Waning & Waxing

The past few days I’ve been pondering the waning moon. Each morning I watch the sliver grows thinner and thinner as it drops closer to the eastern horizon. Today I got to see the final fading stage as it rose just before sunrise. It was barely visible and occasionally I had to locate it by first finding Venus and then sliding my eyes down until it once again came into my awareness. Tomorrow it will be gone. And then it occurred to me that it’s all something of an illusion. It only appears to be disappearing. In reality, the moon is still there, fully and completely itself. And two days from now it will once again begin the process of shining forth, growing stronger and more brilliant with each passing moment. It waxes and wanes, and at the same time remains whole.

I think that’s how my life works. There are times when it feels like it’s waning, with parts of me fading away. But the truth is that I’m still me, and something new is just around the corner about to shine forth like the new moon. I’ve been officially retired for almost seven months now, and living into this new chapter has been a wonderful and surprising adventure – one which is still unfolding. On July 1st I stopped going to work, but that was just the beginning. I’m actually still retiring – still letting go of what no longer serves me – still learning what it means to be me in this new time of life. I spent a lot of years trying to be what I thought other people expected me to be. Some of that matched my own internal sense of self, but some of it didn’t. Part of what’s beginning to happen in this new chapter of my life is a re-discovering (and in some cases discovering for the first time) who I really am and what it is (in the words of Mary Oliver) I plan to do with my one wild and precious life.

The old moon is waning and the new moon is beginning to shine. I don’t yet know much about what that will look like, but I have a sense it will involve less “doing” and more “being.” There are always more lessons to explore and more of myself to discover. As a friend of mine regularly reminds me, I can begin again in any moment. Look out world, here I come.

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