In my quest to try new things instead of sitting in my bed reading and taking an afternoon nap, I have joined a group of women for a monthly study session. In addition to getting me out of the house, I was curious as to how I would react to studying with a group of highly-educated women. I am more of an eating, drinking, socializing kind of gal. However, I live in a place where people are smart, intimidatingly so. Heaven knows, I hate to be pushed around by anyone or anything, so I said yes to expanding my knowledge, with the hopes that there would be some food, drink and socializing throughout the process.
Keep an open mind, I said to myself as I walked into a lovely apartment bathed in fall’s abundant sunlight. There were some women I knew from my community volunteer endeavors, the collective group ranging in age from fifty something to the mid-eighties.I spied coffee cake and fruit, so I was already winning. As we went around the room, I was instantly taken by the introductions from the women who had grandchildren and great grandchildren. I could have listened to them talk all day and skipped the lesson. I don’t have many people in my life of the grandparent generation and sitting in that room suddenly enveloped in their lives, filled some sort of hole within me. (I did ask if anyone wanted to adopt me during my introduction but there seemed to be no takers.)
The speaker was young and vibrant and a mother of six kids. I was prepared for a complicated lecture that would fly right over my head. She began with this point — we each carry our own light into the world and it is our job to find out how and where to best use it. I was instantly on the edge of my seat. Last spring, I had dinner with my friend Laurie who, halfway through a margarita, began to talk about the very same topic. “Don’t let anyone dim your light girls,” Laurie preached to me and my workout buddy Nancy. The next day, after the tequila haze had softened, that message continued to speak to me. For months after that dinner, particularly when things in my life weren’t as rosy as a Facebook post, Nancy and I would look at each other and repeat the mantra ‘no one is ever going to dim our light.’ Each time we repeated these words, it brought a strange sense of control and calm back into my life.