Young As I’ll Ever Be

I grew up hearing about how my mom didn't get an engagement ring from my dad, per se. Instead, she received the gorgeous emerald cut diamond that I coveted most of my childhood as a "holyshitimthirtyandhavetwokidsunder18months" present (peace offering?). Apparently, she had a meltdown on par with Britney shaving her head and attacking the paparazzi with an umbrella over the big 3-0. Which I never really understood. I mean, it's just another year, right?

WRONG. As soon as I turned thirty, I started saying, "I'm too old to…" about just about everything. I'm too old to…have long hair, wear makeup with "shimmer", go to certain bars (I'm looking at you, "Pearl" which is really just a fancy way of saying "Liquid Blue"). I mean, I'm thirty now. That's, like, at least halfway to being dead. (Which is actually not true, except in my head.)

I stare at myself in the mirror constantly. "Is that an age spot? Fine lines and wrinkles; there is nothing fine about those lines. How long have I looked like this? Why isn't Ry aging AT ALL?" I buy products that I'm pretty sure are formulated for women twice my age. Whatever, I am stopping the aging process. 

Except for the fact that I am not. It is not stopping, or reversing as some of these things claim. I am as young today as I will ever be. 

Here's the thing – I am over thirty. I have two children under the age of six (but, thankfully, over the age of three!). I think maybe my stomach is supposed to be a little round, my laugh lines are supposed to be starting to show, and I am not supposed to be able to walk around without a bra. Those things mean I incubated and nursed two tiny humans, and that I somehow managed to laugh while I was doing it. 

And, contrary to popular belief, I will probably never look younger than I do today. So I have two choices: continue to obsess over something I cannot change or age gracefully. I choose aging gracefully.

Which does not mean I will stop working out, or putting on wrinkle cream, or wearing my hair halfway down my back. I'm not going to let myself go; I am going to give myself a little leeway. To look and act good for my age, or even just my age. Because given the alternative – not aging – this is what I choose.

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