In a recent conversation with my friend who just turned thirty, she was explaining how she feels as she compares herself to younger people around her. We compared our younger teenage bodies to our twenty and now thirty-year-old bodies.
The thing that our culture disregards with changing appearances is the wisdom that comes with it. We know that older people are wiser because they have lived longer but we still dismiss the fact that their perspective is valuable. I got to thinking,
How does wisdom apply to our aging bodies?
First of all, aging doesn’t mean ugly. I think that word has a bad rap. Additionally, we all know that we start aging the minute we’re born practically. We’ve never had perfect bodies. Even as children, some people have diabetes, we catch colds or get cavities. These are all indicators that our bodies are not meant to live forever.
With appearances especially we try to hid this fact. Even if our insides are withering away but think that as long as our skin is clear or our thighs don’t rub, we are succeeding? False.
My friend expressed how nice it was to have a teenage body and how we could eat whatever we wanted to and it didn’t make much difference. Now fat is stored in inconvenient places and it takes more work and intention to eat well or get rid of excess weight.
In order to reconcile the hard facts and believe the best in this reality, I thought, “yes that is true; it does seem like we had an easier time managing our bodies before. But on the other hand, how satisfying it is to now also know our bodies. We have lived with it long enough to know what happens if we don’t get enough sleep, or if we have too much sugar or eat dinner after 8:00pm. In regards to weight and appearances, we have the ability to understand our body shape, what styles looks good, which haircuts we can rock (and which ones we’ll never do again).
Wisdom and age allows us to understand ourselves, our bodies and allows us to relate to others.
The truth is when you make a habit of thinking negatively about your flaws, you actually see flaws in other people and then you are stuck in a comparison game where no one wins. But when you make peace with your flaws; by doing your best to self improve or surrendering the things you cant change, then you are able to love and extend compassion to others for their insecurities too.
If growing older means growing mentally stronger and wiser, then I will gladly sacrifice my vanity for something that is far more valuable. Bring it, 30!