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Exclamation Marks!

I remember many long ago conversations with my dear Aunt Agnes (I've written several times about her on this blog, and if you click on her name it will link to one of the stories.) She would often laugh at how old she "suddenly" found herself (she was 50 years older than me,) and yet how inside she felt just like the young girl she once had been. On her apartment wall hung a black and white photograph of a pretty young girl in a long skirt and starched white blouse, hair tied back in a large black bow. The twinkle in her eye had not changed a bit in the many decades since the photograph was taken.

Now that I'm in my sixties I so relate. There are parts of my body that just aren't what they used to be, but my heart and spirit don't feel old.

One day last fall I was driving somewhere when I noticed my hands on the steering wheel. I work my poor hands hard and they are usually sorely neglected in the manicure department, but it was the brown "age spots" that caught my attention.

Right then and there I decided. I'm not going to call them 'age spots," I hate the sound of it. Nope--I had a flash of inspiration! I decided to reframe my view of the spots; they would each represent a hard won life lesson learned--a kind of badge of honour instead of something to feel ashamed of.

Later I was telling some friends about my "epiphany" and said that I was trying to think of a good name for the spots that related to this idea. "Bullet points!" said one  friend--a clever idea, I thought.

But I think I'm going to call them "Exclamation Marks" because I am rather addicted to their overuse, and it kind of fits, because when you learn a life lesson, you feel like exclaiming something like, "Eureka!"

What are my life lessons? Well, that's a whole other blog post, which would require some thinking time---I promise I will write about them soon. But meanwhile, I'd love to read yours, in the comment section.


Anonymous said…
If I was to list my "life lessons" I would take over your blog! So many lessons learned - and still being learned. I think the secret is not so much the amount of lessons you have learned, but that you are open to learning lessons. Look forward to hearing your lessons!
Marilyn Yocum said…
Hahahaha! Perfect timing. I was just counting up my "exclamation points." They don't really make me despair, but I do recall my grandmothers talking about them. From now on, I'll be remembering this post and have a sense of pride about them.

I've been naming my wrinkles for a long time, attributing various ones to situations I came through or people in my life. It's worked out well that I know a lot of people and haven't yet run out of names. :-)
Belinda Burston said…
Anon, I know, I too, will never stop learning. I completely agree with you that the important thin is being in that state of openness to learning. My lessons will be forthcoming. Still thinking! :)
Belinda Burston said…
Hey, Marilyn--yes, let's wear them with pride! :) I LAUGHED about you naming your wrinkles. Oh, how funny. I wonder if the source of the wrinkle has any idea when they look at your dear face that they "own" a piece of it. :)Ha ha!
Susan said…
Life lessons (I'm afraid you're going to get them in dribs and drabs as something or other brings them to mind).

"Feelings are neither right or wrong - they just are." Feelings are not something to be afraid of - or to be judged, criticised, or dismissed. They may be a little messy at times, but should always be validated. Invariably they present opportunity to build even stronger connections and lasting relationships.
Belinda Burston said…
Thank you Susan. I loved your first life lesson.

Yesterday I began a brainstormed list and that one was not on it. I hope people read the comments and catch it because it is so important.

And how often we are frightened of our own feelings or those of others. I agree with you.

In regards to my own, I have learned not to repress them but to attend to them with curiosity, i.e. to notice the feeling, accept it and to wonder why I'm having it. I find that so much better than what I used to do--repress them or "ridden the crest" of the feeling, somewhat at their direction. :)

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