Aging Gracefully?

Before I start this post please understand that this is not a plea for compliments! Please don’t compliment me but instead share how you have dealt with the issue yourself. Anything you may have learned may help others and myself!

I have been dealing more than ever with the issue of aging… I know, I KNOW I am only 31 what do I have to complain about? I guess the fact that my skin does not look like it did when I was 20! Its forcing me to realize I am FAR more vein than I ever thought myself to be. I didn’t realize until recently how much security I have put in my looks. The fact is, I know that I am not the plainest girl in the world, as well as I’m far from the most beautiful… but apparently I am devestated by the idea of eventually being old.

Believe me, I know how absolutely wrong this attitude is. I WISH I could tell you I have a great attitude about aging. I WISH I could tell you that I don’t look in the mirror and think about lifting my lids a little and botoxing the line between my eyebrows. I wonder what age I will have to be before I should lift the skin between my chin and my neck?

I look down at my arms and legs and see my mother’s skin. I loved that skin on my mom… so soft, so comforting and warm. But on me? I like the smooth skin that I’ll never get back.

I know when I’m 40, 50, 60 etc. I’m going to either laugh at my 30-year-old self or want to slap her! Intellectually and spiritually I know I’m being rediculous and ungrateful. So how can I get my obsessive vein self on the same page?

I WANT the Lord’s perspective. I WANT my heart changed. I want to value what is important while still maintaining what he gave me! In saying all that, I am not against some forms of plastic surgury… I just know that at 31… that this is not healthy. That I need to stop it!

I want to age gracefully. Some day I’m going to be nothing to “write home about” in the looks department, and I want my spirit to shine through that. I need to focus more on things that are truly important.

Do you struggle with this at all? Am I just horribly insecure? I didn’t THINK I was… but maybe I am? Any words of wisdom? Any one else figure out how to focus on this less?

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15 Responses to “Aging Gracefully?”


  1. 1 *Terramia* May 22, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    I understand… I am 31 as well! 32 this year…
    Just the way “thhhhh” rolls off the tongue.. boy, do I miss the “twwwwuuuu” badly!! There just seems to be a sense of invincibility back in that decade (like lay out in the sun, and no worries about immediate wrinkles!!).
    What is the 30’s? How can one define it? Mind, body, and spirit. A deeper relationship with those around us, including God… that I know and adore and cherish. I am wiser too I feel… that I treasure. But… I have not yet married, nor have a child. Time is ticking… and this makes me feel old (ugh, what a word!!). I find myself meandering down the cosmetic section of the drugstore trying to make sense of the barrage of anti-aging moisturizers and eyeline creams. I ogle the “fluff” mags in the checkout line and wonder why there is so much pressure for us to “keep up” with the youngies. I see laugh lines when I look in the mirror and freckles that were nonexistant a few years ago. Is it a female “thing”? Is this a time when our spiritual being surmount our physical bodies?
    “I want my spirit to shine through…”

    Soooooo…. I want to know too:
    How does one “age” gracefully?

    Please share… I stuck on this as well!

    (Wonderful post by the way, Mommy Zabs!
    Beauty in the beholder.. and you are all that, my dear!!)

  2. 2 shannon May 22, 2007 at 4:44 pm

    I hear ya. I never thought I was hung up on appearance too much, but I guess those were the days that I didn’t have several lines spanning my forehead, and I didn’t know what “pores” were because I couldn’t SEE them.

    So! A couple quick things from someone who is aging faster than my birthday’s tend to appear.

    To keep a handle on obsessing, I try to keep the bathroom light flattering, so that the everydayness of looking doesn’t eat at me constantly.

    Also, I’ve tried to wear more flattering clothing. As much as I wish I could be the cutie in the clingy t-shirts, I am much more attractive in a shirt with some form to it. Just covering up what I know is there, because I’m not ready to throw in the towel and slop around in something that obviously is disgusting on me.

    Lastly, Ryan’s opinion is huge for me, and since I’m so lucky that he thinks I look good, it helps my opinion out. I think he has figured that out, and while I sometimes doubt his sincerity, I sort of let it slide and take the compliment. That, and I stay busy and have always had an over-active imagination, I can literally, make myself think “everything’s great!”.

  3. 3 mommyzabs May 22, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    Thanks T.
    While i love who I am as a person more now than the me I as at 20, I would take her skin anyday 😉 I think you are right though, it’s more about our spirits now. I just want that to get through my vein skull!

    Shannon.
    You are right on the lighting! My problem has been that the pictures don’t lie and they are normally in natural light- IKES!

