First of all, I turned 40 on July 15. Does anyone want to actually turn 40? Probably not, but I wasn't hugely hung up on the number...but actual aging is another matter and we will get to that in a minute.
My birthday was just okay. I told Ryan that for the big 4-0 birthday, I wanted a trip with him and so we've planned a birthday trip early next year after Levi is old enough to leave for a few days. I picked South Carolina because I've been a lot of places but I've never been to the South, so I'm really excited about that. On my birthday, Ryan organized a hike and a brunch with girlfriends and that 3 hours was the best part of my day. I'm blessed with good, wise, fun friends and I loved the relaxation of walking, talking and eating with them.
I made myself two big old desserts for my birthday because I love to bake and I couldn't decide between the Fudgy Toffee Chocolate Chip Bars and the Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte. Could you?
So the day came and went, but really I've been dealing with aging for a few years now. Things I like about aging:
1. Wisdom. Duh.
2. Experience--I LOVE seeing how life and kids and relationships and problems mostly turn out okay if you just do your best.
3. Understanding what makes me happy and what doesn't. Which obviously goes right along with 1 and 2.
4. Understanding the Gospel and the nature of God and the power of obedience and the atonement better and better. It's just gets more amazing and sweet and fulfilling the more you understand it, don't you think?
5. My gratitude for the blessings in my life just seems to deepen with each passing year.
Things I don't like about aging:
1. Its effects on my body--its ability and (I know I shouldn't care but I do) its appearance.
2. How society views it! I hate that there's the feeling that you are less vital or something the older you get. Lame.
So, I'm sharing really briefly something that has helped me as I've dealt with negative feelings about wrinkles, weight gain, gray hair, etc. etc.
Through social media, I came across a website called Beauty Redefined. I'm not exaggerating when I say that it has been HUGE for me. I literally see things differently based on the things I've learned by reading their blog posts, following their instagram feed and reading some of their recommended literature. This is the jist of what they do (taken from their site)
Beauty Redefined is all about rethinking our ideas of “beautiful” and“healthy” that we’ve likely learned from for-profit media that thrives off female insecurity. Girls and women who feel OK about their bodies — meaning they aren’t “disgusted” with them like more than half of women today* — take better care of themselves.
“While we cannot directly affect the images [in media], we can drain them of their power. We can turn away from them and look directly at one another. We can lift ourselves and other women out of the myth.” - Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth
I've been able to see that the value I place in my looks has been ingrained by media and society and is totally erroneous and drains me of valuable energy. I've been able to look at ads and commercials and comments and conversations and see when they are reinforcing the idea that women's greatest power is in their appearance. While I've always known in my brain that those things aren't important, as age strips me of firm skin and a fast metabolism, I've really noticed that my negativity about my appearance and aging has everything to do with not really believing it in my heart. Regularly visiting this site has helped me to see things as they really are, and has helped me to redirect that negativity in an effort to emphasize the value that lies in my talents, my mind, my relationships--all things that will deepen and grow over time.
Anyway. That's what I have to say. Here's to 40 more years of becoming wiser and kinder and more experienced...the stuff that really matters.