“It’s good to be gracious, but you don’t have to be overly grateful, because you’ve earned your place.
It’s not a gift, you’ve worked for it.”
So, we've all heard the term Anti-Aging right? It's a term craftily used in the multi-billion dollar beauty industry to create a level of fear and stigma around the dreaded aging process. Horrors of horrors.
We see young women, with flawless and impossibly poreless skin on ads that are promoting 'age reversal', anti-aging products that are geared to women much older... yada yada yada... we know they use airbrushing and they've been photoshopped... we know it's practically impossble to achieve, yet we run off to the counters, clutching our hard earned money to buy the latest promise.
Wouldn't it be truly wonderful if there were a magic pill or potion to stop the aging process? Well, suck it up Buttercup, there's not. We begin the aging process the moment we are born.
Don't get me wrong... I've been guilty of trying to outrun the terrifying aging process. I've purchased the magic promise creams, I've stared in the magnifying mirror and counted the lines creeping in.
I've had a bit of botox, which was done incorrectly and had me looking like a mad scientist with one raised eyebrow, ...
(I had a big date and spent the whole evening holding my droopy eyebrow up with my finger! I'll not be doing that again).
Into my 50’s
Just recently, a beautiful young woman, maybe 25-30 years younger than I, said something to me that stuck with me...
We were chatting about aging...and how quickly time goes.
I was reminiscing about some youthful experiences that seemed like just yesterday.
She asked to see a picture of me when I was had been her age.
When I showed her one she said, without accusation, just a general observation, that “wow, you were lovely...” and then said 'I’d let myself go a bit...' eeeerrm... thanks... I think?
Had I? Had I let myself go?
Oh, knew that I had put weight on a once slender 22yr old frame.
I knew that my face, once bright, unlined and sculpted, had loosened a bit, and there were lines and sags where there used to be glorious taut and bouncy skin. (A very good friend recently told me "Wrinkles are where smiles have been!")
But doesn't that come with life? With the natural aging process?
I thought back on my life... and then
Whoa... wait a goddam minute there Missy Whippersnapper...
I have studied, earning degrees and diplomas.
I have worked in some capacity, sometimes two - three jobs at a time since the age of 11.
I have loved and married and divorced and loved and lost again.
I have been hurt and heartbroken, and mourned loss.
I have left my mother country with a friend to take a vacation, only to stay for 30 years, and start a new life alone, without the comforting closeness of home or family.
I have worked illegally, living on tips, and working 7 days a week to make ends meet. I did a bit of jail time when I got caught too!
I have worked my way up through a corporate world for 20 years, where I sat in boardrooms and meetings, closed multi-million dollar real estate deals and chaired consequetive campaigns to raise almost 100k for charity.
I returned to college at almost 50, when I lost the corporate job to restructuring, to learn a new field, where I graduated with honours and student of the year.
I have almost lost a parent to cancer, only for them to suffer and also survive two heart attacks.
I have lived alone and relied on just me to take care of myself.
I have traveled, sometimes alone, to faraway places. I have eaten dinner in restaurants alone and gone to the theatre and concerts alone. Perfectly happy with my own company.
I have bought my own home. I have a secured pension plan from saving for 20 years, and I have also learned to live on very little income.
I have learned to develop my own products, I have created a business and currently work 3 jobs while studying.
I have taken leaps of faith and risks and made big, scarey and sometimes the wrong decisions.
I have survived. I have lived. I have dared. I have cried.
I have laughed. I have struggled. I have battled and have scars.
I have fallen. I have risen, time again.
I think I deserve to embrace my age. I've earned my line badges. I've earned the extra pounds and all the wobbly bits.
I'm bloody proud of them all.
"Let myself go?" I said to that beautiful young woman.., "no... I've taken down the wall of comparisons. I've turned off the chatter and the negative self talk. I've embraced what is going to happen to the best of us, if we are lucky enough... Aging...
So, oh no my dear, I've not let myself go... I've let myself BE exactly who I am meant to become."