  4. 4 missy May 22, 2007 at 5:55 pm

    When we are kids we want to be adults, when we are pre-teens we want to be teens, when we are teenagers we want to be 21, when we’re in our 20’s we morn with every passing birthday, and in our 30’s? Forget about it, all we long for are those 20’s again, and on and on. I am absolutely sure when I turn 40 I will long for the days I was 35 (where I am now) and then one day I’ll long to be 40 again….you get the picture. It is just human nature!

    A few years ago I realized I had my moms hands.

    I had to start coloring my hair when I was 30 because I noticed some stray gray hairs.

    Sigh. I have no advice at all. In all honesty I still can’t believe I am 35 years old. Time seems like a dirty trick sometimes.

    All we can do is TRY and focus on today. That, and remember the two magic words: sunscreen and moisturizer!

  5. 5 theobromophile May 22, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    Shannon,

    I once knew a guy (middle-aged) who said that young women are not attractive to him anymore… that he loves the way his wife looks and wouldn’t want her without the curves.

    Zabs,

    You’re a babe. I’m entirely jealous… my hope lies in not going into the sun (been religiously avoiding the sun since age 14, and it helps a bit) and using anti-wrinkle cream. My ‘rents look like they are 35 or 40, tops, so I don’t want to look older than them! (I get mistaken for a little sister a LOT!)

  6. 6 mommyzabs May 22, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    Your Right Missy, one day at a time. I just hope that my perspective can continually be molded into God’s instead of what the world calls beautiful so that when I”m 80 I don’t totally hate myself :)I’m praying for progress.

    Briget- thanks. That is sweet.
    I wish i was better about the sun. While I don’t let myself burn… my skin soaks sun in quickly. And truthfully i have skin that comes iwth greeks where my dark circles are prominent and my skin looks greenish without a tan… so I know that I look better with *some* color. Besides I’m less apt to wear make up when i have sun, and i really prefer it that way. If I could give up sun completely i know that would help.

  7. 7 Kelly W May 23, 2007 at 1:21 am

    I feel your pain. On my 30th birthday I woke up to a zit on my chin and a line on my forehead. Crying, I called my mother. She was so full of sympathy– after she stopped howling with laughter.

    I studiously avoid our harsh mojave sun, but I have always been a pasty white girl. I remember a classmate calling me, “the girl the sun forgot.” It’s easy to find me in the dark- I glow.

  8. 8 misi May 23, 2007 at 7:18 am

    E,
    Our skin is similar in that we both have the olive complexion but I can tell you that I just use bronzer on my cheeks only instead of tanning. I am not a sun goddess because the sun is the absolute worst thing you can do to your entire body.
    Also w/ the whole image thing, I really don’t have any advice-sorry. I guess because I was sooo vain when I was younger I really got rid of that bug now. I just don’t think about it that much at all I guess. I worry more about the effects of food on my body i.e like the risk factors of cancers and heart disease more than I worry about wrinkles.
    The bottom line is- your are beautiful, on the inside and the out!! Stop thinking about it:)

  9. 9 southerngirlmusings May 23, 2007 at 10:43 am

    Wait, I have a piece of white lint in my hair, ouch, oh that wasn’t lint, it was yet another gray hair. 🙂

    I do seek for the beauty on the inside thing but realistically, I struggle with this as well. This is going to probably crack you up but even though I was born with natural color, I can lay out in the sun and tan with the best of them. I have had to put a stop to that especially after a few bad burns (yes, African-Americans/black people do burn). 😮

    I know that I am wonderfully and fearfully made and dh finds me to be a hottie, I guess when I am doing the mommy thing all day, I just don’t feel like a hottie and feel that at 35, I am in need of a lift (surgically that is). One thing, that I have started doing is taking the time to put me together in that just because I am home, I can still be cute and not save skirts and cute tops until I am going somewhere. I remember Laura from Project Runway and her slippery slope comment…sorry for the length in that I shared little to help you or myself.

  10. 10 sparklejensen May 23, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    It is very strange to see the familar beauty of our teens and twentys slip away.
    I think like most things in life you must approach it with a balance. Gratefulness must be practiced. And you have to work with Practically, This is what I do: I’m in the sun. I put sun screen on but I’m a surfer, I can’t avoid it. And my skin soaks it up…so oh well. I eat well. I use Dermalogica skin care. I try to get a facial once a month (although I’ve missed the past several due to traveling). I excercise. A 78 year old ballet dancer in NYC that I met said “for great skin you must sweat ever day”; she had great skin. I try to focus on the positives. Genetics plays a huge part and so I find something to be thankful about (even if it is I have have two working legs). I take care of my teeth (a good smile always helps). I try to dress to accentuate the positive. I never buy gossip magazines (they are so enticing but they slowly rot your mind). I have pictures of beautiful women (of all ages) in my house. They are beautiful because of who they are and although, most are wrinkled, they are truly beautiful. I remind myself that it is not just about me. If I bemoan my body, age, etc. other women will feel badly about themselves. I remember in my younger years saying that I really needed to lose 10 pounds to one of my dear friends. She said “how do you think that makes me feel?” She was right. There is always someone in a better and worse place than you, and what you choose to see in yourself affects them.

