Ever go to the camera on your phone only to find it facing you and become rather startled at who that person is? Or Face Time with a loved one and feel sincerely shocked at the little image in the box on that screen that is you? Or my personal favorite – walk by a mirror and wonder just who that old person is looking at you?
Growing up and growing old is inevitable. How we handle it, however, has more room for options. At my current 68 years old, I look at my hands and I see my mother’s hands. I look at my numerous wrinkles and see hours of laughter and even hours of worry. My once-perky, now-saggy, breasts are a tribute to over nine years of nurturing my children at those breasts. My gray hair I try to wear as a crown—a crown of glory for all the years I have been happy and healthy on this planet. I smile when I recall that one of my sons told me it wasn’t gray, it was platinum—a far finer description.
Mind you, this doesn’t always work. That face and body looking back at me in the instances above is inarguably aged, which is, I suppose, marvelous considering the alternative. But, it doesn’t always please me. I am well aware I am stuck with it and I chose not to alter it in any expensive and vain way. But still my attitude towards my appearance wavers, depending on so many things.
Mostly I see the most prominent variable in how I feel about how I look is how happy I am in the moment. How content. How fulfilled. And, how well rested. I have noticed that the photos I see of myself when I am happy are the ones where I think I look my best.
Today I had coffee with a dear friend who commented on how nice I looked, despite me moaning about my exposed fleshy upper arms in the tank top I was wearing for the yoga class I just finished. I then recalled what I know to be true—if we saw ourselves as the people who love us see us, we would feel more confident in our beauty.
So, take good care of yourself. Feed yourself fine food. Exercise and stretch even when you don’t feel like it. Make rest a priority. Take time to nurture your relationships. They are the food for your soul. Because what matters in the end, is not how we looked, but how we loved.
Cheers! Here is to you and me. . . and growing old!