When I’m 95 by Conlee Ricketts

 The following is a personal exercise I did during a 21 day course called Remember and Do What Matters offered by Artist, Author, and Actionista, Mary Anne Radmacher.  The exercise was for me to write a letter to myself now, from my 95 year old self.  Enjoy a private peek into my world a year ago.  I share my private letter here for two reasons—1:  because it scares me and 2:  because I would like you to ponder what you would tell yourself right now from your much older self.

My Dearest Me,Aunt Jo at 98
Remember when you decided to leave the math classroom at age 46 how amazed you were that half your life was spent teaching math? Twenty-three years teaching; you pondered, mathematically of course, that the only way you could ever accomplish the “half your life” thing again was to be doing whatever it was for 46 years.
I have news for you.  I am 95 now and you are a bit past being half my age.  I can easily say you have been a dynamic free spirit leaving light and inspiration wherever you go for over half your life now.  AND I would have to remind you that you were doing that long before you left teaching.  So here it comes—the tough love:
You worry way too much. Stop it! All those minutes, hours, days, and weeks you completely wasted away with your constant worry will never be able to be retrieved, so you need to stop. Now! You never once ended up living in a cardboard box or on the streets like you feared you would.  You have always done what needs to be done in any situation or crisis.  Now I know you sold everything you had a few years ago in order to keep a roof over your daughter’s head.  But let me ask you: What did all that worry get you?  You lost the house anyway. Worry never taught you anything about yourself.  Experience did.
In all your painful situations, the scary ones, the sad ones, the lingering ones, the abusive, and the hurtful ones, you always took the high road.  You kept your dignity, you treated others with kindness—even those that hurt you, and you always kept what mattered sacred.  You have protected your daughter, you kept her heroes alive, and you gave her permission to be exactly who she is.  Not to repeat myself, but stop worrying; she has never even once considered all those horrible things that you tell yourself she is probably thinking about you.  She loves you, and she always has by the way, even without your title or traditional job description.
You have a true gift for helping people find their own answers.  You shine a wonderful light into their fears and shame; spending time with you makes them leave that pain behind. You can see it evaporate. You’re able to expand their own view of their situation and help them bring about a better self.  You are a muse.   God I wish you would do that for yourself.  You are still so flipping stubborn!  I know you are obsessed with being a good role model for Skye, but why can’t you accept that being authentically who you are and loving yourself is the only kind of example she needs? 
It’s not Alice in Wonderland Conlee, you can’t expect one side of the mushroom to make you taller and the other smaller.  You have to do this yourself.  Stop worrying about paying the bills all the time.  You do what needs to be done.  You are an intelligent woman. Stop hiding and shrinking. 
What I need you to understand most is that if you continue to worry all the time, there will be no space left inside you to breathe in a new life.  I know how quiet and self-conscious you can be, easily embarrassed, ashamed, or fearful, BUT there comes an age (and you’re almost there) when you finally realize that you no longer give a sh** what other people think or say about you.  The sooner you can get there the better.  It really doesn’t matter.  Other people are starring in their own movies and they develop your character as they see fit.  It has zero to do with you.  The truth is that no one, not even you, knows exactly who you really are.  That’s between your Soul and Spirit, and that’s the point of the journey—being your honest, true self every day; please stop hiding.
I love you without condition,


If this exercise inspires you I would suggest learning more about Mary Anne Radmacher at www.maryanneradmacher.net and see her work at www.appliedinsight.net



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