In less than two months I'll be turning 40. I don't know what people out there are saying about 40 being the new 20 or 30 or some other younger age, and why they would say sh*t like that. The truth is, or at least in MY universe, I think 40 could be the new 50. Or even 60. It could be that I'm just being hormonal right now, taking away my bright-ray-of-sunshine personality (Really? Am I ever???). But the harsh reality is that I'm aging and I absolutely can't deny it any more.
At 36, I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the hands. Only a couple of my fingers showed symptoms and I have been able to manage them so it's been no big deal. Then about a year and a half ago, it was on my left knee. That has been more tricky as I know that it will only get worse and that my mobility will definitely be affected. I can no longer run long distances and when I overdo it on the treadmill, my knees definitely suffer. I also now have a harder time kneeling, squatting and doing some incline walking.
I thought it would all stop with my joint problems, but how wrong I was.
Recently I went to the drugstore to get some 'vanity items'. (Yes, I'm too practical to go for brand name cosmetics unless absolutely necessary). In the past, I'd come walking out of there with lipstick, blush, eye shadow, moisturizer or just your normal foundation. Never in a million years did I expect that I would ever walk out of there with these items in my bag....at my age, at this time in my life....(and no, this is not a sponsored post or paid advertisement)....
But it is what it is. When I look at my self in the mirror these days, I don't see the 'glow' anymore. I'm grateful I still don't have acne or real, deep lines and wrinkles. However, I also look tired and now see more spots. I swear there are days when I fear I'm just going to look in the mirror and suddenly see a freakin' dalmatian staring back at me! Sun spots, age spots, they're all the same. They're appearing in places that's hard to conceal and I'm left to resort to the powers of these elixirs.
I also have dark under eye circles that make me look even more dull and aged! I can't help but feel nostalgic for those days when I was still teaching and some of my female students would approach me after class just to ask what soap I use on my skin, or if I have a special beauty regimen. Some of them said I looked 'radiant', whatever that means. I remember that during that time, I didn't even wear 'serious' make-up just because it was too hot and I would itch and feel irritated. Fast forward to today when I wouldn't dare step out of the house without making sure I try to even out my skin tone, even just a bit, just so I don't look like a zombie.
And don't get me wrong. It's not just all about my skin and how I look that makes me feel really old these days. For weeks now, I've noticed that my farsightedness is getting worse. Last Sunday in church, I had to stretch my arm all the way in front of me just to see the words on the hymn book clearly. My arms were stretched so far that I almost touched the back of the person knelt on the kneeling bench in front of us. How embarrassing is that? I know I need to see a doctor and get some glasses. I'm not in denial. I'm simply procrastinating and extending my sense of youth. Ha!
Aging is inevitable and I'm not trying to run away from it. I know more aches and pains, spots and wrinkles and other struggles will come. I accept that. It's just that now, more than ever, I'm realizing that there is greater pressure for me to find and cultivate that 'inner glow'. Let's face it. There are really old people who glow and shine in spite of all the wrinkles and spots and gray hair. And no, it's not because of cosmetics and botox. I'm talking about naturally glowing OLDER people whose inner beauty, joyous spirit and sense of peace shine through. That's what I want. That's what can't be purchased at any cosmetic counter or gym or doctor's office. That kind of timeless beauty is harder to cultivate, harder to possess and even harder to keep. I just pray I still have enough time to work at it. Tick-tock, tick-tock, I better get to work!
“The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole,but true beauty in a Woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she knows.” ― Audrey Hepburn