We live in a demanding world. A world that seems to require us to be chasing something all the time. This may be a better job, or a better car, or a better painting, or a better house. It wants us to move faster, be better, be smarter, have more stuff, be in touch with our emotions – but not too much. It seems we are forever chasing something that seems to be forever out of our reach.

Age is a wonderful thing; it brings us to peace about so many things. I am learning that perfection is a humongous waste of valuable time and energy. I’m learning to let go of the need to absolutely rock at everything I attempt to do. I am learning that humanity is so diverse in their needs and wants and desires. I am also learning, at last, that I don’t need to desire all the things that others seem to need or desire. I am learning that success has such  broad and varying spectrum and understanding. I am learning, at last, that my idea of success is valid for me.

I am learning that if I pursue a hobby that I can enjoy it and revel in the experience, irrespective of whether others find my hobby interesting or inspiring. I am learning to enjoy the stuff I enjoy, irrespective whether the others think it’s dull and boring. I am learning that it is OK not to be so ambitious anymore. I am learning, at last, that not all of us can be CEO’s … and that is OK. I am learning that if somebody is happy and feels fulfilled at a job that I may consider average, I should honor their experience of being happy and feeling fulfilled irrespective what I may think.

Age is a wonderful thing. It brings a radical peace about mundane, everyday stuff. I have learned that the opinions of others have nothing to do with me. I have learned that people interpret every situation through the veil of their experience, which may be an experience of joy, anticipation, or pain. I have learned that I can’t change those opinions or value judgments, simply because it is not in my power to change someone experiences or background. Therefore, I can reiterate again that the opinions of others have nothing to do with me.

I have learned that my past and my experiences form and create the world as I see it. I am learning to let go of my need to have others see, or experience the world as I experience it. I am learning that my audience is small. I am learning that it is a good thing. I am learning that thousands do not need to know me or to understand what I have to say. And more importantly, I am learning that if what I have to say is interpreted in a different way to my intention, that I can let that go and let the interpretation be that of the interpreter. I am learning to let go of my need to explain it so the interpreter can conform to my view. At last – I am learning that.

I am accepting and reveling in who I have become without the need to justify who I am to anyone. Years ago, I used to be so offended by what people said about who they thought I was. Now I understand that it is only the opinion of those who are really close to me and who love me, that matters. I have forgiven myself for hanging onto the angst that was caused by the opinions of others who barely know me.

Many years ago, I had the honour of spending a whole afternoon in the company of doctor Wayne Dyer, one of my all-time heroes. He said to me, “Hilda, learn to become independent of the good opinions of others.” Imagine if we can get to a place where not even the praise, or the good opinions affect us. Imagine if we have achieved that, how little the bad opinions of others will affect us. I am still working on that because I still enjoy the praise. Perhaps one day …