Sunday, May 22, 2011

Age and beauty...

"Age is a funny thing. There's so much about growing older that we're taught, all our lives, everywhere we look: magazines, movies, models -- we let all these images help form the general idea that youth is acceptable, age is not. But it seems to me that this construct of age -- much like society's construct of beauty -- is a myth. It seems to me that, as is true with any aspect or characteristic of ourselves, we should be the ones to create our own stories. Why would we give this right up to anyone else, much less to commercial organizations? Why should we allow our age -- whether we're young, or old, or anything in between -- to be colored by what commerce says is "right" or "wrong," any more than we permit commerce to tell us about our hair color or our height?

What if we took control of our own stories?"

-Karen Walrond

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As my 39th birthday has now come and gone, I am left thinking and wondering about the fact that I only have one more year left in my 30's. I'm not really sure how I feel about this. A part of me is a little sad, yet another part of me is feeling like I am just now coming into my own. A realization that I am just now beginning to understand my purpose and who I really am.

For most of my teens and twenties, I struggled with not feeling comfortable in my own skin. I was more often than not wracked with feelings such as I'm not good enough...not smart enough...not pretty enough...not skinny enough...not talented enough. In essence, I had my own self-prescribed list of shortcomings that seemed to be never ending. But for whatever reason, as I seem to be inching closer and closer to my 40th year on this earth, that list of shortcomings that I have carried around for so long seems to slowly be dwindling away. They no longer drive my self-worth as they once did.

My understanding and perspective on what real beauty is has changed and evolved in my thirties. The world's view of beauty is commercialized and distorted - something I have come to more fully understand while in my thirties. It is a myth created by people (mostly in the entertainment industry) who want to make money off of us and all too often, don't have our (women) best interests at heart.

There was a time in my thirties when I noticed my body changing-- the fine lines around my eyes began to appear and I reached a stage where I couldn't get off those unwanted pounds as easily as I could in my twenties ..I would literally begin to panic some times at the thought of getting older. That has slowly changed though. I have come to point in my life where I have a greater appreciation for my age. This may stem from certain experiences I have had that changed my perspective on getting older.

These days, when I look in the mirror and take inventory of the person who is looking back at me--I feel a sense of gratitude for the life I have had. Moments and moments of life experiences that I have tasted and savored for 39 years. They each have shaped and molded my character and formed a new, fresh perspective on my self-worth as a woman. They have provided me a deeper understanding of what really matters most in this world and I can tell ya...it most definitely isn't the superficial "glitz and glamor" that all too often adorn all those magazines that you see while standing in the check-out line at the grocery store.

While I am not exactly jazzed about the wrinkles, the cellulite and oh yes, the lovely annual mammograms that come to every woman when she reaches a certain age..I am learning along the way to embrace them for what they are. Each and every fine line and wrinkle essentially reflects a part of my own life story. A story that is mine and mine alone. Unique, special and hand-crafted by a loving Father in Heaven...with a little bit of sassy(ness) and spice that I have add on my own here and there. :-)

I often find myself thinking about the many dear friends of mine (many of whom I have known since I was very young) who have lost their lives in the past 15-20 years. It saddens me when I think how their lives were cut so short. They had so much more life to live. I miss them sorely. This sad realization makes me that much more grateful for my life for I know that each day we have on this earth is a gift.

Why should we waste any time wishing we could shave 10 or 20 years off our lives or languish in thoughts of how life is all downhill after we hit 40 (something that I honestly used to think when I was a teenager!)?? Nope...I'm looking forward to what is ahead in my 40's, 50's, 60's and so on...I hope to always have the outlook that life can be a beautiful experience at any age. It is up to us to make the effort and look for the beauty. If you don't believe me, check out this awesome blog, called Advanced Style. I hope I, too, can continue to age as gracefully as so many of these ladies have.

I really liked listening to Kyran Pittman below and her thoughts on age and beauty...it is a fresh perspective on her own life and how her outlook has changed since leaving her twenties and entering her forties.


(pause music playing at bottom of blog before playing this video)

As women, no matter what age you may be, I hope we all can take more time each day to savor the beauty in our lives and in ourselves.

XOXO...

Jennifer

2 comments:

  1. I LOVE this post! I'm turning 35 next week and I couldn't be happier. I finally know who I am and what role God has for me during this season of my life. I'm content and blessed. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Thanks,Jami and Happy {early} birthday!! :-)

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