I go to bed between 8:30-9:30, most nights. Just ask my husband. I had a girl’s night with my sorority sisters last week and the next night I went to bed at 7pm! I just can’t hang like I used to. This hasn’t always been the case – this is a recent development.
Another recent development is how much harder it is to get fit. I am in decently good shape, I suppose. But the tide I am working against here has become a lot stronger over the past year! It used to be that I could just generally work out, generally eat healthy, and generally be in good shape. Now I can workout HARD (which I do), cut carbs out of my diet, eat a lot of vegetables and my body is like, “Whoop de doo. What do you want me to do? Give you a round of applause and a six pack?” (Well yes, actually).
I think I may have hurt my husband’s feelings the other night when I counted the gray hairs on the back of his head. I could laugh except that I have as many myself, it’s just that they are hidden under bleach blonde highlights :).
Sometimes I feel caught off guard by my own reflection in the mirror. I look more closely, wondering if I accidentally slept on my blanket weird for it to leave these new impressions and creases on my face. Then I realize they are actually wrinkles starting to lay claim to their permanent residence.
I realize how ridiculous this might seem to some (seeing how I haven’t even quite reached my mid thirties). I don’t mean to be all dramatic like “I’M AGING!!!!” I simply am reaching the point where I can no longer hold onto my twenties or fool passersby into thinking I am there.
The world around me has conditioned me to be disappointed by this fact and it tells me that I should fight against it. Aging is the enemy and youth is the golden straw to grasp for.
But I am here to tell you that the world is wrong. There is a secret and I want to expose it:
Aging is better!
Granted, I know it gets harder. As our bodies fail us and gravity works against us, life becomes challenging and humbling in new ways.
But there is also something refreshing about it. There is something entirely refreshing about letting go of the standards of the world and embracing the richness of life experience. There is something refreshing about having to confront the fact that there is more than this physical world around us. It’s a relief to be reminded that there is a bigger Story happening in the history of humanity than just our small sliver of it.
The world is scared of aging. It is a flashlight that exposes the truth of our mortality. We don’t like to see that and we don’t want to grapple with what it means. We don’t want to accept the fact that our life is a mist. But what I am learning is that the things that force us to understand more deeply our need for God, our complete desperation for something or Someone who doesn’t age or break or fail or die, our need for a Savior – these things are the greatest gifts.
If we accept these gifts and press into that need, we will discover the richest treasure.
Seamless smiles and taut bodies may be appealing to the eyes. But hard earned wisdom from risks taken, grace that comes from rising after a fall, and compassion and empathy developed from experiencing suffering and loss – these features are appealing to the soul. These features come with aging.
I’ve seen a beautiful Twenty and I’ve seen a beautiful Sixty.
Let me tell you something: beautiful Sixty is more breathtaking.
Have you ever sat down for a cup of coffee or tea or a glass of wine or perhaps a long leisurely dinner or dessert with someone who has really been through life? Have you ever experienced such a person receiving your pain and tears with such love and understanding and compassion? They know, because they have been there before too. They know not to offer pat answers. Have you gleaned from their wisdom? They know, because they have tried and failed before. Have you been stunned by their self-contentedness? They’ve moved on from trying to be something they’re not and have settled in to who they are.
In my opinion, this is one of the greatest gems in life and I long for more.
With each decade as I become more acutely aware of the fact that I’ve left the previous one behind, I want to embrace that change with eagerness and joy. I want to surrender in the fight for youth. The struggle is as exhausting as it is pointless. I want to open my arms wide to all of the changes and growth that come only from time and experience.
Aging, what a relief!