This picture is me, the day I turned 40. I was in New York, getting ready to see a Broadway show.
In the blink of an eye, it's my birthday month again and I'm going to be 50. For those of you who have experienced a birthday with a "zero" on the end of it (and I'm not talking about 10 or 20, folks...) you already know we choose these arbitrary milestones and make them mean something.
Naturally, I spent a little time doing the same. When I turned 30 I was glad it finally arrived. I had been an adult FOREVER by then (a mom at 19, was married, divorced, and married again) but looked young for my age and desperately wanted to be taken more seriously in the workplace.
When 40 rolled around I was too tired to care about the meaning of it. I was working full-time, working on my Master's Degree, and besides the house and husband, I had a kid in college and a kid in hockey. But I value travel and experiences, so New York was a perfect present! To this day, it's the only birthday I actually remember. Why? Because it was different. We did something unique and we CELEBRATED.
Many women don't like to celebrate getting older. Me? I celebrate being alive. I honestly don't care what the number is, I'm just privileged to be here. I lost my older brother when he was 44, so friends, I do not take birthdays, or aging, for granted.
In today's busy culture we hear nothing but sighs and moans from everyone simply trying to keep up, yet women find plenty of time to inspect those new wrinkles, worry about their waistlines, and go on the hunt for gray hair. If you have a shred of blank space on your calendar, is this really how you want to spend it? I'm not saying neglect your appearance. Just don't let it own you.
At the moment my husband took this picture, I was unhappy with my physical self. Ten years later? I'd be thrilled with my 40 year old exterior! I have scarring on one eye that prevents me from wearing contacts and now I'm stuck in glasses. I have more gray hair. I outgrew this dress and it's long gone. My hair is thinner.
But to offset all of that, I am also more peaceful now. My relationship with God is deeper. I am definitely smarter, and dare I say, more interesting? I have done a lot with the 10 more years I was given! And you know what? I have more friends now. So my hair and my glasses and my outfits must not matter. People still show up for me.
I remember my late 20s and 30s as time spent comparing myself unfavorably to the figure I had when I was 20. Now? It's a complete waste of time (not to mention destructive) comparing an almost 50-year-old me to the much cuter 20-year-old me. After all, when I was 20, I wasn't lamenting the fact that I wasn't 40 or 50 yet with a much more advanced career and a more intelligent perspective. Goodness, if we're going to be silly enough to compare, at least do it both ways....
So, if my 20-year-old self was smart enough to live in the moment, why stop now? I don't know yet how I'll be spending my 50th birthday. I don't like parties but I do like memories, so I'm sure to come up with an adventure I'll still be smiling about when I reach 60 (God willing).
So what is my point? Ladies, BE IN THE PICTURES. Embrace whatever stage you're in. There is a gift in each of them and none of them are without surprise. Celebrate each year so that you remember it, not just the ones with a "zero" at the end. I cannot believe how many years just passed by with me trying to survive my own busyness with nothing distinct to mark them. Still don't want to celebrate aging? Celebrate living. Not everyone gets to.
If you still need a little help, this is my gift to you - a beautiful message I found and felt compelled to share. Read it, pick your chin up, and shine!
"Women get more beautiful as they grow older. Not less. Female youth is only prized in modern culture because it doesn't represent as much of a threat spiritually to anyone who is frightened of divine feminine power. As women grow and mature, they call in stronger forces of sacred feminine wisdom. They vibrate with the creative power of their stories. They are more of a force to be reckoned with. They see more, know more, feel more. They put up with a lot less bullshit. When women are trained into thinking there is something fundamentally wrong with getting older, and are coerced into spending money, energy and power investing in 'slowing the signs of ageing', an enormous vault of divine love is lost. Just think what would happen if all the women in the world started loving themselves even more with every year that passed. Perhaps a total revolution would occur." ~Yogesh Kumar