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COLUMN: Barriers fade with wisdom of aging

Self-designed set of rules that doesn’t truly exist can be prove limiting in everyday life.
Tanya Ryan 2
Western Wheel columnist Tanya Ryan.

I am rule-abiding.

Much to my dismay.

I have always wanted to be that cool, care-free, motorcycle-riding badass. Alas, I was born an eldest daughter with low-key anxiety and a proclivity for organization.

I’ve lived a lot of my life under this self-designed set of guidelines. More recently, I’ve noticed that this default setting of mine has been creating these invisible barriers for me throughout my life.

While I’ve committed myself to always playing by the rules, I also played by rules that don’t truly exist.

We all do. We each have our individual morals and values that we adhere to. We make friends and close relationships with people that share similar morals and values. As a society, we’ve agreed upon a few as well. This is why it’s frowned upon to kill your neighbour or double park.

Outside of the extreme cases of murder, theft, criminal activity, etc., I wonder how this ideology has limited me. How this vehement commitment to rule-abiding has been a disservice to self. I’ve told myself for so long that I need to act, look or be a certain way in order to be successful, understood or worthy.

I wonder how much more free or peaceful I may have felt if I didn't pressure myself into adhering to certain invisible parameters.

Aging is such a gift. As we grow older, most of us naturally start to break down those invisible barriers. We care less about others’ perception of us and we start to live into the person we want to be.

Perhaps it’s a greater grasp for our limited mortality that demands us to clarify how we want to live out the finite years of our lives.

The greatest gift I have permitted myself to receive is letting those invisible, confining boxes collapse (slowly, I’m still learning). It’s hard when my actions or good intentions are misunderstood but I’m learning to trust that my character and my values will prove themselves without my explanation.

I’m learning to trust that there are people committed to loving me, who want to understand me, that opportunities will meet me because I’m ready, I’ve worked for them or I am suitable for them.

It requires much faith in the big picture of life -- and a tremendous amount of trust in myself.

Maybe my motorcycle era isn’t something to rule out yet.

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