I’m a year older today. And it is making me closer to thirty than I am to twenty. I know, I know. I’m only a baby. All you who’ve lived even a few more years than I will remind me of that. Still, I’m older than I was yesterday. Older than I was the day before yesterday. I’m older than I turned last year. Yeah, twenty-six isn’t ancient. But regardless of what number makes someone old, I am irrefutably older. You are too – older than you were yesterday. We’re all aging.
Do you remember when we were kids and our age was something that we bragged about? “How old are you?” The first question out of our mouth when meeting someone. “I’m eight.” “Yeah? Well, I’m eight and a quarter.” Because being born three months before your playmate obviously proved that you were somehow better. It certainly ensured your right to set the rules of the game.
When does the shift happen? When do we start wishing we’re younger than we are? When do we decide that we are turning twenty-one for the remainder of our birthdays? When does it become embarrassing to be old? It hasn’t happened to me yet. I’m constantly flashing my wedding band and pulling out my horizontal driver’s license to prove I’m no longer in high school. I’m still striving to make everyone recognize me as an independent adult, a grown woman. I want people to know my age. I’m proud of my years and I want to own every one of them.
Because with every year comes more wisdom, more experience, more life. I don’t want to be who I was when I turned sixteen or twenty-one, and I don’t even want to be who I was when I turned twenty-five. I am smarter, bolder, fuller today. I have learned more, explored more, understood more. I am stronger in my beliefs and I am surer of choices and more confident in myself than I have ever been. And I wouldn’t have arrived here on any other path but by the passage of time.
There’s some things you can only achieve by waking up morning after morning for 365 days in a row.
I am mesmerized by women in the last decades of life who are one hundred percent themselves. They are strong-willed, opinionated, and honest. They will tell you what they think and they will tell you what they want. They are confident in who they are and they don’t pretend to be someone they aren’t. Not because they have perfect bodies, or because they are completely put together, or because they have everything they want. No – they’ve simply come to appreciate how they’ve been made and aren’t about to waste their precious remaining days living in pretense. They’ve accepted their bodies and their personalities and they are beyond wondering what everyone is thinking of them. Instead they live out their final years in authenticity.
It makes me excited to be old.
I’ve heard many people say that this was something they learned in their forties, fifties, and sixties. I am who I am and there’s no use in presenting myself another way.
Why do we have to wait until half our life is over to have this kind of perspective?
I don’t want to spend any more time agonizing over what people think of me. I don’t want to use any more of my days being someone I’m not. I don’t want to waste precious time over-thinking each wardrobe choice, each word spoken, each pound on or off my body, each contribution to a conversation. I don’t want to spend the prime of life under a layer of insecure make-believe, grasping for the approval of the world.
I’m ready to start the aging process now. To be like those sparkling seventy-year-old women who speak their minds and share their hearts with sincerity. I don’t want to wait two or three more decades until I’m at last ok with the woman God has made me to be.
The wrinkles are coming. I can see them when I peer into the mirror. More than once I dreamed my hair was turning gray. I can’t pull an all nighter on a whim and it won’t always be this easy to scale a mountain. I am aging. And what a wonderful thing it is to age.