I have seen a lot of posts this week about birthdays and the hesitation of turning another year old – the fear of aging. So I took this photo in honor of my body’s aging process. I have a lot of black hairs on my chin and neck. I have 11’s or deep creases between my eyebrows. My skin looks like a toasted tortilla – full of sunspots, moles, wrinkles, and imperfections. My face is showing the scars from all of the pimples I popped. My hair has been full of grey and white strands since I was 23. My body reacts differently to foods and alcohol compared to when I was in my 20’s. My body becomes stiff if I don’t move it around often. I have had stretch marks all over my not-flat-belly and thighs since I was a child. My cellulite hangs around like a bumblebee drawn to a glass of sweet lemonade. And my all-time favorite – nipple hairs for days. My body is aging, and I remind myself every day this aging body is a gift.
We live in a culture that is deathly afraid and loves to profit off aging – look at all of the products and services sold to both women and men to defy aging. Love the skin you’re in, they say, but only if you continue using these anti-aging products and have smooth white flawless skin like our models. The truth is, we can’t stop the aging process. You might inject it with botox as a temporary band-aid, but no one can genuinely cease aging. So why are we spending so much energy, time, money on fighting and hating aging?
To fight the aging process is like being at the beach and standing in front of a wave, thinking you will stop it from coming. That wave will happen, no matter how hard we try to stop it.
Don’t get me wrong; we all have the personal responsibility to nourish and care for our bodies to our best abilities and resources. When we accept aging, this is not the same as resignation. Accepting aging is not resignation but the confidence in knowing we are changing every second, and we are enough as we are at this moment. We don’t have to give in to the lie that aging is something to be feared, shameful of, or needs to be hidden.
When we fear and fight against aging, we are fighting the beautiful natural process our bodies are supposed to go through. When we resist accepting our aging bodies, we restrict the magic of what is to come in the future. We’re not meant to stay the way we were in our twenties. We’re not meant to remain the same person as what you have labeled as your prime. We are meant to evolve and grow, and this process is completely natural and beautiful, even if society thinks differently.
Twenty years ago, if you asked me what I thought of nearing 40, I would have screamed in terror. Now, I realize that every moment I am alive is a gift only given to a select few. For some reason, the Universe has chosen you and me to be on this Earth – today. And for some reason, the Universe has decided to give the final breath to thousands of people – today. I don’t have a solid answer as to why I am here versus those who aren’t. So I choose to focus my energy and time on making the most of the present moment. I choose to be compassionate and loving to myself with the only body I’ll ever have. I choose to be kind to those around me, even if it’s a genuine smile and hello to the struggling mom with three littles in the grocery line. I choose to be present with my loved ones for one day everything can change. And most importantly, I choose to use the gifts the Universe has given me to help others, for one day, I may lose those gifts.
Every moment we are alive is a gift, and to defy aging is to resist the privilege of living.
There is so much influence our society has us and how we view ourselves. I believe it is my journey to explore how the status quo has negatively influenced us. To question and release ourselves from confinements created by previous generations. The confinements that keep us from truly living freely to be our best selves, as we age and navigate through this life.
I am proudly 37 years old, nearing 40. I’d be lying if I didn’t say the fear of aging didn’t knock on my door daily. The difference now is I have built an awareness of the unskillful thoughts that used to drive me, and before I act on those thoughts, I have a choice to either follow the status quo or to live freely as myself.
How do you personally feel about yourself aging? If you do fear aging, what is one note of gratitude you can send to your body instead of fighting against it? Let me know in the comments.
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