There is truth in growing wiser as we get older. However, the truth I have uncovered in my 70th year should perhaps not have taken so long to discover. Here it is: I cannot do it all. And alongside that starker-than-ever truth is this one: Nor should I have to at this point.
Ever since I can remember I have taken huge pride in being a strong and independent woman. Being successful in the mostly-male world of the 1970s advertising scene in New York City made that a necessity. Going through a divorce in my late 20s and having to restructure my life in that same dynamic city also tested my resolve.
There followed a relatively peaceful time in a wonderful supportive relationship and marriage. That did produce two amazing children. The crazy idea we dreamed of and initiated to move across the world to Kauai with a newborn and a toddler surely took stamina. Then the wild gargantuan project of taking four wide open acres and, while living in a barn we built while planting the land, building a home and creating businesses. And, in the midst of that, having a third baby.
I was young and vital and strong. I could take on anything. And I was a supreme giver — mostly to my children. But, eventually to their small sweet Waldorf elementary school and the community. Taking care of myself barely came to my mind. I ate well, exercise consisted of life and I was in a loving relationship. I could keep on giving and giving, working and working. And I did.
Fast forward 20 years to a flat-lined marriage and subsequent divorce. To say it was emotionally draining and financially difficult would be a mammoth understatement. But, I knew in my heart that I had to dig deep and find a way to preserve the intention behind the founding of the farm and keep this home for myself and my children, then pre-teens and teens. And to keep the businesses thriving and providing for the four of us. I was strong and independent still.
Here we are, another 20 years later, and it has somehow, magically, with some grace from the kind universe and some outrageous hard and often exhausting, emotionally and physically, work on my part, continued to do so.
While I remain vital and strong, like that younger woman whose sometimes ragged, but always blessed, path I outlined above, I am 70. I cannot do it all. I am learning to ask for help. I am attempting to create a life with time to just be. Asking for this doesn’t diminish my strength and independence. I am still that strong and independent women, just a tad more tired and in need of a tad more tenderness. That is the lesson in this for me. And I’m attempting to integrate it now. Wish me well.