I just began my 47th trip around the sun.
Are you frickin’ kidding me??????????
The number itself feels much denser than the way I actually feel. Especially today. Life travels down a linear path, so I know intellectually, there’s no other option than progressing with time. There are instances that I notice my body-container that has traveled with me on this trip around the sun is in fact, aging. But my spirit remains ageless.
I woke up the morning of my birthday, refreshed, alive and excited.
And I felt a little fear and shame about the post I had scheduled to share for Sunday, October 6th .
So, I stopped it from publishing.
The post called “Getting old(er)” is excerpted (and edited) below. My early morning decision to halt the article was deliberate.
I didn’t want to feel the shame I had accessed when I wrote the article. I didn’t want to make that the dominant energy of my birthday. It was intentional. But today, I’m feeling brave in order to revisit those emotions.
Here’s an excerpt of the original post:
We left the US, I was 42. It was my “meaning of life” year and I felt young and excited about what lay ahead. But now, somehow turning 47 this year feels very different. Do I feel a number? No, not really. But I do see the changes these 5 years have taken on my body. But does it really matter?
I am aging. My hair is thinning, I have lines, circles, sags, wrinkles where they were not before. My body is changing, weight accumulates in places it had not accumulated before. But does it really matter?
Hiking isn’t as easy for me. My lungs don’t fill up with air as easily, my muscles shudder when pushed. I feel my body’s limits as I age… But does it really matter?
At times, I feel shame about how my body looks. My clothes bundle, bunch and gather in places it shouldn’t. My breasts are heavy and my middle is thick. I do not measure up the conventional standards of beauty anymore.
But does it really matter?
Because I am not my body.
What is beauty? I used to model for my life drawing art classes when I was in college. In contrast to now, my body was light, lean and flexible. I had a different relationship to my body then I do now. But does it really matter?
No, none of it really matters.
My heart beats. My lungs draw breath. My mind produces thought. My veins circulate blood. My body feels the inner dance. All is how it should be.
Everyone gets older.
But what do I have?
I have a smile that shines brighter than most stars. I have a will that is stronger than a herd of buffalos. I have curiosity greater than any cat. I have love, as expansive as the universe.
My body is my vehicle. And it’s taking my on a journey. And it’s serving me well. It will continue to change. I need to shift my perspective that “change” is beautiful. Then remind myself over and over that this is true.
My spirit remains the same.
I honor my body for taking me though this world. My body has served me well and hoping it will continue to do so for years to come. As my body moves through the cycles of life, I hope I can always remain in grace with its changes. What an honor to experience your cycle, but my spirit is timeless, ageless, conscious and expansive.
Redefining my life on my own terms has been reasonably simple up until now.
Now it’s time to redefine my idea of beauty, body image and aging.
Together, my body, my spirit, we experience the limits of time and it only matters as much as I let it matter.
So it’s up to me to shift that perception.
I suppose there remains some personal work I need to do surrounding my issues with getting older. But after reading this quote this morning I decided to share this post after all.
“It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily or heave sharp edges or have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
~ The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
It’s not all of what occupies my thoughts. But it’s some of it. The shame of aging is culturally deep rooted and destructive.
But today, I’m looking forward to my hair being loved off and my eyes dropping out, because you know what? I’m living! I’m laughing. I’m real! And, I’m enjoying it all so much.
I declare to myself, it is exactly how it’s supposed to be. And what is in front of me is my beautiful aging 47 year old self.
And so it is.