Nature has the best way of putting things into perspective.
On my birthday a short while ago I found myself standing on top of Table Mountain in Cape Town, pondering the concept of age. Our modern society seems to have a serious aversion to aging and aging gracefully typically means trying not to age at all.
People kept asking me how I felt about turning 30. “Are you worried that you’re not married by now Amy?” “You know, it’s not leaving you that much time for kids”. I even had the words “freezing” and “eggs” tossed in my direction. But standing on that mountain I started to laugh because the very rock I was standing on was 600 million years old.
Cape Granite is the second oldest on the planet. The mountain’s story actually began another 200 million years before that when the sandstone started to form underwater. It is six times older than the Himalayas. What I love is that it also hasn’t always looked the way it does now. In fact, it took it’s revered shape from the earth’s magma rising below it and the ocean hammering against it. It’s infamous flat top was created during an ice age where sheets of ice flattened layers of sandstone. The vegetation tells stories of raging fires and of greener, kinder years. Quirkily- shaped rocks and ravines show millennia of meeting the elements. The current beauty we marvel at now is not in spite of but rather because of its age and the life it has lived.
Each little scar and modification tell a story.
We can make aging out to mean whatever we want but the mountain reminded me that it can come with the qualities of wisdom, patience, strength and a face that tells many stories if we choose it. So when people ask if I’m excited about turning another year older, the answer is hell yes! Thank goodness I had a mountain 20 million times my age to remind me.
In the words of Clarissa Pinkola Estes I hope that regardless of your age you will “go out and let stories happen to you, and that you will work them, water them with your tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom.” From the beginning of your life, right to the very end…