With the exception of teenagers who can’t wait to become full-fledged adults (why I’m still not sure) many of us aren’t really that tickled about growing older. I myself felt a little blindsided this year when after blowing out my birthday candles I realized I was 36 years old. That means I’m in my mid to late 30’s! How the hell did that happen and where in God’s name did all these gray hairs come from? I suppose I should be thankful there’s still anything up there at all, right?
But even though I’m growing older, I’ve made a conscious decision not to fight it and become one of those people who spends much of their time and money trying to find a fountain of youth that simply doesn’t exist.
So far, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed living every decade of my life (okay, maybe not high school) and look back on the years with fond memories and life lessons I’m happy to have experienced. But the truth of the matter is I’m happy now. I don’t need to act or look younger than I am in order to bring my life some kind of completeness.
The other day I was watching a mother of two, who easily was in her late 40’s, parading around outside like she was in her twenties. She was wearing clothes that were too tight and designed for the female demographic who still shops at Mandee. Looking at her face and her family, I’m not sure who she thought she was fooling and sadly I was almost a little embarrassed for her. I mean, what’s so bad about looking your age – about still following the unique drum that beats inside you without making yourself look like some circus side show?
With each passing year we’re supposed to learn something in life – to grow wiser about the world we live in and the person we’ve become. It’s that maturing that should bring us to the conclusion that trying to recapture our youth prevents us from living in the present. Let’s face it, we can’t be young forever, no matter what plastic surgeons and Botox commercials might claim. What should matter is how you’re living your life right now, not what age you look.
You know there are people who unfortunately leave this earth way too early. Just the other day I read a touching and saddening obituary about a young girl who lost her battle with cancer – she was only 10 years old. I’m sure her family would have longed for the chance for her to grow older; to find her first gray hair or wrinkle; to celebrate her 40th, 50th and 60th birthday with appreciation rather than resentment as so many of us do.
Be proud of the age you are, of growing older and that you’ve been able to survive as long as you have. Stop trying to recapture a life that’s already passed and live the life you have right now as full as you possible can – regardless of your age. For not everyone lives long enough to know what it’s like to simply grow older.