By Samantha McKenzie
I just celebrated a birthday, so aging has been on my mind. I’m not usually consumed with getting older, but I must admit, the closer I came to approaching more of my “middle-aged-ness,” the more concerned I grew.
Will I be the oldest parent at my child’s graduation? Will I ever lose this weight? Should it take me this long to get out of bed? I tortured myself for six months straight and for a moment there, I let it get the best of me.
Between the influence of the entertainment industry and the onslaught of advertisements, it’s a wonder how a woman can have a healthy thought about herself these days. Everyone wants to stay young and everyone else is in business to figure out how to get you to believe looking younger is the answer to all of your problems.
In this youth-is-for-sale culture, we are bombarded with negative images of aging. We are taught to hurry up and find a good man in our 20s and to crank out a few babies before it’s too late. Before what’s too late? We even started catch phrases like, “40 is the new 25.” No really, 40 is 40 and that’s perfectly okay.
To be honest, the best thing about my 20s was that I no longer had a curfew, I could live off minimal amounts of sleep and could eat 1,000 calories per meal and not gain a pound. But besides that, I was lacking.
My birthday came and went this weekend and so did my worry. I got over it.
I realized that I really do love aging. I have learned to let go of things I can’t control and worry less about things that are too minuscule to bother with anyway. I nixed the temper tantrums, the “gotta have it my way or the highway” pouts and obsessing over EVERYTHING. During these past two decades, I discovered more of myself and continue to find my good along with my bad.
What’s been good about aging? Today, I’m proud to say that I earn more money than before, expose myself to a wider variety of people, eat healthier, care more, spend time relaxing instead of running, and don’t cave in to peer pressure like I did in my youth. I’ve upped my spirituality and don’t mind laughing until I fall out the chair if the moment calls for it.
I’m glad to wake up each day now a more confident, wiser, patient, loving and compassionate woman. I might add that I’ve fined tuned the art of charm and wit. I’m closer to the woman I want to be.
I found the beauty in getting older and it had nothing to do with my facial features or my body type. Contrary to popular belief, there’s no forever-young pill and beauty doesn’t really come off of a clothing rack or makeup counter. Don’t believe the hype.
Aging beautifully began inside of me, with a steadfast belief that growing old simply meant getting better.