Vanity is something I was kind of born into. My mother was a very vain person. She never went without makeup, fixed hair and every piece of jewelry she owned. Her body was her prized possession and she took really good care of it. I was taught that your brain gets you places but your looks can take you even farther. Never eat two starches at dinner and never leave the house without sunless tanner are a couple of things that I was taught pretty early on.
Looking back through photos of me as a young adult, I think I was attractive. I might not have been stunning, but I felt pretty comfortable with myself. I’ve lost weight and gained weight a few times since then but I have always remained pretty confident.
My 40th is approaching quickly and the closer I get, I swear the less confident I feel. My face is starting to show its age. My body isn’t the best. I find myself comparing myself to others around my age, which is something I haven’t really done before now. My uniform at home has gone from cute shorts and shirts to straight up “tragic wear:” leggings, old t-shirts that are pretty embarrassing, hair that stays on my head and I may or may not have shoes on my feet.
There are some parts of myself that I have learned to accept and even love about myself. My lips for one. They have always been large and what was once a source of ridicule from my peers is now one of my best features. There are a few other things about myself that I am happy with but generally speaking, I just feel so old.
This isn’t a good time to feel this way, since it is the age of social media and influencers. Every blog I read and photo I see shows someone that looks young and vibrant. The complete opposite of how I feel. The music in stores feels so loud and everyone looks so young.
Yup. I am getting older.
I recently read an article on the website that starts with a G and sounds like Poop about why we feel older and more insecure. It said I am stressed (duh, Gwyneth), my microbiome was out of whack and that I am lacking a sense of passion.
Personally I think it’s because I feel haggard all of the time. Combine that with an unhealthy amount of anxiety and you have a train wreck of a 39 year old woman. I look in the mirror and I feel like I see a body that looks like it is melting. Where did my neck go? Since when did these crows feet appear constantly and not just when I smile?
I do know one thing for sure and that is that it’s only going to get worse. Pretty comforting, right? Look, we are all getting older and that’s just the way it is. We can either accept it or let it get the best of it. That doesn’t mean that we have to LIKE it, but we don’t have to hate it, either. With age comes wisdom and with wisdom comes knowing that even if we feel like our best days are behind us, that is far from the truth.