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Freedom: how does freedom feel as we age?

How does freedom feel?

The results of my prize draw are at the end of this post!

I have a clear memory from when I was five or six years old. I was galloping down the street pretending to be a horse. Only I wasn’t pretending: I could feel the wind in my mane, smell the sea air in my nostrils, hear my hooves clattering faster and faster. To anyone watching, I would have been a little girl with scabby knees, in pink-rimmed spectacles and a home-made frock, socks pooled around her ankles. But the essence of me at that moment was entirely equine, and it was perfect freedom.

I’ve had only glimpses of that freedom in the intervening years, but it’s beginning to come back to me (although in a less horsy way!).

What do you enjoy about growing older?

I asked you in my survey a couple of weeks ago “What one thing do you most enjoy about growing older?”

You answered in your droves. Short answers, long answers, simple, complex. And for the vast majority of you it boils down to freedom. Some of your words are dotted around this page.

What’s interesting is that in your answers to the question “What bothers you most about growing older” almost all of you mentioned concerns around health and mobility.

So it seems that freedom doesn’t live only in the body. It lives in the essence of who we really are, and our ability to get closer to that core. Perhaps aging is a wearing away of externals.

So what does freedom really mean to you, how does it feel, how does it change your behaviour? I’ll be away for the weekend, so talk amongst yourselves – I’m so looking forward to your ideas about this when I get back.

Main image above by Wolfgang Staudt

 

The winners!

And now: drum roll please… here, in no particular order, are the winners of my prize draw. I only wish I could give away something to all of you!

  • Sue Stevenson wins a print of Rima Staines’ painting Baba Yaga
  • Jude wins a copy of The Artist’s Rule by Christine Valters Paintner
  • Phil Ewing wins a copy of The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield
  • Lynne Scholefield wins a copy of Elderwoman by Marian Van Eyk McCain
  • Jane wins a copy of Lilypad List by Marian Van Eyk McCain
  • Sue Shoemaker wins a copy of Crones Don’t Whine by Jean Shinoda Bolen
  • And Elizabeth Rimmer, Tracy and Patricia T each win a coaching session with moi!

Those of you who’ve won physical items, please let me have your snail-mail addresses at tess dot marshall at gmail dot com. For the coaching sessions, I’ll be in touch by email soon to sort out some arrangements.

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17 Responses to How does freedom feel?
  1. Em
    October 5, 2012 | 8:10 am

    Congratulations to the prize winners!

    I recently became underemployed, then unemployed and found that I was ending up, not to put too fine a point on it, homeless. Or homeless-ish. I’m staying on a relative’s couch. And I should be able to get some work up here. (I had to move locations.) When I blogged about it, I said if Janis Joplin had it right and “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose” I was free as a bird.

    And I think she had it right, because this experience has caused me to take a hard look at what I was doing and I will be making a major and positive change. And for the most part, I’m pretty excited about it. When I’m not panicked. ;)
    Em recently posted..The Beauty of BaggageMy Profile

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      October 5, 2012 | 10:48 am

      Em, that’s an amazing realisation! Good luck with the changes you’re making. And I totally understand both the excited and panicked parts :)

    • Jane
      October 8, 2012 | 12:26 am

      Good luck with everything, Em! And I LOVE!!! “The Beauty of Baggage.”

  2. Betty
    October 7, 2012 | 10:30 pm

    Em, I empathize with you. One of our biggest fears is of losing everything, and for us older women, being bag ladies in our old age, not having time to recoup the losses. As a younger woman it WAS freeing to have this fear become an actuality–at least the suspense was over and whatever came next had to be better? It did become better for me years ago and I hope this is true for you as well. When I answered Tess’s questionnaire that freedom was the best part of growing older I was thinking the exact opposite–I feel grateful for being in a position to finally not have to subvert my own true self in order just to survive.

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      October 8, 2012 | 9:08 am

      Betty, you make me think of how many times I’ve been in working environments where I’ve felt it impossible to survive without damping my self down.

      • Em
        October 10, 2012 | 9:58 am

        Thank you, Betty. I think it will be a good thing, I really do. Thanks for the well wishes.

        And agreed about subverting the true self. I think that’s one of the wonderful things about age. We are at the point where we are who we are. Not that there’s not still growth happening, but it’s happening with self-knowledge.
        Em recently posted..List It Tuesday On Wednesday: I’m a sucker for …My Profile

  3. Jane
    October 8, 2012 | 12:11 am

    I went to a program this weekend where they did a Lectio Divina with Holly Near’s song “1000 Grandmothers.” My favorite lines were “An old woman holds a powerful force/When she no longer needs to please…” I still struggle with that myself, but those are moments of real freedom to me – when I’m acting with authenticity and without that nagging fear of “what will people think?”

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      October 8, 2012 | 9:25 am

      Jane, I can’t believe I’ve never heard that song by Holly Near. Just listened and love it. Thank you so much!
      And yes, I also still struggle, but authenticity brings such rich rewards of freedom.

      • Jane
        October 9, 2012 | 6:49 pm

        That was the first I’d heard it, too. And I loved that the program presenter prefaced it with the idea that we all have the capacity and are called to be “Grandmothers,” whether we’ve had children of our own or not.

        Most of the women there were Franciscan Sisters, probably in their 60s and 70s. Truly a powerful force!

  4. Alison Wiley
    October 10, 2012 | 1:12 pm

    I’m resonating to when you were a girl, and truly felt yourself as a galloping horse. There’s a mystical connection between horses and the deep feminine. It’s something about freedom, definitely. Horses are a motif in my novel, Revelle. No coincidences . . . :)

    And, warm wishes to Em. I was financially poor for much of my life. Things can change (they sure have for me). But we’re the same people, however our material situations rise and fall.
    Alison Wiley recently posted..How To Celebrate Columbus Day In Three MinutesMy Profile

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      October 10, 2012 | 6:19 pm

      Oh, that’s exciting about Revelle!

    • Em
      October 11, 2012 | 12:33 am

      Thanks Alison. Agreed. I have been really up and down the last few years and no matter the situation, I am still me. (I enjoyed seeing your post about hyperindividualism as well.)
      Em recently posted..List It Tuesday On Wednesday: I’m a sucker for …My Profile

  5. Sarah
    October 10, 2012 | 6:27 pm

    To live on your own terms is the only true freedom and aging sloughs the extraneous so easily, all of a sudden, truly, effortlessly you are who you are,

  6. Betty
    October 16, 2012 | 9:21 am

    One big freedom is being able to relax and enjoy yourself and to enjoy the company of others, flaws and all, without everyone having to be “perfect,” to be the same, or to agree on everything. Freedom to put aside judgments of what “should” be and to just enjoy the moment without an agenda. People want to be accepted and welcomed in for who they are. Isn’t that exactly what you crave? I know I have. Now we’re mature enough to not only seek it for ourselves but to extend it to others as well. What a gift! To see another person’s eyes light up just to be in your company–we can GIVE as well as receive that gift.

  7. Sue Shoemaker
    October 17, 2012 | 5:54 pm

    The book you sent for being a winner in your prize draw arrived! Thanks again, Tess, for your generosity and flexibility! I KNOW I will LOVE this book!