The beginning of a New Year usually encourages mankind to analyze the year before and prepare for a better one. Topics of personal healthcare, eating better, working out and organizing are usually on the top of everyone’s search list. This year on Facebook I’ve noticed several people posting pictures of themselves with the “ten year challenge” with the caption, “how hard did I age?”
The first couple side-by-side 10 year challenge pictures were fun. I loved seeing what that person looked like before I knew them. The more pictures appeared on my social media feed, I slowly started to see the narrative of “fun” turn to distaste and self-hate. For most, aging is something we fear. The wrinkles, extra layers of skin, sun spots, grey hairs, loss of muscle… oh man that negative list could continue- and yet where is the positive?
Growing Old is a Gift
I found not one, or two but five gray hairs in the same spot on my head. Oh Betty did I have a fruit-loop! I’m only thirty-two and I discovered I had a ton of gray hairs! I instantly grabbed my tweezers and plucked those suckers out of my head. The following day, I noticed underneath those dark circles as evidence of my months lacks of sleep- I had wrinkles. Deep eye-crinkling wrinkles. I suddenly felt very self conscious of my “old face” and then I was reminded of something my mother said to me before she passed away- Growing old is a gift.
My mother died at the young age of fifty. I didn’t realize how young fifty was, until I lost her. I didn’t realized all of the time, memories and experiences she would miss out on her own life, not to mention mine until death’s door was waiting for her. Growing old is a gift. Up until that point in my life I saw growing old as a curse filled with joint pain and doctor upon doctor visits. As I sat beside my mother’s bedside crying about the memories I would no longer make with her or the Grandkids she wouldn’t meet, I realized that indeed, growing old is a gift.
Growing old is a gift- because you’ve lived! What memories and stories can you pass onto your family? My father has lived a very adventurous life and I love hearing his life-stories. I hope he thinks it’s a gift to see his children become parents. I hope I will see my grandchildren become parents. My children have a great-grandmother who is very involved in our lives. We are lucky to have her, be spoiled by her delicious cooking and hear her stories. We’re not judging her wrinkles- we’re grateful she’s apart of our lives.
Living a life and seeing your children and even grandchildren become parents is a gift! Seeing a child overcome hardship and mold into the person they are over time is a gift! Seeing first-hand the change of heart in someone is gift. Let’s not focus our attention on the negative side of “how hard did I age” let’s instead focus on the people we have become in those ten years.
They say your face is a road map of your life. Those laugh wrinkles show off your humor and the ability you have to laugh at others and at yourself too. The sun spots could tell of the adventures you’ve explored in the great outdoors. The scares on your body each tell of an event- perhaps silly and reckless, perhaps monumental like children baring. Each moment we live is worth documenting- your body is evidence of that. So live your life- to the fullest. Be thankful for a working body today and take care of it! Make those New Years goals today to take better care of yourself. You’ll be glad you made the healthy adjustments later. Look at the life you’ve lived, the adventures you’ve experienced and perhaps even the hard times you’ve made it through. Give yourself a pat on the back you’ve done it!
The last ten years might have been a challenge- but you’ve grown, changed, and hopefully improved from that person from ten years ago. Look at that face in the mirror everyday and smile at those changes. You are living! You are alive, learning, improving and making memories with those you love. Don’t be afraid of aging, sure color your hair if that’s what you’d like- I do! But, turn your inner voice from hating or fearing those aging changes to the positive and choose to see growing old as a gift- because it is!
Sharing with you my favorite “flashback” pictures because I love seeing the biggest change in these pictures- the additions to my adventurous life.