Creating Your Golden Era
Some eras just seem to glow in our memory. Those times that feel luminescent in retrospect— lit from within by happiness, peace or well-being. Seasons when everything seemed to flow effortlessly and life felt full of possibilities. In our memory, these golden eras can feel like a gift from the gods— happening only once in a blue moon and contingent on outer circumstances. But the truth is, we have the ability to create a golden era for ourselves anytime. All we need is to understand the alchemical ingredients.
I have a party trick I use whenever the conversation begins to lag at a gathering. I sit everyone down and ask— “what was your golden era?” I tell them not to think too hard about it. In fact, it’s better if you don’t think at all. Just turn your attention inwards and see what arises, like koi surfacing in a pond. Sometimes people are surprised by what comes up— sometimes they aren’t. But no matter what they see, the answer is always illuminating.
The eras that glow in our memory are gilded because of what they highlight. The deep part of us— the one that remembers who we are meant to be— outlines those times as a way of showing us: here are the ingredients your soul needs in order to live its truth. The most golden eras of our lives are the ones where we felt most aligned with our innermost self. Remembering those eras is akin to being given an alchemical formula whose purpose is to help you step back into your soul’s home.
So now I’m curious: what era comes up for you? What time stands out as a golden age or moment in your life?
I love asking people this, because the first time I dropped into this question I was shocked by what I saw…
My golden era? When I lived in NYC as a dogwalker.
The first time I tried this exercise I nearly laughed out loud. Really?? After all the incredible experiences in my life, my golden era was when I lived in a room without windows in Brooklyn and walked dogs for a living? But still, every time I closed my eyes I saw myself walking those Brooklyn streets.
Back then, I never would have thought those days would be golden in my memory. Living in a city was tough for me. I was making very little money and my work was often physically grueling. Dog walking was a temporary job, one that I knew wasn’t my soul calling— and yet, for all the hardships this was truly one of the most fulfilling times of my life. Why?
It’s only when we look back on our golden eras, that we can tease out the ingredients of just what made that era glow. We need only ask ourselves— what made that time so lovely?— and we have an invaluable recipe for living a profoundly fulfilling life.
Looking back at my time as a dog walker, a few key things stand out. Every day I was out walking in the world. Even when it was pouring rain, I felt so much more alive for having been among the elements of nature. In a time before smartphones, those walks were blissfully untethered. Over the course of a day I listened to entire albums on my iPod, composed poetry as I watched the bird’s shadows move across the street, and visited all the hidden corners of green in the city. With only the sweet pups for company, I had complete permission to be in my own world. Not just for an hour stolen in the evening, but all day, every day. I had ample time to daydream and imagine, sift through my feelings and roam the hills of my mind.
When I remember all the details of what made this era golden, I don’t feel defeated or lost in longing. In fact, I feel the opposite. I feel empowered. Because when we remember the ingredients of our golden era, we can recreate the recipe whenever we need a lift.
For me, the recipe to create a golden moment is as follows:
1 Tbsp moving my body
2 Tbsp spending time outside
1 cup having uninterrupted time to be in my own world.
Whenever life feels hard or heavy I simply swirl these ingredients into my day and things always lighten up. When the world feels dim, I return to this recipe.
So now I’m curious about you… looking back at your own golden era, what are the ingredients you can isolate that made that time glow so brightly?
Because here’s the secret— golden eras aren’t like comets, streaking through our lives once and then gone forever. They are teaching lessons, here to show us exactly what we need in order to create continual gold in our lives, no matter where we are or what’s going on around us.
You are not the powerless recipient of your golden era— you are its creator. Now that you’ve found the ingredients of your golden era, give yourself some time this week to experience them. Even if it’s just a golden day, or a golden hour. Every time you call that glow back into your days, you draw closer to the untarnishable light of your spirit.
Gift yourself a golden moment this week and reconnect with the part of you that remembers— you are gold and your joy, undimmed, is a nourishment for this world.