Hi sweet souls,
I will be 39 years old this coming year and since I hit my late 30s (nearly 40s!–oh my!) there have been many physical changes—most notably my face. My hope-driven efforts to defy gravity and counteract the undeniable and visible etches of time on my body are just that–hopeful. The crows feet around my eyes don’t necessarily disappear even after my smile does and there is an apparent shallowness to my cheeks that wasn’t there just 2 or 3 years ago. I’ve caught myself standing in front of the mirror (as I suspect many of us do? Please tell me you do too.) pulling back the skin around my lower jaw line and daydreaming of how a tiny “lift” would make me look 32 again!
And now, of course there is no denying that a healthy diet, regular exercise and a sensible skin regimen is worth its weight in gold, but yet, I am noticing with more and more certainty that the only constant in life is change. No matter how much time I spend looking at my face in the mirror and profusely plead “please stop getting old, face!” it doesn’t listen.
The only thing we can depend on in life is that everything changes. Our bodies, what we need and want, our relationships.
We cry our eyes out into our pillow, go through a box of tissues and feel like our sadness will never end, and then it does. We hug our friends in tight embraces and swear to once a month (at least) lunch dates and then 9 months go by. Change is the only constant. Our happiness and well being directly correlates to how we learn to tolerate and navigate change and it’s arduous uncomfortableness.
Time passes and change happens. Time speeds up and time slows down and, for me, my face is a constant reminder that I can do absolutely nothing about this. It’s devastating and has me reflecting on mortality in a way I never have before. But I have a secret. It is also terribly enlightening and dare I say empowering? In the past much of my sense of self had been inextricably tied up in my physical appearance. Yet, the more I witness the passage of time of my face, and practice accepting the inevitable change that accompanies it, the more my spiritual shell is cracked open. I get to be more than my face. More than my body, then my physical appearance.
What you see in this photo of me, and the heaps you have of yourself, is just a piece of who we actually are. This face and body are the only ones we have. These eyes allow me to see the world the way I do, these lips allow me to repeatedly kiss my husband on the cheek when he gets home from work, this nose allows me to smell one of my favorites scents–sharp, black coffee brewing in the morning. My hair gives me something to twirl when I am writing to you and these ears allow me to listen to the pop! of champagne bottles opening–my favorite sound.
I’m learning that we needn’t be the victims or playthings of time and change. Greater happiness is ours if only we practice flowing with time rather than planting our feet.
Living in the moment, getting grateful for exactly what is, rather then longful for what was or will be, and noticing every detail is the key to everlasting vitality (notice I didn’t say ‘youth?’) and buoyancy. Time and change can be our greatest allies if we would be willing let go of what was “before” and what might be “next.”
I am not suggesting you don’t revisit the past, scooping up gems of wisdom and indulging in delicious memories. I am also not suggesting we halt considering our deepest desires for the future and subsequently planting promising seeds of opportunity. I just think we can travel back and forth more easily by living in the moment, paying attention and celebrating it for all its inherent “wrinkles.”
Besides, the more I consider time and change the more I realize I’m always exactly where and how (crows feet and all) I need to be.
Outtakes from my day at the beach:
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