A few weeks ago, I started a new wake-up ritual. I walk into the bathroom, look in the mirror and say, “good morning my beautiful wrinkles”. It might sound silly, but it makes me feel good in my own skin and every day I feel as if I’m loving myself a little bit more. I used to spend hundreds of dollars every few months, sampling the latest skincare or anti-aging trend. You could say I was a bit obsessed, (and financially irresponsible). Let’s not forget about all of the anti-cellulite creams that will never work. Ever. Crazy thing though; I’ve been in a bikini all summer and haven’t worried once about who might see my legs. I really don’t care who sees my so-called “flaws” anymore. This is me. Take it or leave it!
I’m turning 43 in a few days. Three years ago, I wrote an article about turning 40 and how it has affected me and all the ways I have grown, what I have learned, etc. I go back and read that piece a lot, and I realized that when I wrote it, it was really just the beginning of what I call…“the enlightenment”. I was only getting started and as I get older, every single day, I notice ways in which I’m letting go of the things that have held me back. I pay attention to all the ways I am becoming more authentic as time passes. Little things, like going out without makeup and still making eye contact; smiling like a normal person in pictures despite the lines around my eyes and wearing clothes that actually fit me. Or big things, like surrendering to love openly and freely without fear of opinions from others. Not only speaking my truth, but being my truth has led me to such a happy place, free of anxiety.
Aging gracefully means something different to me as I continue this journey. I no longer want to look younger than I am, I just want to look like me. I don’t want to suck in my belly anymore. Sure, I notice it. But I love the hell out of it. It grew two humans and that’s pretty damn amazing. My legs aren’t as firm as they once were, but they’ve allowed me to run with my kids. My arms aren’t so muscular any more but they gave me years of holding little ones. I take notice of the veins in my hands that are becoming more prominent, yet I’m thankful that I can feel the touch of another human, prepare a meal or graze the warm blades of grass. I am thankful now for every part of me because my whole being comes together in a design that God so perfectly created.
I reflect quite often about how much I have let go of. My fear has always been disguised as hesitancy. At times, I couldn’t make a decision on my own. I had to run it by 3 or 4 other people first. I always followed up by repeatedly asking if I did the right thing. Did I embarrass myself? Am I a bad person? Are you mad at me? Are you mad at me? Are you mad at me? Paranoia and worry ran my life for a very long time. But with aging, day by day, I let go just a little bit more. And it’s absolutely freeing. I’ve been driving to work and smiling, the entire way. Proud of myself for allowing me to be happy. Discovering that I am worth it. Slowly, but surely answering my own questions, being my biggest cheerleader and falling in love with who I was, am, and who I will become.
I won’t look back and regret all the time I wasted worrying. I won’t look back with shame about my brokenness. We are all broken. Aging gracefully allows us to love all the broken parts as much as the untouched. I’m deciding what happiness looks like for me. Judge me all you want, take from me what you can, say what you will. I don’t have time to care anymore. No one can live my life for me, so anything besides love that comes my way will be muted. All these years of life have finally given me that power; to shut off the noise. I’m going to live my best life. I’m going to treasure my body. I’m going to surround myself with people who lift me up and inspire me to be my best self. I’m going to dance, sing and act a fool because it’s fun. I’m going to allow myself to feel good because I deserve it.
Time won’t stand still for any of us. Looking back at good and bad proves to me repeatedly that life simply goes on. I get to choose how I fill up my space. Entering midlife is an eye opener. I don’t want to waste my precious time any longer. Life is happening now. I want to love, be loved and live wild and free, to be exactly who I am. I normally don’t swear in my articles but honestly, F*** what anyone thinks. F*** that noise. I don’t need to be liked. At last, I love myself enough to be happy on my own. Wrinkles and scars are not flaws. They are reminders of all the roads that were crossed to lead me here. A place where I find my wrinkles and scars beautiful. A place where I can make fun of myself. A place filled with laughter and forehead kisses. A place where I finally feel at home.