For my fortieth birthday my colleagues at work gave me a party with black balloons and a wheelchair. I’m normally a person with a sense of humor, but I had watched this parade with colleagues before me. I work with mostly women. We have a habit of telling each other stories of how our time is past as we age. The best years behind us. We’re used up and lost our sex appeal. Men don’t do this to us and they don’t do it to each other. We do it to ourselves. I smiled and thanked everyone, but I knew in that moment, that I would live differently. That I would not see aging as a cross to bear, but an immense opportunity.
I look at this leaf dead, fragile, used up and am filled with its beauty and grace. Even dead, passed its season and it’s still showing the world what it can do. What it has to give. Aging isn’t about years, it’s about perspective. It’s seeing beauty where no one else would think to look. That isn’t weakness, that’s power. In that power is the possibility to transform. To embrace death when it comes and know you are about to pull out your best work yet.