In three days I will turn 31. I love being in my thirties and am slowly accepting that the aging process is beautiful because the wisdom that comes with each new year brings a peace that didn't exist in my teens and twenties. Back then I either worried incessantly or, on the other extreme, lived carelessly and dare I say, selfishly. I haven't quite reached the point where I can fully embrace getting older, however, because my body is changing and the glorious age of twenties, which I took for granted, of lovely skin and a body that stayed thin no matter what I ate, well that seems to have passed on. My skin seems to be traveling backwards, landing at puberty which is frustrating for a 30 something year old woman. But here is the cup half full thinking: I would rather choose not to be superficial and dwell on that which I have not, but instead focus on what I do have. A husband who absolutely loves me, and I him, no matter how much we change and we can laugh (maybe cry) together when the first bit of gray hairs start coming. Don't tell him, but I have already found a few on his head, he being older by a few years and all. Oh, and let us not forget Instagram filters which help us keep a bit of a youthful glow in pictures for those days when our laugh lines seem to be laughing at us.
This total acceptance of body, mind and spirit from my spouse gives me the energy and is the catalyst to learn to love myself just as I am. I think I have worked that out of order, it would be easier to love myself and then love another human being in return, but years of self doubt and insecurity coupled with the thinking that surely as my body changes, so shall I change too, have kept me in a rocky place. Now when I have moments of doubt about myself, it really helps to have someone remind me that he sees the same 21 year old girl who he fell in love with. I am truly thankful for his compassion.
The real challenge in aging is realizing that the body, that which will be birthed, age and then die is not where one should fix their attention. It is a resting place for the seat of the soul where hope, peace and joy reside. My challenge is to bring my gaze within to this space and grow the flame of love that springs forth from it. Much easier said than done. But here's another wisdom of traveling forward each year; anything worth having is hard work and it seems to get harder the older we get. It helps to have a soft place to land each night, in the arms of someone who values your aging self and more importantly, your timeless internal beauty, or a spiritual truth that you are created perfect and beautiful, or perhaps just the sense that with aging comes the sweetness in understanding that life is fleeting and precious.
Bring it on 31. I challenge myself to accept every blemish both on body and in life.
“And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.” ―Abraham Lincoln