What I’m kissing good-bye…

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I heard an interview today with the chef Jacques Pepin. He was talking about his life during and just after the end of World War II, in particular how little food they had. Even after the war, every time there was a piece of bread that had become too old and stale to find a use for in the kitchen, his father would kiss it in gratitude – before throwing it out to the chickens.  I love the idea of the final kiss of gratitude as you let something precious go.

I work quite a bit with elders, I find that the happiest ones are those that don’t cling and grasp to the things in life that they have to move beyond.  The most content are those that let things go with gratitude.  The ones who are able to release the things that they can’t do any more – with a kiss.

Several months ago I started growing out a bit of my natural hair color.  I’ve been going gray since my thirties and, frankly, I was just curious to see what is under the hair dye.  It turns out I am beyond just a few gray hairs and well on my way to the full, silver waves of my Tias (my aunts for the non-Spanglish speakers).  I’m not quite ready to go full Bea Arthur, but I’m close.  I’m getting ready to kiss being a brunette good-bye.

Maybe it’s because I was called an “old soul” as a kid, maybe it’s because I don’t yet have achy joints or arthritic fingers, but I’m not holding tight to my youth.  I may not be real excited about the wrinkles and random hairs but I am grateful for the wisdom I’ve earned and the experiences I’ve had that have brought me to this place where I am today.  I have learned the hard way that I look terrible in culottes, drinking too much beer gives me gas and that boys who are always up for adventure are often just unemployed.

As I find myself hurtling gray-head first in to middle age, I want to notice what is ready to be lost. I want to savor the last years of pain-free knees and the last weeks of not needing to carry reading glasses with me every where I go.  The insecurities of my twenties, the exhaustion of being a mom to young kids while building a career in my thirties, the awkwardness of dating after divorce on the cusp of forty – thank you for the lessons, I kiss you good-bye.

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