It’s our season. Embrace change and revel in the brilliance of your own true colors.
Ok, Midlife Horse friends, it looks like we’re FINALLY heading into fall, a time of change, reflection, and celebration of this time of harvest. And, appropriately enough, midlife presents us with the same metaphorical opportunities for reflection, celebration, appreciation, and relaxed enjoyment of our life’s time of harvest.
But don’t just sit on the porch and sniff the lovely Fall air (although that’s especially nice with a good glass of wine after a glorious ride in the now tolerable afternoon sunshine). It’s our time to get out and do all those things we’ve dreamed of during the heat of the summertime of our lives. It’s our opportunity to reveal — and revel in —the brilliance of our true colors.
For all its interpretations — and all the different meanings people have assigned to the Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg song first released by Cyndi Lauper in 1986, nothing applies better in my mind to this season of joyous and colorful transition than the lyrics of True Colors, first penned by Steinberg about his own mother, no doubt as she navigated a particularly difficult midlife change:
” You with the sad eyes, don’t be discouraged . . . oh I realize it’s hard to take courage . . . But I see your true colors shining through . . . so don’t be afraid to let them show your true colors true colors are beautiful like a rainbow . . .”
As we navigate this pivotal time of life, one thing is certain. Change is inevitable. Sometimes painful. And with constant change, the need for reinvention becomes continual. Each time her life changes course, it is the Smart Woman who becomes adept at changing with it. The more we embrace this reality and the skills and commitment we need to get good at navigating change, the easier this becomes.
That, friends, is one of the hidden gifts of all this reinventing ourselves we feel compelled to practice during this period of midlife introspection and reflection. And, like anything else, the more we practice it, the better we get at it, and the easier it becomes to face change with a different attitude than our mothers and grandmothers did. The more we accept that each new moment carries its own joy (sometimes well hidden under its pain), without the expectation that anything is permanent, the easier it will be to develop the full trust and confidence that when another moment of change comes, we’ll be able to adjust to its new reality (and the inevitable new set of gifts and challenges it may bring). This is our single best defense against getting stuck in fear and anger that can steal our joy.
I just attended a memorial service for an old friend whose wife of 61 years is one of my all time favorite people, with, I can assure you, the best can-do spirit of anyone I have ever known. She looked at me and said something I will never forget (as she often has throughout our long friendship) “It can’t be the same. Whatever I do now will be different. I’m just going to have to learn how to do everything differently.”
This is a woman who has adapted to a lot in her long life. She is the epitome of reinvention and making the most of what every moment brings. And at a time when many of us would be wringing our hands and bemoaning such a terrible change of circumstances, here she is, showing us a better way to meet change head on and “learn how to do everything differently” on our own terms.
The strength we’re building now with our midlife horses will equip us well for this task if we’ll use every season of change as opportunities to practice resilience and continual reinvention based on a solid understanding of who we are, what’s important to us and what fills us with joy and wonder. Our horses help us see our true colors — and the joy we find in them is the best kind of “be here now” training we can possibly have.
What’s your story of embracing change with authenticity? How have your true colors started shining through in a time of flux? Join us here, on Facebook, or Twitter , or email me and share what you know about this time of reinvention. If we understand this process better and reach out to help others do the same, we can all learn to “do everything differently” and embrace this spectacular season of change!