A few weeks ago I was talking with someone about doing one thing every day that scares you. She told me she heard the quote and liked it. She thought it was attributable to Eleanor Roosevelt (she was correct). She explained it was a way to feel more alive. To live bigger. To live bolder.
I commented I wasn’t sure I did something that scared me every day, but many days I did. I like the quote too. I like living fuller.
The person I was chatting with then told me she did one thing every day that really scared her. She looked in the mirror.
I know she was being funny. But I still felt sad. I think this person is beautiful. She is older. She is aging. AND she is beautiful.
It got me wondering about aging. And beauty. And acceptance. I am sure there are people far smarter and knowledgeable on this topic than me. I am sure if I searched the web I would find multiple articles on the sociology, psychology, and other ologies of aging, beauty and societal norms. So I do not want to wade into any of that today.
Instead I simply want to say if I were my own best friend I would try to honor myself and my beauty at whatever age I happen to be. I would remind myself to celebrate the age I am today. Not the age I was 10, 20, 30 years ago. I would try to honor the miracle of being here another day, year, decade.
Look in the mirror and celebrate the wrinkles. The graying, silvering, thinning hair. The age spots. The droops and sags. Be grateful for another day.
When a seven-year old asks me how old I am on my birthday, tell them my actual age. Demonstrate for them that it is okay (and maybe even something to celebrate) when I turn 68 or 75 or 82 or 97.
Then with all my silver hair, wrinkles, and sags, go out and swim in the lake. Hike somewhere new. Travel somewhere I’ve never been. Learn to play ukulele. Make a new friend. Make cinnamon rolls. Join the local community center. Volunteer at a homeless shelter. And simply be scared by doing something new and uncomfortable. Be scared by learning and stretching my limits, not by the beautiful face that shines back at me in the mirror.