Tell me if, at least once in your life, you haven’t cracked a joke about it being a woman’s 16th birthday when she’s actually in her 30s.
Or maybe you told someone that they looked like they haven’t physically matured a day beyond their graduation.
There are days that you feel good when the same ‘compliment’ is given back to you. You are constantly reminiscing about the past because that’s when you looked your best. I’ve done it, you’ve done it. These are things we live with, things we appreciate when directed towards us and then in return offer to others as gold stars.
Now I’m not trying to bust anyone’s party here. I can appreciate a cliched joke or compliment, no worries. However, it’s this one-dimensional approach to aging that does make you wonder why haven’t we left space for more.
Society conditions us to look forward to aging with hesitation and denial. Society tells us that once we reach a certain age, our time is up.
You’ll find an ‘anti-aging’ sign calling out to women in every department store’s skincare aisle, promising a return to the more superior you.
“Give us 8 weeks!”, “Return to your youth”, “Reverse the signs of aging”: these are things we process every day on our grocery runs and during our Instagram scrolls. But rarely will you ever find content, on any medium, telling women it’s good now, but it’s only going to get better.
And that’s how we collectively make things so regressive. This consistent fight with the concept of aging and the myopic focus over how we grow older.
Better skin, better hair. “Your 20s are the best time of your life”. But really is there ever any ‘best decade’ of your life? Isn’t the best time of your life where you are right now? As of right now, you know the most, you’ve experienced and learned the most.
Aging is a gift that we are in a denial to recognize. We believe that investing in our physical attributes will benefit us more in the long run and we do it at the cost of profiting from what the years in our life are giving us.
How I make decisions in my life today, the relationships I have and nurture, how I respond to challenges – they all have everything to do with what I’ve experienced and nothing to do with how good my skin looks.
When I was younger, that’s when I had my best skin or hair days, but I was never truly comfortable with myself. The quality of my life today hasn’t come through because of a skincare routine that I’ve been told to follow, it’s there because I choose to remember self-assurance as my most valuable beauty trait.
A trait that you only realize as you grow older.
Aging is fabulous and everyone should be passionately looking forward to inching ahead every year to a better time.
And all of this not because there’s an absolute state of ecstasy that magically reveals itself as you go through your years. It’s that you become fuller in your heart and mind and soul as you age.
As you age you learn to embrace all the non-physical attributes. You learn to embrace the unsavory aspects of your personality, how to heal from damage and cultivate meaningful friendships. You learn to feel okay.
And that is the true, beautiful skin of your age; pigmented with your experiences, your love stories, and mindful self-discoveries. All the experiences that you collect over time and all the truths that you internalize.
Our age will always be the most valuable currency that we’ll ever collect.