, I could write a whole new volume of Aging Like a Guru. Much like Miranda’s learning opportunity through cataract surgery, I have growth opportunities pop up daily. I thought, especially because I wrote a book on aging, that I’d pretty much figured it out. HELL NO! I’m learning the truth everyday. I don’t know how to do me, here, now, in this moment! JEESH!


Because of health issues, all the ways I use to hide from what I’ve been avoiding, well, they just make things worse. So, what’s there to do?


The Big Fat Be-With

It’s really uncomfortable sitting in the big fat be-with of not knowing how to do me. But it’s the only way I know of that allows me to experience who I really am in my current circumstance. Only by experiencing myself as I am can I know how to do what’s mine to do.


More and more, Miranda realizes this too. She hates it. A lot!!! However, she realizes that if she wants a sense of freedom to be who she really is, and experience life without masking her fears, she’s just going to have to allow herself to experience the truth of who she is with wrinkles and sags, and all the truth that aging brings her way.


Truth is, I don’t know how to do me. So, each day, I have to begin again, over and over and over. I think it’s similar to the Buddhist practice of Beginners’ Mind. You are here. You are here. You are here! “Who me? I don’t know how to be here.”


Over time, Miranda is realizing that as uncomfortable as it is to allow herself to experience the truth of who she is and what is true, she is awakening to how shut down she has been to who she really is. She sees how, in truth, she rarely allows herself to fully be her own authentic self. And, she is cultivating more freedom to be more playful and spontaneous—sure signs of her delighting in her own being. YAHOO!



Miranda is a real person. I’ve changed her name, as I do with any sharing I do of another person’s life. For me, Miranda is a brilliant example of how so many of us live our lives. How we shut down our authentic self and cloister ourselves in a safe bubble—not necessarily a bubble of thriving, healthy, creativity, but a bubble of safety. For most of us, this is as good as it will get! We are not ready for anything more! 


So, thank you Miranda for allowing me to share your personal challenges. I truly believe that there are so many of us facing similar growth opportunities along with you!

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