I have more lines on my face each year and every morning I look like someone beat the snot out of me overnight. Things just aren’t the same as they were in my 20s, and I’m not shocked by it, but it is a bit surreal. Aging is this thing people talk about, and you blow it off when you’re younger. Ah, whatever. That won’t happen to me. And then one day you squat down to pick something up, your knees crack and you let out a sound usually reserved for birthing an elephant, and realize it’s happening.
I’m 44, and of course I feel a difference as I age. I have less energy, my body has more sag and road-map lines on it, and my list of aches and pains can now fit on a biblical scroll. It can be discouraging, but I keep trying to find a balance of fighting it hard by taking care of myself and leaning into it the best I can by not getting so discouraged that I miss the good parts of aging.
As I age, I’ve noticed the one gift it has afforded me is clarity. I see the big picture more clearly now, and of course I wish I had this clear vision when I was younger as I flailed around searching for solid ground. Age has given me a confidence of staying in my own lane and not caring if I’m in last place.
You’ve got a better paying job than I do? Cool, I’ll be right here sipping my coffee watching the sunset with my husband on the back porch. You’re younger and prettier than I am? Yep, that sucks, but you have the turmoil of being young and having to climb that hill that I already climbed.
And that’s how I feel right now–like I’m at the top of a hill it took years to climb and I’m enjoying the view most days. Of course some days it can be scary to look down the other side and know I’m entering what I assume is the second half of my life. And yes I have dark days where I think about how sad it would be to get to the end quicker than I assume I will.
But that sprinkling of fear is okay, and I welcome it in. It whispers to me to live deeply, to play hard, to work hard and to absorb all the moments because the ride downhill comes with no guarantees.
The climb uphill in life when I was younger was about figuring it all out, looking for a place to land and going through it all with a thick cloud of doubt and self-consciousness. The irony of aging is more wrinkles and spider veins tend to bring more confidence for me because the focus is forced to the inside instead of on the surface.
I care less and less what people think of me and I don’t doubt my worth like I once did. This confidence is what moves me forward most days more than the fear of not knowing what the future holds.
As we live this one life we have, we have a choice to assume the best days are behind us, or we can scream fearlessly at the top of the hill and know each day is a gift and not just a morbid stepping stone to take us to the bottom of the hill.
The fiery, sassy 20 year old I once was still lives within me. She just drinks more water and makes wiser choices these days. So why not forge ahead with the confident, older me at the wheel with the younger, more gritty version of me nudging her to keep having fun and being curious about life?
That’s the balance I’m striving to find each day as I enjoy the ride, wherever it goes, and whatever it brings. Join me, won’t you?
Rebecca Rine is a writer at RebeccaRine.com where she writes honestly about the joys of an ordinary life and feeling it all. Her podcast “Real Life out Loud” can be heard on various platforms. Her short videos about life and “one thing to think about” can be found on YouTube. Over the pandemic, she has been off all other social media, and doesn’t plan on going back to it.
Image courtesy of Nathan McBride.