Grey hair? Check. Less energy? Check. Memory loss? Check. Hot flashes? Creaky knees? Boring Saturday nights? Damn it. Check, check, check.

Yes, I have all the signs of solid middle-age creeping into old age. But recently, I discovered yet another symptom of rounding the proverbial bend … a cluttered calendar.

I’m not talking about the marked -up paper one that runs my day-to-day life. I’m referring to an internal emotional calendar that is now salt-and-peppered with embedded emotional memory. 

Think about it. After decades of living, there are few days … and certainly, no months … where something significant has not occurred in your life.

When we are born, other than the mandatory cultural and religious dates, we have a blank slate with that now one important date – our birth day. Yee haw! Like a new coloring book waiting to be filled in, we start the process of living and coloring in those once blank spaces with an emotional overlay. Very soon, those dates are no longer meaningless. They fill with feelings associated with the day’s happening – albeit joy, pain or some variance of in-between emotion.

On this date, I graduated high school. Buried the family dog. Left for college. Had sex for the first time. Had my heart-broken. On this date, I got engaged. My parents got divorced. I got married the first time. My father died. On this date, I gave birth to my first child. Had a miscarriage. Learned of his infidelity. On this date, we traveled to Paris. Conceived our second child. Got mom’s cancer diagnosis. On this date, I got fired. Got divorced. I won the custody battle. I landed the big promotion. On this date, my ex was born. I moved west. The police knocked on the door…

… You get the idea.

No longer is life – and the passage of time as we mark it – emotionally clear space. Our previously white-spaced calendar is no longer waiting around with hope and a smile for what “will be.” The middle and later years bring with them colored-in feelings associated with days gone by.

Yes, we can live in the present and bring a new energy to our days. But, history stands meaningful and certainly undeniable. Our once blank-canvassed hearts are rich with an array of complicated stories and significant feeling.

So, I say, let’s stop fighting the system. Whatever the calendar’s date, every day we awaken is a gift. An opportunity to open the scrapbook of our soul and celebrate the whole freakin’ thing. All the good, all the not-so-good. All the celebrations, all the loss. All the triumph, all the mistakes. All that once was and all that will be – even if just for today.

Because I’m here … it’s all of me … my filled-in calendar as historical witness of my one brave adventure at human living, my small but oh-so-mattering life.