With the rise of social media, so much pressure has been placed on staying young and beautiful and more often than not, growing old seems like a misfortune - as if your life goes downhill as you age - which is true to a certain extent where your appearance is concerned, but then again there is much more to aging.
The truth as we know it, we are ALL growing older by the second, yet we find on the daily the media, in general, keep telling us everything we need to know on how to stop or slow down something we really have no control over. Unless someone finds an actual fountain of youth, we are all ageing, and we need to learn to accept it.
Not only do we need to learn to accept it, but we need to embrace it and, most importantly, celebrate it!
I recently read someone say that aging is a privilege. How so true this is.
Though it may appear like a pitfall sometimes, I agree that not everybody has the privilege of growing older and knowing this fact has made me grateful. We do not lose value as we age; on the contrary, we gain so much more.
Two years shy of being 50, I'm proud to say that I've lived for almost half a century! How cool is that?
I see my mom, dad and grandmother, who between them have a combined age of 230 years. I am in total awe of how they've embraced ageing whilst looking good and content doing it. I hear them tell my son stories of their lives that never seem to end. They've lived well and have developed layers of experience, and my son listens to them in admiration of the decades of stories they keep churning out.
Aging is not all about your appearance but the lifetime of experiences that you have been privileged enough to have gained.
I'm not too concerned about the number of years that I have under my belt because, quite honestly, I don't feel 48, but I am certainly proud to be 48, and I don't hesitate when people ask me my age. As a middle-aged single working mom to a sixteen - year old - life keeps me busy enough that I don't think about my age. But my body, on the other hand, might from time to time remind me that I am growing older.
Research has confirmed the long-held belief that you’re only as old as you feel. Studies have also shown that as we age, we identify less and less with our actual ages. This, I believe, is due to the change in our priorities and perspective on life.
Photo by Gabriella Clare Marino on Unsplash
The are many facets to aging that we can embrace and celebrate!
The Changing Body
Like how I'm amazed at the fact that human bodies can produce, carry a baby and nurture it up to 9 months, I'm amazed at how my body has changed with age.
Having grey hair on my head is fine, and yes, I colour my roots because I can't stand the splotchy grey growth but seeing your first greys in areas other than your head is like wow, really??! Didn't know they could do that! On the positive side, the hair on my legs and my armpits (okay, not so much here) have drastically disappeared so every two months or so, I just shave whatever strays that have come to greet me!
My knees might not be the same as they were in my 20s, but they're still okay. They still support my every step.
I've also developed what people called jowls. I think. I wasn't quite sure what it was until I realised one day that there was no longer a separation between my cheeks and my neck. They are now co-existing and living in harmony as one - seamless! And that's something I'm totally okay about.
And can we take a moment to give tribute to age spots? One day you have clear skin, and suddenly without noticing, you're covered with them - all due to my sunscreen-free younger years when age spots in my 50s were none of my concern.
The biggest pain in my ass is the hormonal changes. My mid-section is now an extension of my body that has developed a life of its own. I have all the PMS symptoms, and I wait and inhale everything I see in the fridge whilst waiting, but nothing. I remember those times when having my period was just annoying, but now I wait for it. I do little dance knowing it's on the way, I want it to come, but no, it was all just a game it was playing on me - like waiting for a lover, who ends up standing you up!
I'm fully aware that I can't turn back time, and neither do I want to. These changes are staying, but I think as we age, we want to make ourselves feel better whilst going through this process. So we buy the creams, take the supplements, watch what we eat, take to exercising - not to turn back time, but to make us feel better - wanting to be the best version of ourselves whilst we accept all these changes.
The meaning of beauty changes in every stage of our lives. We need to let go of the image of our younger selves and stop making the comparison between the 20 -year old me and the 50-year old me or before kids and after kids. Only then we can allow ourselves to realise that the meaning of beauty changes in every stage of our lives. You can be beautiful, no matter your age.
The Changing YOU
To me, the beauty of aging is knowing myself and being comfortable in my own skin, being the person I am now. With age brings wisdom, emotional maturity and security, insight, as well as perspective.
Knowing what I want, what truly makes me happy and knowing that the qualification of people I allow in my life is important. I might still sweat some of the small stuff but not as much as I used to. Not to say I care less, but I am wiser in knowing where I should focus my energy on.
With age comes maturity, and there is a certain strength and power that exudes in you. You'll kick ass when a situation requires it, and you don't waste time with bullshit and drama. Do you realise that you carry yourself better? You even walk with a swagger of confidence! You have so much confidence and courage that put in a certain situation, you may appear to have more balls than some men.
I don't necessarily dress my age, but I dress in what makes me feel good and comfortable. I'm small in stature, 5'1" (yeah okay, I'm short!), so I used to wear 4-inch heels ALL the freaking time even if my feet were dying slow deaths because I was so insecure about my height. Well, for the past 10 years, I've only worn flats. I refuse to care if people around me were 6 feet tall, and I ended up lost in a sea of people because I was that short. Anyway, never going back to heels.
I've learnt not to place importance on what people think, nor do I take to heart other people's opinions. With that said, I'm not about to let myself go either. I take pride in myself, for myself.
I think many of us ageing women secretly wished we had the body of our 25-year-old self, but none of us is willing to give up the decades of experience and life that we have under our belt. Maybe I'm speaking for myself, but I would not give up knowing what I know now and the life I have lived so far for being 25 again. These experiences have made me the person I am today. To live the way I have. To have had the strength to mother a child.
Once we change the way we think about aging and allow ourselves to embrace the positives, there's a liberating feeling that follows. You put behind your focus on your years and shift your focus on what you love instead.
There is so much beauty in life.
We are the accumulation of all of our experiences, and we should be proud of the wrinkles, bad knees, grey hair, scars and stretchmarks, for these are the physical signs that remind us of the laughter, the joy, the worries, the heartbreaks, the trials of motherhood and everything else that has brought us to this moment.
Ageing - instead of trying to fight it, accept it, embrace it and celebrate it! We choose how we age, so choose well.
I am grateful for all the years I have behind me, and I look forward to all the years I have ahead of me!