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.
To be younger again would mean I would have to give up what I now understand about God and faith and agency. I would have to give up some self-knowledge and some self-love.
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?
11 thoughts on “I Am 42.”
This is beautiful. ^_^
Also, everyone knows that 42 is the answer to life, the universe, and everything — why wouldn’t you want that? ^_~
I did not know this!!!!! But I googled it and figured out what you are talking about. You have given me inspiration for my 42nd year. I am going to figure out the answer to my life this year!!! Should I read the book?
What a great post 🙂 I’ve thought the same thing when my family members and friends have denied their age, etc, but not in such a good/complete way. I was totally OK with aging until it started happening to me, 10 years earlier than I thought it would! It’s a struggle to deal with the physical aspects, but it’s also a blessing to grow in wisdom, and even to grow older when that blessing is taken away from others who die prematurely. I think 42 is great 🙂 You look great, and I appreciate all the wisdom you share here!
Thanks, Laura! Let’s see if I still have this positive attitude when I’m 52.:) But I do appreciate your point about those that die young. We are blessed to be as old as we are.
Well I’ll be… I’d have bet money you were early- to mid-thirties, and just exceptionally wise 🙂
Dang it, I gave up my cover!
Beautiful thoughts,Tiff. I grew up with a mommy that hated birthdays and hates getting older. I’ve always vowed to not do that but I’ve never thought of it from this perspective. I will change my thinking about age. Also, just for the record I think you just get more beautiful with age.
Thanks, Shelley. That is sweet of you.
Yes! This is so great. I am only 31, but I vowed years ago that I would never be ashamed of or seek to conceal my age. In fact, it’s just been in the last year that I spoke in church partly about being grateful for my age. I have a sister-in-law who actually mourned turning 30, and I just laughed and laughed b/c I thought it was so silly. A couple of years later I turned 30, and she asked how I felt about it. I laughed, knowing she expected me to maybe be a bit depressed, but I told her I felt just fine about it – grateful, in fact. When I was younger I could not imagine me past age 25 (not sure if I thought I would die young or what). So, every year past that feels like a bonus year to me. hahaha More years to learn, grow, and repent – that doesn’t sound like reason to mourn to me!
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