The Beauty of Weathering
I turned 61 in June and naturally, I’ve been pondering aging and my transition into elderhood. Like so many others, in my head I’m 37, but the mirror tells me otherwise. If I’m being real with you, over the years I’ve chased the mirage of perfection, particularly in the years since social media came onto the scene. As Celeste Barber noted (I’m paraphrasing here), back in the day you’d see a Dior ad with Cindy Crawford on a motorcycle hanging off the edge of a building, and while you appreciated the artistry, you weren’t expected to think it was real. Now we are bombarded with thousands of heavily filtered and altered images being passed off as someone’s “real” life. It’s hard not to fall into the trap of believing these unattainable ideals of beauty and success define our worth.
But beauty is not our currency, and life’s most exquisite moments are often the “imperfect” ones
In our prime, we may joke about dreading the first strands of silver, or the laugh lines that etch their stories onto our faces. But it’s precisely in these signs of age that we find the allure of authenticity. Each wrinkle tells of a life well-lived, each grey hair a testament to wisdom gained. For me, embracing my aging body is a delicate dance of self-acceptance; a tango with the truth that there’s unfiltered beauty that resides in the wisdom gained through experience.
There’s wisdom in weathering
As we get older, we become living libraries, full of stories that give us the privilege of perspective. We see patterns and connections in the narrative of our lives, and we learn to navigate the inevitable storms with grace. We gain the ability to forgive ourselves and others. As we forgive, our hearts expand to embrace the limitations of others, and we become beacons of empathy, offering comfort to those who walk the same path.
People become our most cherished treasures
The bonds we form throughout our lives deepen with time, as we weather storms and celebrate triumphs together. Rather than fading, physical love can become deeper, more intimate, and more satisfying. There is a quiet strength in aging that allows us to love and be loved, even as the seasons of life cycle on. Getting older allows for an abundance in the richness of human connection.
Aging is not a life in decline, it’s a life in full bloom
As time marches on, I’m working on embracing the authenticity and elegance of aging. I’m the first to admit that it’s not totally comfortable for me yet. But I’m learning that despite how I change on the outside, in aging there is beauty that transcends the ideals of my youth. It is a beauty that resonates with the realness of a life well-lived; a beauty that has endured the test of time.
© Julie Smerdon 2023
Photo: Pete Longworth