“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind
than to be hopelessly in love with spring” ~ George Santayana
At this time of the year in the Northern Hemisphere it is wonderful to see buds tentatively expose themselves to the elements, taking their first step in the journey to full bloom. It is also lovely for us, not only because it announces the arrival of spring, but because it reminds us what this time of year—spring in the Northern Hemisphere, autumn in the Southern Hemisphere—can mean to everyone.
We often hear about the “seasons of life,” like middle-age that is referred to as “autumn,” implying that spring is a distant memory, summer is long gone, and winter is just around the corner. Indeed, when applied to the human life cycle, the analogy of the seasons appears to imply a sense of inevitability and powerlessness over the age and eventual decay of our bodies, like the tiny buds that in their flowered state will fall into the Earth and then become part of it.
However, it appears that although our lives do follow a cycle, beginning with birth and ending with death, it would be untrue to assume that what happens in between is completely at the behest of nature. After all, we are God beings who co-create our reality moment to moment, so assuming that each stage of our lives blindly follows nature’s intrinsic rules is not only misleading but reduces our consciousness to nothing more than little buds.
I would argue that although we experience the seasons in our lives, we do so not as a linear sequence of events but rather as a mishmash of happenings derived from conscious choice. In which case the experiences associated with spring can occur at any age, like my neighbor who, at 62, learned how to drive following the death of her husband, or my own mother, who holds thrice-weekly dance classes at 75 years old.
Then there is my nine-year-old cousin, who enrolled in piano lessons alongside his grandmother. And let us not forget the artists and composers who created masterpieces in their 80’s, or the middle-aged women who, after their children leave home, start a whole new life with as much gusto and energy as though they were heading off to university, which some also do.
So when we look at those who started a new career, journey or relationship in later life, we see that their enjoyment is no less than if they were 30 years younger. I believe that this is because we can feel passion at any age. Enjoyment, pleasure and the thrill of achievement is not confined to youth, but can be experienced to our last breath. For this reason, there really is no age, season, or particular time for anything. There is only the space that is held by our conscious imagination that, depending on its openness to change, can create and recreate all manner of experiences for us to enjoy, to love, and to remind us that we are all seasons in every moment.
(Gemma Phelan lives in Ireland where she works as an editor. She is also the author of “A Different Understanding,” a book which explores alternative ways of looking at the world.)
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