I have twin, two year old boys. Translation? I don’t know what it’s like to not be tired anymore. Two nights ago, around midnight, I found myself just finishing up the housework in the kitchen and desperate to go to bed. My husband was being obnoxious and less than helpful, teasing and taunting me. Next thing I knew, we were in a full on soap suds fight, chasing each other and squealing at the top of our lungs. This lasted for a good ten minutes. And it was perfect. You are never too old to laugh. To giggle hysterically. To play.
And you see these lines and wrinkles? I earned them. The hard way. I know that our society, our culture, tells us they are bad. That aging is bad. But, I see beauty in them. I mean, I don’t have any plans to start rushing the aging process or adding to the crows feet. But, every line and wrinkle I see means something to me. It has significance.
It means life. Laughter. Tears. Wisdom. Experience.
For a girl that should be dead. It means I’m still alive. And I earned every one.
When you’re little you have a very skewed idea of age. I remember thinking that my grandma was prehistoric. When the reality is, a lot of grandparents are in their prime. And when I look back on pictures of my parents, good grief. I just saw one of my mother when she was my age and I was blown away. Bombshell. I remember thinking at the time how sad it was for my parents because their best years were over.
So why do we fear aging? Why do we bow to the weight of cultural norms? Spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on products meant to stop a very natural process created by God? Vanity, self-consciousness, pride, fear of mortality, something else? Who knows.
I’ll take an island vacation instead, thank you very much.
What I do know is that we cannot freeze time. I spent years as an addict and an alcoholic. Numbing myself to the pain of life. Living in fear of the past and anxiety about the future. All while my present sat stagnant and broken. Essentially dead. For many of those years, due to a combination of issues, I rarely left my home, except to work. There was little to no laughter or living going on for me. That is probably why when I finally started the long road to health and sobriety, I looked at least ten years younger than other people my age.
As if time had stopped for me at some point.
And in some ways it had. But not in a good way. Sometimes when we encounter pain or trials in life, we freeze. Emotionally and physically. We collapse inward. We use unhealthy coping mechanisms. It’s survival. And we stop living. And it shows physically. It can also have the opposite effect. Take years away and rush the aging process. This is often evident in before and after pictures of meth addicts. I’m blessed that was not the case for me.
When I got married, got clean and sober, I finally started living and laughing. So much laughter. It wasn’t long before I started to notice the lines appear. And for me, they meant something so different than the demons of aging our culture would have us believe them to be.
To me, they are a badge of honor. A blessing. A miracle.
I already realize there is nothing I can do to keep my children from seeing me as anything less than older. And that's okay. But I want them to see a mother who loves herself and lives each day to the fullest. Not fearful of time or affected by cultural norms. Well, except hiding my gray hair. C'mon, give a girl some grace.
I’m certainly not suggesting self care is not important, so keep doing your thing ladies. Take care of your body and skin as you see fit. Just know that I see you. I see how perfect you are. Lines, wrinkles, aging spots and all. I don’t see imperfections. I see wisdom. Battle scars. Years of laughter, tears, and everything in between. I see life. And I think you are beautiful.
(Shout out to my Rodan and Fields girlfriends...Kristyn, Allison...please keep loving me.)