The other evening I was playing around with Jp and attempting to take some pictures of us with my camera phone. Later that same night, as I sifted through the photographs, I couldn’t help but hate every single one that I was in. I thought at first that this was due to the fact that I didn’t have my glasses on. Even though I used to hate them with the passion of a thousand suns (but not wearing them gives me major migraines) now when they aren’t on, I think I look odd. But the more I looked at the picture, the more I realized…that I didn’t like them because I looked old.
I know I’m not ancient and I’m certainly not fishing for compliments but I was once a person that always looked really young for my age. You know, the woman that gets the double look when carded even in my late twenties. The one that gets, “You’re how old?!”. Always. And in these pictures it became abundantly clear that age has finally caught up with me.
I look my age. How strange to have such a young soul and look into a mirror and see wrinkles and lines…
Then that really got me to thinking (as I never miss an opportunity to over analyze the complexities of life). While mentally, with age we become better and stronger women and feel more comfortable in our own [inner] skin, that same age and experience causes our [outer] skin to bunch and sag. How funny it is that in our teens and twenties, when we are in our physical prime, that we are also plagued with that same affliction of youth called insecurity? Stuffing our faces with pizza and French fries at 3 AM with no thought of the repercussions since our metabolism just did all of the working out for you (okay, I still don’t work out but I’m trying to make a point here)? All the while, stressing and fussing over every minor flaw as though that is the only piece of us that people can see?
What you don’t know at 20 is that the stuff that you are so insecure about is the best that it’s gonna get.
Think about it. At 20, your “girls” are still high and perky, your skin is tight and soft, hair is thick and healthy without a hint of grey, no stretch marks (okay, I don’t have those, either, but I’ve got my “stuff”, trust me)…and unless you are a person that is well off enough to afford copious amounts of plastic surgery, the things that you are insecure about in your twenties will still be there in your 30’s and 40’s and the things you are proudest of will start to age.
Soak it in 20-something’s. It’s all downhill from there.
I’m kidding (mostly), of course, but the irony is that really it is partly true. Take me, for instance. Hands down, my best trait is my eyes. My dad is full blood Native American so I have his eye shape but my Mom’s bright green coloring. With no hint of ego whatsoever, I know that they are pretty. Now that I am older, my vision has worsened and I have to wear glasses. So basically, I have to cover up my best feature. Age is a cruel mistress, I tell you. And the wrinkles! Goodness! They just show up -like an uninvited guest at a party- and make themselves at home all over your face. Just sneak in and make camp like they own the place. Brutal stuff, watching that happen. All those days at the beach in high school are starting to seem like perhaps I should have actually read a Cosmopolitan article and not just taken all of the quizzes.
The next time you see a 20 year old complaining that her thighs are too big, just pick her up and shake her. Shake her and tell her that she better learn to love herself because while men may look better with age…we are going to wrinkle. Tell her to quit her whining, go eat a hamburger, and put some sunscreen on for goodness sakes. This is as good as it gets before the day you find yourself in Walgreens staring at the anti-wrinkle cream and wondering where the time goes.
I'm just living minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day.