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Learning from the Horse - May 19 - Age in all its Glory

I have never wanted children. Even as a kid I had no interest in dolls. I liked my stuffed animals best. And as I progressed through my late 20s and early 30s I found more and more reasons, and had more and more experiences that confirmed my choice for me. I would love to adopt maybe even foster, but I never got that bug, that baby fever thing some of my friends have described to me. Sure I think about my funeral, and the fact there might not be anyone there. Sure I think about the fact I haven’t made myself a person who will be duty bound to look after me in my old age. But they are not reasons enough to make me bring life into the world.

Unfortunately my body has other ideas. As I progress at alarming speed towards my forties, my womanhood has gone into overdrive. I ovulate twice a month instead of once, and during those ovulations I have hot flushes which render me a clammy panting bedraggled mess. It seems that my ovaries are having a last ditch attempt at getting their eggs fertilised before they run out.

My mind might be made up, but my endocrine system drives my hormone production and there’s nothing I can do about it. Similarly the rest of the ageing process slowly makes me achier and saggier, while my brain still thinks I am 21.

I cannot control my body. I cannot control the passage of time. I cannot control my hormones.

So how do you deal with it? How do you reconcile your inevitable decay?

I look to the horse. To how they cope with and in fact, grow with age.

They naturally migrate towards the things that a human can choose to replace vanity and youth with, because they never valued those things in the first place. Experience, fullness of soul, wisdom.

My first horse Ziggy was 36 when he passed. Of the 20 years we were together, he was an elderly horse for the majority. He was ultimately generous. He gave. He gave so much. He seemed to understand so much. He knew exactly how to ask for what he needed, he cut through all my bullshit and helped me find the wisdom to start listening.

It is such an honor and a privilege to care for an older horse, because they “know”. Their bones may be creaking and their bodies may struggle, but the strength of character they exude makes them so valuable, so important, if we can only find the time to stand with them for a second and breathe it in. Without fail, every single aged horse I have ever met has made me feel better in some way. Something they taught me, even just a split second connection where they made me feel right. And even somehow the bitter irony that the ones who have suffered most are often the ones with the most to give.

So as my body goes through this inevitable and natural process, and the hormones continue to rage, I will embrace the journey, and I will aim to be more horse.

8 years ago this month my Zig went to a place where his aches and pains vanished, and left me to continue in this world without him. But really I will never be without him. Because the things I learned from him make me want to be a better person, and to keep learning, to gain wisdom.

Here’s to growing old, and making it about growing.