Why I’m Not Afraid of Aging Anymore

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I got my first gray hair at 27. Yes, I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing. I was playing on my parents’ deck with my daughter who was not even 2. That day I was horrified with the wiry reality sticking out from my crown like it was a bug antennae: I was aging.

In the back of my mind, I always knew someday I’d get varicose veins like everyone else in the family and crows’ feet around my eyes. But those were always some days.

Many of us attack our hair monthly with a plastic bottle of dye and gloves and smooth on creams to combat the sag and the crinklies. Time is marching forward, the world is changing, but we are doing everything in our power to freeze ourselves, hopelessly.

It’s a law of nature, and still, we fight it.

We know it, but we don’t KNOW it. Part of growing older is facing reality, gracing in wisdom, and embracing the future. (Easier said than done in a culture obsessed with the sexy kind of beauty.)

In recent years, I’ve befriended many strong older women. Their beauty and strength takes my breath away. They wear their gray hair boldly, love their families fiercely, and bring grace and strength to the world around them. These women are gritty and glorious! They teach me to care less about the world and more about what matters. They have endured cancer, grief, and heartache and have come out swinging. They know age spots and stretch marks are well-earned battle scars, each a story of God’s provision.

Once, I thought an older woman had to hide her imperfections and getting older was all grays, cellulite, flab, age spots, losing bone density, and shriveling up into oblivion. Strong grace-filled women have show me aging is the art of becoming the best kind of beautiful.

Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.

–Betty Friedan

A well-aged woman is like a bottle of fine wine, to be savored and revered. Her life has strength and influence, a beauty that makes you remember who you want to be, and that is nothing to be afraid of.

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Beauty Rewrites

Beauty Rewrites is a body image series for women to help us get on good terms with our bodies. Join us her every Tuesday through July with stories from Ludavia Harvey at NiftyBetty.com, Emily Conrad, and Christina Hubbard at Creative and Free. We hope this series inspires us all to stop pursuing perfection and learn to embrace what’s true and sacredly beautiful about ourselves. Forget ideal. Embrace the real.

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July 19, 2016