I usually link to other bloggers’ pieces in my weekly round-ups. But I just had to highlight Jen Louden’s gorgeous piece about aging.
Aging is a sensitive subject. Conversations about aging often include a lot of sighing, grimacing and eye rolling.
Our bodies go through many changes as we age, many unwelcome changes: deep lines etched into our faces; graying hair; rougher skin; softer, cushier bodies; stretch marks; sagging.
We learn, sometimes from a young age, that these changes are bad. They are undesirable.
Margarita Tartakovsky is an associate editor at PsychCentral.com, an award-winning mental health website, and the voice behind Weightless, a blog that helps women deal with body image issues and disordered eating. She also writes a monthly feature for Beliefnet.com, covering topics such as patience and procrastination.
Editor: Muhammad Talha
And, even if we don’t internalize these messages, it’s hard when the face we see in the mirror may not resemble the one we see in our minds.
But here’s the thing about those changes, those often unwanted, unwelcome, frustrating changes: They’re signs that we’re still here.
As Jen writes in her beautiful post:
“That’s the most salient benefit I know about aging – it teaches you gratitude. Pure animal gratitude. In the steamy-trenches-of-life savoring gratitude. It teaches you to celebrate the beauty of these three words: I’m still here.
In my 20′s and 30′s, even the first half of my 40′s, I talked a good talk about being present and savoring life, but there is nothing like loss to teach you true. What I wouldn’t give to hug my dad one more time, to hug Eric, my brilliant friend-brother lost to addiction, to sit around the Sunday dinner table with all those aunts and uncles and cousins – all gone but one. What I wouldn’t give to feel my body paddling up a north-flowing river, pain free and so very, very able. So many pockets of life passed on. Such is the current that carries us.
And such is the gratitude – you are here, being carried. Breathing. Hugging your beloveds.”
Your body — with all its flaws, blemishes and imperfections — is here. And that is a blessing. A miracle, really. (A life is a miracle, no doubt.)
Your body is here to live the life you want. To hang out with your favorite people. To read your favorite books. To eat your favorite foods. To watch your favorite shows.
Your body is here to take a walk in the snow and feel the chill against your skin. To swim in a vast ocean, lying on your back, staring at a cloudless sky. To dance and feel the energy surge through your body. To laugh with friends. To explore new places.
Your body is here to blast music and sing in the shower. To smell the sweet, soothing scent of lavender. To sip hot chocolate in your sweats, curled up on the couch, watching “Castle.”
It’s here to love, to share, to create, to express pain and pleasure.
Aging is complicated. It has many layers — layers of regret, maybes, big transitions, possibly painful revelations. And all those things are valid. How you feel is valid. And important.
But it’s also important to pause and realize that aging also means that we’re still here.
We’re still here — wrinkles, sagging skin, softer-bodied, and hearts beating. Vigorously.