Yesterday, I celebrated my 42nd birthday.
42 on 4/4.
42 years of LIFE, Folks!
I have no issue letting people know my age and it always amuses me when people delicately approach the topic.
They'll jokingly say things like, "So what's it like to be turning 30 again," or "How many times is this celebrating your 21st again?"
I'll giggle and respond with, "It feels great to be turning..." the actual age I'm celebrating.
Birthdays, especially for women, can be a really sensitive topic because our culture does not celebrate or embrace aging women, particularly, the ones that do not age gracefully.
Somehow women past 30 slowly begin to fade into the background and lose their value unless they've been gifted with the aging process of J-Lo or Angela Bassett.
Women whose looks seem to defy the aging process seem to be the only ones worth celebrating--the ones who don't look like they're aging.
It doesn't take much to look around and notice all the implicit and explicit messages women receive about getting older.
Inject this in your face, put this cream under your eyes, laser this part of your body...nip, tuck, plump so you won't look old, so you won't look your age.
The shame of aging.
Now don't get me wrong.
I'm not against women doing what they choose to do to feel comfortable in their bodies.
I believe in a woman's right to choose and that it's our prerogative to choose how we age.
I'm not immune to it either.
I've purchased my fair share of anti-aging creams and under-eye concealer (ugh...those under eye circles).
And I want to age gracefully.
But here's what I won't do...
I refuse to lie about my age.
I refuse to deny that I have been blessed with, up until now, 42 years of LIFE.
Do you know how much growth, life, and LOVE I've experienced in these 42 years?
When I was in my 20's I was certainly thinner, my skin was tighter, smoother, and I had less gray hair.
But you know what else there was more of back then?
The outside was more attractive, but the inside was all kinds of torn up.
When I turned 30 I remember being EXCITED about the milestone.
Intuitively, I understood that with each passing year not only would more wrinkles and gray hair appear, but so would wisdom--a level of understanding that would be coupled with peace.
Now, I'm not trying to suggest that I'm now sitting on the mountain top in the lotus position in a state of bliss at all times.
And a lot of aspects of aging DO SUCK!
My body doesn't cooperate with me the way it used to--that's for sure.
Losing weight is much tougher now.
And if you're a woman you don't receive the same passes that men receive.
Men age and they're described as "distinguished."
Their gray hair is described as "salt and pepper".
Women age and we're labeled as "cougars", "hags", "old bitches," or just "old."
Somehow being "old" is insult enough.
I don't know that this will ever change in my lifetime, but here is what I do know about being a woman over 40...
- I have more peace than I ever had before.
- It is much easier for me to set unapologetic boundaries.
- It is much easier for me to trust my intuition.
- It is much easier for me to practice unapologetic self-care.
- It is much easier for me to recognize when a relationship is no longer serving my higher good and then releasing that relationship.
- It is much easier for me to ask for what I want.
- It is much easier for me to express my anger without becoming fully dis-regulated (for the most part - ha!).
Here's the thing...I've come a LONG way.
The best part is that I know there is still a long way to go!
So I won't pretend like I'm turning 30 again because in the last 12 years I have lived so much life.
I have 3 beautiful children,
I've started businesses,
I went back to school,
I became a therapist,
I have traveled,
I've loved and I've lost and then loved again.
To deny those 12 years is to deny all the living, experiences, and people who have come and gone in my life.
There's no way I'm doing that.
So you'll never find me lying about my age because
I know that there is still a lot more LIFE and LOVE left in me and
I CANNOT wait to see what I'm going to do next.
Just try and keep up with me.
Your Favorite Therapist,