— Andrea Gibson
I read this quote as a metaphor for my life, for many women’s lives I know. We begin so vibrant; fiery energy pouring forth from us like the eruptive forces of a volcano. We exude passion, ambition, and a desire to conquer the world.
We have a path in mind like hot lava pouring forth upon existing land, shaping it… adding ourselves. Similarly, we are asked by outside forces to slow down, to cool down, to slow our rolls. It’s all “too much.” Many of us listen. Many of us obey.
But here’s where the hope is. These early experiences, both positive and challenging, still serve as catalysts, igniting the fires of determination and resilience within us. Maybe they’ve been damped down. Maybe we’ve been looking like a dormant volcano and seemingly done with ambitions and goals but we’re not.
That intense heat and explosive energy of youth has given way to reflection and introspection. Like the fertile lands that emerge from volcanic ash, “midlife me” is primed to cultivate my innate gifts and skills. The challenges and triumphs I’ve encountered along my journey equip me with a unique perspective and a newfound sense of purpose. I’m ready to tap into my hidden potential and grow my own green land.
Just as it takes years for the volcanic soil to become rich and fertile, it has taken me time to reach this point. I must be kinder to myself about that. My inner critic often bemoans my wasted thirties and forties.
“You were so amazing in your twenties and then BLAH! And now look! We’re way over here where women get ignored for the most part!” she says. I imagine she’s pacing back and forth, earning the steps that my outer body is not quite as close to obtaining.
But I’m ready for now. I embrace the wisdom and deeper beauty that comes with maturity, and a chance to make a lasting impact on the world. To align more authentically with my true self. To explore new passions, embark on a more meaningful career, and contribute to causes I feel passionately about.
As I stand here in my 50s, I see how the journey to now allows women to nurture their inner landscape, giving their talents time to bloom. The analogy of volcanic fertility beautifully captures the notion that growth and transformation take time.
Did you burn out long ago or can you too recognize and embrace your “gray ash” a symbol of the culmination of life experiences and the emergence of new growth?