In a culture of all things anti-aging. In a culture of all things not pretty enough, not thin enough, not kind enough, not gracious enough, not disciplined enough. As women, this not-enough-ness is enough to destroy our beauty and we aren’t even aware of the destruction.
It can be a sad fate to live this life without ever knowing our place and our presence of beauty in the world. Much of this has to do with learning to define beauty differently than mass cultural norms and consumer marketing. It’s time to be smarter and wiser about our beauty and to start growing, cultivating, and sharing the beauty of a truer sort.
Seek and ye shall find. To seek and find the beauty you were meant to live with is a gift in and of itself. Enjoy.
A Grace-Filled Beauty Routine.
There’s no doubt about it, I am aging. A wise woman once told me, “When you argue with reality, you lose.” And the reality is that I have reached an age where I find myself in the “anti-aging” section. Much the same as one moves through the children’s section, to misses, to women, and so forth – there’s an anti-aging section.
To age. The nature of aging is time; therefore, I don’t want to waste any more time opposing my reality. I don’t want to lose any more time in the anti-aging game. I forfeit. As to not oppose aging, the counteraction would be to embrace it. To embrace time with more grace. More grace-filled beauty – that’s the game I want to win.
What does grace-filled beauty look like?
The morning reality check. This body will be in the ground one day. It’s an interesting experiment to look closely at your body, to touch it, and to remember it has an expiration date; that it’s temporary. The word appreciation comes to mind, so until then, it might be a good idea to start appreciating and enjoying this body while I still have it, while I am still in it.
Time in a body bottle. Understanding that age is time, I can appreciate the time in this body. My body holds just over fifty years. There is history in this body. Stories this body can tell. Glorious stories. This body holds its very own epic tales of horror, drama, comedy, romance, and adventure.
The landscape of my body holds scars and wrinkles of time. There’s a scar just below my lip that tells a story of foolish actions; a scar on my knee that tells of risk and adventure. And a scar below my navel that saved my life. I’ve got a soft potbelly that says I had more important things to do (according to me) than crunching abs.
My soul is delightful, but my body doesn’t like to SoulCycle. My less pronounced scars, the ones of most meaning, can tell you trills of heaven, just as much as they can a hell. This body has traveled both.
Amazing wrinkle cream: I gently pat the wrinkles around my eyes with cream, remembering that I have lived long enough to witness these beautiful lines; gently pressing (filling in) laugh lines with reverie. I press into the lines on my forehead, which formed over the years with contemplation, amazed at all that has run through my mind.
There are lifetimes up there – mine, yours, and just about everyone I meet. I try to capture lifetimes in my mind, and the beauty lines that surround the eyes – oh, if these eyes could share their witness. These beauty lines are a measure of my time.
Privilege Powder: I dust myself with the realization that I am only at half-time. That I get the privilege to keep playing, and that I get the privilege to take a half-time break, to decide how I want to play the rest of the game. Whether I think I’ve been losing or not, I get the privilege to keep going. Time, aging, becomes a gift to embrace with grace.
Fountain of Youth: Injections include reminding myself that I am the youngest I will ever be, and to not discount myself from the wonder and magic still in my bones and draw from the nutrients of my bone marrow. I remind myself that I don’t want to be young, per se, but I do want to keep injecting my life with carefreeness, playfulness, gracefulness, and wonder.
Vitality Serum: To slather myself with vitality serum. Ingredients include music, play, dance, service, creativity, simplicity, spontaneity, laughter, and appreciation. The serum focuses on the gifts of my human senses – to engage and activate sensuality, not let my senses go dull, and keep my senses vital.
Evening Body Wash: The evening beauty routine includes disrobing any feelings of lack and inadequacies, stripping off socialized constraints from the day, then, stepping into a warm shower to wash the body from any bacteria of shame or unworthiness.
Anointing Oil: The last part of this amazing-aging beauty routine is the anointing oil of allure. With hints of lavender, it’s an evening massage in as I rest in the allure (the mystery and fascination) of this being human. To rest in the knowledge that I can’t go back in time, and my only option is to keep moving forward. That the future of my beauty rests in the grace of aging.
The anti-aging game was aging me. The fear and the worry were exhausting. I had to stop dying to be beautiful and start daring to define beauty differently. I had to stop fighting the current of time and embrace the flow of whatever comes my way.
Whether it be sorrow, illness, hardships, or the trauma of sagging skin; to embrace the weathering of my life with as much grace as I can muster. Nor am I after more time. I don’t need more time – I need to fill in the time I already have with this amazing-aging beauty routine and have no more beauty regrets.
When I find myself in the presence of pretty girls in their twenties, lovely ladies in their thirties, and beauty emerging in their forties, I send out a little blessing of, “Oh, you sweet, sweet, beautiful thing, I hope you know how beautiful you are.” Because the one regret I do have, is that I didn’t know how to experience my beauty until now.
I missed my own beauty. I missed it in my twenties, thirties, and forties. I was too busy chasing beauty in many directions but under my own skin. I didn’t get the chance to experience the sheer joy and delight of my dance, my rhythm, and my style.
I didn’t understand that my attempts were just as beautiful as my failures – my victories just as beautiful as my defeats – that my imperfections were my perfections. I didn’t understand that this entire outfit called being human is beautiful.
At this midlife point in time, I have the chance to change my beauty routine. A chance to let go of my youth (but not my youthfulness) and to experience the grace needed to embrace this amazing body as it continues to pass through the gift of time.
Captivating, John and Stasi Eldredge.
The Longevity Book, Cameron Diaz.
One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp
The wise woman was Byron Katie.
“Essence of Flowers”, Courtesy of Priscilla Du Preez, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Green Plant”, Courtesy of Sarah Dorweiler, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Succulent”, Courtesy of Erol Ahmed, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Blood Oranges”, Courtesy of Brooke Lark, Unsplash.com, CC0 License