The older I get the more obvious it becomes to me how much I've changed. Sometimes I wonder if those who've known me for a while can see it too.

I believe that we are different people at different stages of our lives. We carry around the same basic 'shell', that's true, but even that changes. I look at myself in the mirror and there is almost nothing recognizable left of that 20 or 30 year old young woman that I used to be. And on the inside, I have definitely become a very different person.

I remember what it felt like when I was that age; the things that I stressed out about, my hopes, dreams, plans, and fears - I can easily bring back those particular feelings. But I am so far removed from that young person that it feels like memories from someone else. Everything has changed. I've acquired some interesting characteristics.

I think I finally understand what wisdom means. I can actually see myself having some of it. I'm always surprised when I say something that has my experience of years behind it. Could this be wisdom speaking? Patience, something I used to think I would never have, has visited me at last; sometimes it leaves me, but it always comes back. I never knew patience as a younger person. How did I become someone who has the capacity to wait? And I no longer have to have it all, and right now; sometimes, I notice that I don't even want it.

My capacity for love, and the way I love, has changed. I was always one who enjoyed giving love. But before, I was more inclined to save that emotion for my own little world - those in my family, my friends and pets, etc. Now, I'm much more apt to feel love spontaneously. It sneaks up on me sometimes, and I get it mixed up with gratitude. I think of the people in my life and that feeling overtakes me; I encounter strangers and feel a universal kind of connectedness - love - for them. Where did that come from?

I used to wonder what I would be like as an older person. I was afraid to grow older. I'm happy to say that what I imagined has not come to pass. I'm actually rather pleasant, to my surprise. And I'm neither too thin nor too heavy. I wear what I want now, because I care a little less what others think. I'm far more confident than I ever imagined I could be (I think this is the result of just being able to stay alive this long - you're bound to develop some amount of personal ease if you keep at it long enough!). The anger and resentments that I used to feel are gone. Not even traces are left; in their place, there is joy, and a unique kind of pleasure waking up every day. I appreciate my life more.

I finally understand why people volunteer. I do it myself. I'm at that age, you know.

About the Author

Rita Ballard, GVA, C.Ht. is a virtual assistant and the owner of Healer's Helper, a virtual assistance business providing administrative support services to healthcare professionals. Rita has an 18-year history in the healthcare industry, has had an avid interest in holistic/alternative health for 25 years, and has been a licensed hypnotherapist since 1997. For more information, please visit email or call 877-716-4880.