  11. 11 mommyzabs May 23, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    Southern Girl-
    I don’t watch project runway much, but boy I could have slugged that girl lauren when she made that comment. The one about sweats and a minivan. I have some pretty cute knit pants here and there and YES i drive a minivan, but my husband loves me like this 🙂 he would have me in little knit pants and a cute tee anyday. BUT that being said i get ready almost everyday, my husband works at home and I am totally against getting frumpy even though i love comfortable clothes, i would just rather spend money on CUTE comfortable clothing. But heels and pearls like lauren NO WAY! She was so derrogetory when she said that.
    Oh an i know african americans burn! 🙂 SILLY. But from my understanding your skin does age better. 🙂

    SJ- I am pretty over those gossip mags too. ick. I just feel icky if i read them. I used to read some of the gossip sites too but just can’t anymore. And I truthfully I really rarely pick up a fashion mag even though I like clothing a bunch. My focus just goes all wrong. You are right about being thankful about what we have, it is amazing how the devil gets a foothold on our brains when we get so self focused. Sometimes it is easy, other times it is a full on war!

  12. 12 nicole fortunato May 23, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    well i just entered the 30’s yesterday so here goes (a novice, i guess): on one level my mom always told me ‘the 30’s are the best. you look your best, you know who you are and who you aren’t.’ so i definitely have taken that ‘hope for my 30’s’ to heart because my mom is 53, healthy, caring, beautiful (she looks not a day over 40) and in great shape.

    on another, deeper level i think it’s a security thing that God alone can bring. i try to take insecurities i see, to Him right away in a little prayer that usually looks like ‘ugh. Lord, i don’t like that insecurity. please make me secure in you.’ sounds simple maybe, but the most beautiful women i know don’t have the coolest clothes or the best body (though most of them exercise and eat well), but are full of joy and love others well and desire God with all that is in them and laugh heartily (without worrying about wrinkles) and a have a spirit of ‘it’s ok’ in them. i want that. i want to be so consumed by desiring god, loving my husband, family, friends and others well that when the grey hairs come (i have had 3 since before 30!) i can say ‘all the good stuff in life is in place. i am blessed.’

    girl, the aging is NOT going to stop. we need take our hearts to god and ask him to give us the tools NOW, to age gracefully. i believe he is desperate for us to get a taste of what he calls ‘beauty’ and what he sees as ‘gracefulness.’ and we all know: there’s an infinate amount of rest and peace in his economy.

    and still, elizabeth, i think you’re beautiful. and though i think you’re adorable: from tastes in clothes to how they fit your body, to your cute face, what i love most about you is your heart. that is what compells me. . . that, to me, is where your grace lies.

    xoxoxo
    n

  13. 13 mommyzabs May 23, 2007 at 7:54 pm

    OH NIcoley.
    I take your advise very much to heart because you are one of the most secure peers of mine I know. I have always marveled at that. Especially with where you live, it being such a vein town.

    I need that advise for my spirit. I know the solution is to continue pressing in and praying, fighting the obsessing! I know the wrinkles only get deeper!

    Thanks so much.

  14. 14 southerngirlmusings May 23, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    MZ,

    I thought Laura was Laura and I think of her comment as more of a reminder to not go down any slippery slopes that lead to frumpiness. Being that I already drive a minivan (love my Odyssey), I focus on the other part of the comment in general terms. 🙂 Pearls and heels all the time and riding pants instead of jeans is not me either as I love jeans/t-shirt especially my comfy jeans that fit me because of a gazillion washings.

    Continue to live well, eat well and love well and you will stay the beautiful person that you are. Blessings!

  15. 15 Anne Weakley May 24, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    This is obviously a familiar issue with 30 somethings. I am not obsessive about it, but I find thoughts about how much older I am and how I look creeping into my mind much more frequently than ever before…then I think of Phil 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, keep your thoughts on whatever is right or deserves praise: things that are true, honorable, fair, pure, acceptable, or commendable.” But how can I have wrinkles by my eyes and what happened to the skin on the back of my legs – for heaven’s sake, I work out more than ever…To me – comparison is the worst enemy to aging gracefully…whether I am comparing myself to my younger self or to any other person. I have to daily refocus to what God thinks is important and be joyful in what truly matters.


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