There was a selfie I posted as an Instagram Story in my now-defunct and short-lived beauty account (it was good while it lasted). It was nothing special, just me with a bunch of new products I was testing out on my face. For some reason, though, it made me realize how many thoughts I have about aging and how I’ve never really thought much about it until that moment.
I always look at the future in the context of things I want to do. I guess when I looked at that photo, it reminded me that the future also means there will be a lot of changes and not just the ones I have control over.
A couple of years ago, I told a colleague that I hope I don’t become too obsessed with how I look once I turn 40 — actually, I said I won’t. Now that I’m 31, things have changed a bit. Reader, I’m not okay with aging… yet.
The problem is…
I’m only 31! I keep reminding myself that. But in a world obsessed with airbrushed this and cinched that, it’s difficult to celebrate the drooping folds in your eyes or your more pronounced laugh lines. There’s always an article about a 40-something person who doesn’t look like she’s 40 or a celebrity who’s actually 50 but looks great in a bikini.
To tell you the truth, I don’t know. I also have to admit that I’m oftentimes amazed at how older women don’t look their age. But thinking about it now, I know that it’s wrong and that it’s based on the world’s obsession with the idea that you peak in your 20s, that your 30s is the finish line.
It’s infuriating how women are held to an incredibly higher standard than men and seen as a commodity with an expiration date. It’s also disheartening how hard it is to defeat not just this system of oppression and harm but also how easy it is for women — take me as an example — to fall into this line of thinking.
(Slowly) embracing aging
I’m not a hundred percent okay with aging yet, but I’m taking the right step forward. These are the things I’m going to do to embrace it fully.
Focus on my health
I’ve started exercising more seriously this year, and I love how strong I am becoming. (I still hate the actual exercising part but I try to be grateful for my progress to counter the tiredness and the urge to bawl when the workouts become too hard.)
Be thankful for my age
Not everyone is given the opportunity to grow old. I should be thankful for that. So instead of looking at my age as a ticking bomb, I’d perhaps see it as a gift that I get to open little by little, every single day.
Look at myself in the mirror more
…and be accepting of the changes happening to my skin and everything else. The reason why I had a surge of thoughts about aging when I took the selfie I mentioned earlier was because I no longer looked at myself a lot. I now realize that it’s beneficial to do so (it’s not gonna make you obsessed with your looks, self!). You get to see what’s changing (what you can and should improve and which things you can just let be).
Aging is not my thing yet, but it will be — and I promise I’d love it.