I'm at a point of great change in my life. Although a great heaviness, at times, fills every inch of me, there is also a fire that burns inside and lifts my soul.

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Age is funny. It's something we long for when we're young. We wish for it every day. First, it's 10, then 16, then 18, and then 21. Once we get there, we start wishing time would slow down.

I'm going to be 56 in November and I wonder how I got here so fast. I remember my fun high school and college days like it was yesterday. I enjoyed every single wild moment of my youth.

The best moments in my life were carrying my three children, loving them, taking care of them, playing with them, and watching them grow. As they have grown and started their own lives, there are times my heart aches to have those precious moments back.

I see my life flashing before me and the days of my future dwindling. I wonder if I made the right choices. Did I live to my full potential? Did I let those around me, and myself down? Did I work too much? Did I give enough of myself to the ones I love? Was I selfish? Or, not selfish enough?

Did I waste time focusing on the wrong things?

While all of those things are going through in my head, I also feel a sense of great strength and peace. More than I've ever felt before. It's a take what is mine mindset with a fierce fire of independence burning within.

Maybe, I feel I have nothing to lose. Maybe, I've finally had it with not living life on my terms.

For the first time in almost forty years, I see the world differently. I see myself differently. I know who I am and I'm confident in what I'm able to do.

Yes, I fear the unknown of what lies ahead of me, but I know that whatever happens, it will be fantastic.

I read this poem on Facebook. It was posted by the author, Donna Ashworth. It's from a book of poems she wrote titled,  I Wish I Knew: Poems to Soothe Your Soul & Strengthen Your Spirit

After reading it, I was changed even more. Her words hit me deep in my aging soul. The poem made me cry tears of sadness for what is gone, but more importantly tears of joy realizing that, as time goes by, I only get better.


As time goes by,
You will loosen your grip on that rock,
The one you always thought was home,
And you will realize that home is not a place,
It’s a state of mind.
Let it go.
As time goes by,
You will learn to see yourself more clearly,
The girl who was always too much of one thing,
And too little of another was actually
Everything she needed to be.
Let her out.
As time goes by,
You will let the simple things become the big,
And you will allow the big things to become the simple,
And that readjustment will be,
The day you really start to live,
Let it be.
As time goes by,
You will be forced to say goodbye many times,
And your soft little heart will shatter but,
It will still beat and that will bring you,
All the purpose you need.
Let it beat.
As time goes by,
You will stop choosing wealth over peace,
You will stop choosing money over time,
And you will see that the treasures you need,
Are in the smiles and the laughter.
Let them in.
As time goes by,
The moments you remember when your life flashes past,
Are never the awful memories my friend, it’s the joy,
The summer nights, the lazy days with loved ones,
The midnight chats and the morning hugs,

Let them happen.

Let them all happen.

Don't fear the years, let the years, all the years be fantastic.

You can buy the book of poems, HERE.

READ ON: See the States Where People Live the Longest

Stacker used data from the 2020 County Health Rankings to rank every state's average life expectancy from lowest to highest. The 2020 County Health Rankings values were calculated using mortality counts from the 2016-2018 National Center for Health Statistics. The U.S. Census 2019 American Community Survey and America's Health Rankings Senior Report 2019 data were also used to provide demographics on the senior population of each state and the state's rank on senior health care, respectively.

Read on to learn the average life expectancy in each state.

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