Today is my birthday.
I am 42 years old.
I know that women generally don’t like to talk about their age, but to not be able to say the number is like not being able to say Voldermort. It gives your youth and your past more power than your present. To avoid, deny, or lie about one’s age is to be afraid or ashamed of aging.
So you will not hear me saying that I am “29 again”.
Or “30 something”.
I am 42.
As I’ve thought about getting older and dealing with all the emotions that come with it, I’ve concluded that for me to be depressed about aging is essentially for me to value beauty over wisdom.
To deny my age, is to deny what those extra years have taught me.
To think that it is better to be younger is to devalue my growth.
I’m not going to lie and say that aging isn’t difficult. It gets harder and harder to look in the mirror every day. My eyes are no longer as bright as they once were. The bags and the dark circles take away from the blue. My skin still has its youthful zits, but it also has its wrinkles and age spots. My teeth have more pockets and I have more chins. My body can no longer dive to the ground and pop up again in one motion. I have less energy and more aches. And forget about one-take selfies. (This one is probably #10 and I think my phone has a built in filter.)
But to be younger would be to give up experience and knowledge and wisdom.
To be younger would mean I’d have to go back to a place where I competed and compared… a place where I judged more, where I thought I had more control, where I had less compassion and more answers, where I cared what people thought about me, where I wanted approval and recognition, where I didn’t appreciate moments and nature and ordinary days. Where I wasted time on unimportant things and where I cared about getting things done more than I cared about appreciating the day.
I wasn’t a bad person when I was younger, but I am better older. I appreciate what I know now that I didn’t know then.
So why others may be afraid of being 42, I am not.
I am choosing to embrace the escalating years because to embrace aging is to value wisdom over beauty. It is to embrace experience over energy and perspective over perfection.
I am 42.
How many years wiser are you?