This summer, I quietly turned 59. One of my friends jokingly pointed out that I’m no longer a “mid-lifer” unless I live to be 120. Gosh, and I just got used to referring to myself as a “mid-lifer”! It doesn’t seem like time has passed at all, and yet a sprinkling of grey hair has appeared at my temples, and my skin doesn’t have the resiliency it once did. Physically, I’m not as strong, nor as limber, but I still enjoy yoga and ice dancing. I rise each morning grateful for the day unfolding before me and go to bed thankful for the miracles that make up my days. (Most of the time!)
When I look at myself in the mirror, I’m not upset with my aging face and body, rather, I take a little time to celebrate as I care for and nurture myself. I celebrate the fact that this body gave birth to an amazing daughter. This body has received and given 59 years of love. This body has survived illness, sexual and physical assault and a multitude of disappointments and hurts. The key here is that I’ve survived all of it, and thrived in this aging body. That’s a lot to be grateful for.
We are all in different places with how we feel about our bodies, we have different beliefs and mindsets, and varying degrees of good health. No matter where we are, no matter how old or young, how healthy or unhealthy, big or small, there is one thing that smooths all wrinkles and sagging skin— supersedes weight and even acne; one thing that shines through no matter what else is going on in our lives, and that is whether or not we have chosen love over fear.
Marianne Williamson once said there are two modes of being: love or fear. Some of us operate from a place of fear and lack. Others come from a place of love and abundance. These mindsets govern us, no matter our age, no matter our weight, outer appearance, or sexual orientation. Either love or fear shows up through our intentions, then are transmitted through our words and deeds. In short, love or fear is amplified when our thoughts turn into words and actions. The true intention behind our actions is the measure of who we are, and, quite frankly, at the end of the day, nothing else about us really matters.
When it comes to my body, I have learned to love it. The practice of loving my body has guided me to make healthier food choices, care for my body more mindfully, exercise more appropriately and while I do have health challenges from time to time, learning to love and care for my body has laid the ground work for my ability to love myself, and love and care for others.
As we move forward in our lives, whether we are younger or older, we have an opportunity to choose how we show up in the world, how we interact with life and the people around us. The energy of self acceptance, and the energy of loving kindness is an energy that supersedes all others, is ageless and ultimately does win out.