It’s a battle I’m supposed to be fighting, I gather, from the women’s magazines in the checkout lines. The enemy roster is long: wrinkles, cellulite, gray hair, extra weight, saggy skin, drooping eyelids, age spots, untoned muscles.
The weapons of war are proferred up in glossy ads: botox, implants, hair dye, alpha-hydroxy serums, specialized diets, plastic surgery, teeth bleaching, kickboxing.
But, what if I don’t see a battle at all? What if I marvel at how the light reflects from the silver strands in my hair? What if my wrinkles remind me of how many days I’ve spent squinting into the surf, riding waves, and laughing hard, with my whole heart? What if my soft abs remind me of the many babies who lived within me; of being a house for another soul?
Tuesday I’ll turn 40 and I am terribly excited. I never expected to live so long.
My last turn of the decade was celebrated in Peru with a fantastic party put on by my fellow missionaries including dance performances, plays, and a concert by the kids. It was glorious fun. I didn’t mind turning 30; I was excited, even though I only had a few rogue gray hairs and just the hints of wrinkles.
It is okay to be happy in one’s skin; it’s okay not to buy any of the fancy weapons of war, it’s okay to skip on the battlefield and look at the wildflowers.