Lisa A. Kramer

Author, Speaker, Theater Artist, Creativity Facilitator

The Mind/Body Dichotomy

I suppose it happens to everyone. Inside we think of ourselves as an age that speaks to us (my internal age varies between 18 and around 25 or 26).

Sometimes I am still that person who just graduated high school, and believes in the possibility that all my dreams can come true. I am still the person who is a little shy and insecure and wants desperately to be connected with amazing people.

[caption id="attachment_6960" align="aligncenter" width="206"]My high school graduation picture. My high school graduation picture.[/caption]

Sometimes I am the person in her twenties whose gained a little more confidence and begun to see the world as  simultaneously huge and tiny. I still have big dreams, but I also recognize that dreams only come true with lots of hard work. I am determined to find and create a life for myself, without relying on anyone else and without limiting my possibilities.

[caption id="attachment_6961" align="aligncenter" width="198"]Twenty-something in Hawaii. Twenty-something in Hawaii.[/caption]

But then I look in the mirror or talk to someone who is living those times and the reality sets in. Or someone (who is not my daughter) calls me Mom (I hate that). While I still feel like those younger versions of myself, and I still carry them within me, the reality is very different. I am now a middle-aged woman, with a husband and a child, a lot of extra weight, and things to think about like cholesterol and blood pressure. I am now on the line when my dreams don't seem to count as much, and they seem even harder to achieve.

[caption id="attachment_6962" align="aligncenter" width="960"]Adventure on a night barge. Adventure on a night barge.[/caption]

I sometimes wonder what happened to those younger versions of myself. I sometimes feel as if they are so close I can touch them. I sometimes think I can rediscover them if only I could lose weight or eat better or exercise more.

But the truth is that my wrinkles have begun to settle in and my hair is shifting toward a blonde white. The truth is I have more chins than I ever imagined, and my story is now told in the smile and laugh lines on my face. The truth is that my body will never be as agile as it was once, nor as strong.

Snapshot_2013811 (4)

But all those truths don't matter.

I may not be able to party until all hours with the young dreamers that surround me, or work on little sleep while ignoring any aches and pains. I may not have the stamina for things I had when I was younger (although to be fair to myself I was never really an all night party person anyway). But, I can still think, dream and challenge myself. I can still set goals and make things happen, and I make fewer mistakes along the way. Life still has a way of surprising me, and I don't intend to stop embracing those surprises.

In a worlds (or a least a country) where youth is so often valued over maturity, I'm ready to say "screw that."

I've lived an interesting life, and I plan to continue to do so, taking all of my inner selves along for the journey.

Do you ever feel a conflict between your body and your mental age? Do you ever let it stop you? How has your life changed as you've matured?