When I flip through my monthly stack of women’s magazines, I see the same message over and over again: aging is bad. You should try to stop it, prevent it and reverse it. And here’s how you can do it.
But I’ve recently realized that I actually love aging.
Let me first point out that I’m only 27, so my experience with getting older is limited. But after the turmoil of my immediate post-college years, getting older has been awesome.
Every year seems to get better. I get more financially stable, my husband and I get along better, even the furniture and clothes I have slowly get upgraded.
But it’s less about material stability and more about how secure I feel in my own skin. The older I get, the less I care what people think about me or what I look like.
In high school and college, I really wanted bigger boobs. Because, really, what girl with a B cup didn’t?
Recently a friend told me how she went on a certain medication that amplified her rack. I told her jokingly, “Oh, I’d hate to buy new bras all over again.” But truthfully, I don’t want a bigger rack. I’m comfortable with what I have, and it’s taken me years to get to this point.
I also have spent the majority of my life hating my pale white skin. I was teased for looking like a vampire or a ghost, and I’ve always been jealous of those with natural tans. But after getting the worst sunburn of my life a few weeks ago, I realized how much I liked my ivory skin. Tan skin looks great on other people, but on me, it looked like mud I couldn’t wipe off.
The things I cared about, even a few years ago, seem petty now. Who cares if I don’t have a perfect flat stomach? That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t wear a bikini and feel good about it. Why should I worry about wearing my husband’s PJs to the grocery store?
My priorities seem clearer with age. While I still want people to like me, I’ve started to worry less if they don’t. I can’t make everyone happy and I shouldn’t spend my time trying. I feel less of a desire to badmouth and judge other women. The more comfortable I feel with myself, the less I’m threatened by other people.
I see how happy, successful and comfortable my older relatives are. My mom has always been secure with herself, but now I truly realize that she DGAF. I see other women I admire who embrace their age, but continue to be active physically and mentally. They don’t see their age as a hindrance, and that inspires me to keep trying new things and getting better.
While many of my peers see their 30s as deadline that they hope to avoid, I’m looking forward to them. Granted, I miss being able to stay up until 4:00 a.m. and get up at 9:00, but I don’t miss wanting to be like every other girl I knew. I miss the lack of bills that I had in high school, but don’t miss constantly worrying about boys who didn’t care about me.
One of my favorite movies, “Moscow Doesn’t Believe in Tears,” tells the story of three best friends. The first half of the movie follows them for one year in their 20s. The main character meets a man who tells her that life really begins at 40. “40?” she tells me. “I’ll be an old lady by then.”
The second half of the movie sees where they are 20 years later, as the main character finds out, even at 40, it’s never too late to start a new life.
I would always joke with my parents that if life began at 40, then they were just toddlers. But now I see that life, love and self-awareness all get better with age. And I’m looking forward to mine.