13 March 2007

Woman to Woman: In this skin...

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In my mind I am 18 years old. At that time I was heading off to college, and literally toward freedom. Life just took off and it's been a whirlwind ever since. No lulls whatsoever. So it feels as if time stopped right then and there. I still blast my radio and crack open my sunroof. I still enjoy a PB&J once in a while. I can hardly contain myself on Christmas Eve. I find myself saying some of the same catch words I did 14 years ago - "awesome", "cool" and "stoked". I remember prom as if it were yesterday.

The reality of what I see in the mirror, however, tells me that time did not stop. I just lost track of it. And so I have to stop and think when someone asks me how old I am.

32 years. It's just old enough to start seeing some prominent changes, but not old enough to start complaining too much. I have noticed my body is slowing down. I wake up to a few more stiff joints and sore muscles than even just a few years ago. I have stretch marks and other such battle wounds that really bothered me at first glance, but have since become a symbol of love. Things aren't as tone as they once were, but I take good care of myself . So I take all that in stride.

I really look forward to growing older, to entering the "winter of my life", because I have this idea that aging will bring me closer and closer to peace. And I don't look at aging as a physical thing so much as a spiritual thing. I am not insecure the way I was before marriage and motherhood, because there's just no time to waste on vanity. And yet, there is more reason than ever to check my butt over and over, ad nauseum, in the mirror before I leave the house.

I miss the care free college days, and reminisce from time to time, but am grateful not to have to deal with the stresses of breaking into the adult world anymore.

I feel settled. I'm content. There's no concern that I may be missing out on something, because my life has been full. The things I want to accomplish in life have little to do with my physical capabilities. "Climb Mt. Everest" is not on my to-do list before I die. I just want to remain healthy and live long so that I can enjoy the fruits of all my labors.

I can feel that the passing of time has helped me to become more serene over the years. And when I look at pictures of myself, it surprises me how that has become evident in my eyes, in my smile, in my whole countenance, and that although I notice the other not-so-positive physical changes in me, I am more radiant.

I say time has been pretty good to me.

But we'll see how I feel when I hit menopause. ;)

*Everyone participating sign Mr. Linky down here and leave a comment. Then go on over to Seeds From My Garden!

20 comments:

Julie said...

I enjoyed your post! It seems we think quite a bit alike. :-) I have read two other posts so far and it's been really fun! I'm looking forward to more.

An Ordinary Mom said...

I can relate so well to everything you wrote, probably because we are close to the same age and probably because we seem to have similar personalities!

I love how you explain aging more as a spiritual thing than as a physical thing. That's how I view it. I am not necessarily anxious to hurry along the aging process, but I am looking forward to the wisdom and peace that comes with age.

Ivey Elizabeth Sirmans said...

You are right about the 32 years. Settled defines it. I see a little extra around the middle, remains from three babies. The start of crows feet are starting to appear. I miss those days, but would not return for the life of me. Happy and content in my 32 years.

Tigersue said...

Great post. I don't think mine was nearly as positive. I do agree about feeling settled and content.

Belladonna said...

I recently saw a group photo of my high school class taken at a 30 year reunion that I did not attend. Having moved far away both geographically and personally from most of those folks, I had not really kept up with them at all. I was stunned at how much they had all grown OLDER. How could that be?? I was still ME, yet they had gone bald, gotten fat, grown wrinkled, and shifted in so many ways.

That prompted me to take a bit more scrupulous look in the mirror myself. GULP. It's interesting how much our inside self remains even though out outside self marches on in lock step with entropy. Yet each age has its blessings.

It has been great to read what various others have had to say on this. I'm really glad you started this challenge!

Kristen said...

You and I are at exactly the same point in our lives. Same age and all! I can relate so much to what you wrote! I still feel like I'm 16 or 18, too sometimes. Crazy isn't it?

Kristen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linds said...

It is lovely to read all these posts, Lei and to get to know you all better. Thanks for arranging this with Morning glory!

Lee said...

I loved your post Lei. How great! This is a great idea, and was really good for me. Thanks so much!

Susie said...

I enjoyed reading your perspective on this topic! In all honesty, even at my age, I still have to sometimes remind myself how old I actually am.
Age really is a state of mind.
Glad you and Morning Glory put this together!!
:)

Maine Mom said...

I'm liking these woman to woman posts!
When I look at pictures of myself from the past, I am always amazed at how young and skinny I look (when at the time I felt fat and was very concerned about my looks). I wonder what I'll think of myself as I look back 10 years from now.
I am enjoying my 30's :-)

Dawn said...

I'm back to thank you for the incredibly encouraging words from you. I didn't think I had much to say till I started writing, then it just rolled out - and I edited at least 3 times as other things came to mine!

I take care of my grandkids every afternoon, so I often am being tugged on when I type - doesn't work too well!

Morning Glory said...

"I am content" and the stretch marks have become "a symbol of love." Lei, it doesn't get much better than that. The serenity shows in your face and I love what you have to say.

This has been so much fun!! I look forward to the next one.

Zoe said...

I am slowing down too!! It is a reality check to hear you, my old roommate, whom I will always remember as youthful and 21, as accepting times decay. Ohhhh. I like this post.

Kate said...

So lovely to "meet" you today! Thanks so much for sharing your woman to woman post...at 28 yrs old, I can really identify with what you shared. How I miss those "carefree" days...but I wouldn't trade where I am to go back there. God is good. Stretch marks are "battle wounds" to be PROUD of!! :) Have a blessed day!!

Montserrat said...

Wonderful sentiments you shared. I, too think of aging as a spiritual process, from the experiences we've had rather than how many years we've actually lived.

Jen said...

Thanks for sharing your insights.

Pattie said...

Wow, this post made me smile...you are a lucky woman to feel so happy and complete. I am also quite content, even at 40!
Thank for stopping by my blog recently. It was nice to see you back around
:)

Tracey said...

I found your blog via Morning Glory; glad I did!

When I was 32, I was giving birth to Darling, my 13 year old daughter. I used to think life began at 30, but a friends mother assured me it was even sweeter at 40! Well, she was right =)

Lammy said...

32 is heading into the "Winter" of your life?
*sigh*
Loved this post.