In a few months, I will be 44 years old.
Forty-four years old. Like, officially in my mid-forties.
It's hard to explain how I feel about this: It's not that I feel old, per se; it's more that when I was a kid, 44 seemed Very Old, and how can it be possible that I have reached the age of Very Old?
I don't feel Very Old. Shouldn't 44 feel older?
Age is a funny thing. There's so much about growing older that we're taught, all our lives, everywhere we look: magazines, movies, models -- we let all these images help form the general idea that youth is acceptable, age is not. But it seems to me that this construct of age -- much like society's construct of beauty -- is a myth. It seems to me that, as is true with any aspect or characteristic of ourselves, we should be the ones to create our own stories. Why would we give this right up to anyone else, much less to commercial organizations? Why should we allow our age -- whether we're young, or old, or anything in between -- to be colored by what commerce says is "right" or "wrong," any more than we permit commerce to tell us about our hair color or our height?
What if we took control of our own stories?
And there's more: I've come to believe that we don't become old solely because time passes, or even solely because we start to believe the world when it tries to tell us we're old. I think we also become old when we stop looking for the wonderful. I think we become old when we stop living like each day has the potential for showing us something new or beautiful. I think we become old when we are so engulfed in routine that we forget to look for the Different.
A few weeks ago, I sat down with my friend Kyran Pittman, author of the brand new book Planting Dandelions. In her book, a riveting collection of essays on how she went from wild child to wife and mother, she discusses how her life and her outlook has changed since leaving her twenties and entering her forties. And luckily for us, she shared more of her thoughts in the video below:
And so, for this month, I challenge you to spend some time each day looking for the wonderful. Start a gratitude journal, listing the good things that happened to you during the day, if you think that would help. And for more inspiration, I wanted to be sure to share with you this fantastic blog I found recently, called Advanced Style -- whose mission is to show "proof from the wise and silver-haired that personal style advances with age."
And indeed, I guarantee you that the people featured in that blog haven't stopped looking for the wonderful.
More Own Your Beauty on BlogHer
- Heartbreak and Hope: When Your Family Is Fighting Childhood Cancer.
- My Brother Broke My Heart
- When Your Body Breaks Your Heart
Own Your Beauty is a groundbreaking, year-long movement bringing women together to change the conversation about what beauty means. Our mission: to encourage and remind grown women that it is never too late to learn to love one's self and influence the lives of those around us - our mothers, friends, children, neighbors. We can shift our minds and hearts and change the path we follow in the pursuit of authentic beauty.
Karen Walrond is a writer and photographer in Houston, Texas, and the author of the book, The Beauty of Different, available at Bright Sky Press, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. You can read/see more of her life at Chookooloonks.
More from health