Doro and Tricia Koch
This had its own kind of wisdom, but it’s not as empowering as choosing what you do want and celebrating the wisdom your years have granted you. We don’t have to defy the odds about aging to embrace aging healthily. There are things we can do now that we could not pursue when we were still raising children or making our mark in our careers. The choices we can make now are wide and varied. We can put our wellness first and find our greatest vitality.
In the musical Wicked, the main character, Elphaba decides to push off limitations by refusing to operate from a paradigm of lack, of restriction. She wants to wake up and listen to her inner wisdom, which will take her to great heights.
There was a time when we wanted to push against expectations from a place of negativity. It was about “not” being old, or not being done. We wanted to defy the odds, to prove something was not impossible or that we hadn’t lost something special.
Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by the rules
Of someone else’s game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes and leap!
It’s time to try defying gravity
I think I’ll try defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down
From “Defying Gravity” in the musical Wicked
The song swells to a crescendo. The character flies for the first time, airborne above the audience. The spectators know she’s held aloft by wires, but they are rooting for her and inspired by her, nonetheless.
What if you approached your life every day this way? What if you chose to be as awake as possible each time you greeted the sun? What if you took each morning as an opportunity to shirk off the “shoulds” and started sitting quietly to listen to your inner voice tell you what it most truly desires?
And then what if you let that desire guide you?
There may be some layers of fiction to wade through in order to take this leap. We’ve all made up stories about our past. We may believe that other people or difficulties have held us back. While there are certainly circumstances that pose challenges, it’s our attitude that will determine what we learn from them—or not—and how we will grow—or be stunted.
In the song, Elphaba says “you” can’t pull me down, but the change in her is really about her. She is the one deciding not to limit herself to what others expect or want. She is the one who is no longer going to hold herself down.
How can you defy gravity? What weight can you release to let yourself soar? What new stories can you tell that will shift your perspective away from limits toward possibility and joy?