When I was in my 20s and trying to be taken seriously in the business world, I desperately wanted to be older. But then, I hit my 30s and felt my youth beginning to fade, and I desperately wanted to be younger!
I've struggled for the past five years or so with acceptance of my aging body. I don't lose weight as easily as I used to and decades spent sun-worshipping has damaged my skin. I'm also sprouting some gray hairs.
But recently, something clicked and I decided to give up the struggle. I realized that I have actually become that woman I wanted to be when I was in my 20s. I realized that my few gray hairs will have many more counterparts before too long, and there is truly no point in the fight against aging.
I have come to revel in the endless changes as I age, but not just the changes in my body. Here are five things I'm loving about getting older:
I am most grateful for the rich history of experiences I have to draw on — experience that can only be acquired over time. It took years for me to try different jobs, different relationships, different diets and living in different countries. It all took trial and error. I've learned so much from all of these experiences, but most of all, I've learned that I'm still learning. I'll never be able to do it all, have it all or be it all. It's those life experiences that have been the best teacher all along the way.
Another benefit of the aging process is I've managed to figure out what I like and don't like. This may seem simple, but it really took a lot of trying different options for me to really discover my true preferences.
When I was younger I always felt pressure to be outgoing, talkative and super social. But as I age and allow myself to do what feels best, I've discovered I'm much more of an introvert than I tried to be for so many years. I need alone time to recharge my batteries, and quiet time every day to feel centered and calm. I've figured out the foods that work best for my body, the work I enjoy the most, and the climate I thrive in — all of which are preferences that support my health and well-being, and took time and experience to be revealed.
This is by far the best part about aging. Because let's face it, lack of self-confidence just feels bad! Now that I'm older and have more experience under my belt, I feel confident in many situations where I was only faking it before.
I am confident in my abilities at work, in my capacity as a mother, and in the solidity of my marriage. I am confident that I can handle a crisis, and I am confident about my body, too. My body has climbed mountains and birthed children and undergone surgeries and survived illnesses. I know it will take me wherever life is leading me, and I love it dearly for that.
It is so fun to introduce a friend and say, "We've been friends for thirty years." Now that I'm older, I actually have friends that I've been close with for decades, and those friendships are beyond priceless. Friendships that span the majority of our lifetime are like the family we've chosen along the way. I count my blessings every day for the sisters I've adopted. My girlfriends and I know each other so well by now, that we can remind each other of who we truly are — brilliant, beautiful and powerful — when we forget.
I used to work hard to hide my scars, especially my pregnancy stretch marks.I had even looked into having them removed with a laser. But now, my attitude has changed completely. Each of my scars tell a story, and those stories make up my life.
There was the time I ran through a glass door when I was three-years-old (right eyebrow), the time I fell out of a tree when I was five (left knee), the time I got cut on my vending cart while selling lemonade in the mosh pit at a punk rock festival (left shin), my ankle surgery, and mosquito bites in Bali that left scars on my arms.
And as for the stretch marks across my body — these are the ones I wear with the most pride. They're evidence of the greatest miracle on Earth — growing and birthing life.
Compared to some, I am older, and compared to others, I am younger. But compared to no one, I am perfect just as I am, and only getting better with age.