I couldn't have been more surprised. I mean, am I not the one who courageously chose to stop coloring her hair, and in so doing, bravely embraced the aging process?
Then why did I suddenly feel like I'd just handed over a one-hundred dollar bill and only received back change for a ten?
It started with a quick trip to Target. As my daughter and I approached the glass entry doors, I grimaced at my reflection. I was wearing my frumpy at-home clothes and looked...old. Ugh. As we shopped for a few quick necessities, I hurried into the fitting room to try on a pair of high-tech shorts and a t-shirt that promised to keep me cool on my daily walks. Let's just say the rear view wasn't what it used to be.
Later that day I a good friend alerted me that the dress I'd chosen for my official author photos wasn't flattering--it made me look old. And that evening when I looked into the mirror to check my make-up, I gasped. My crows feet were now stretching down onto my cheeks...more like imposing ostrich feet.
So I sat on the edge of my bed and cried, surprised by the emotions welling up inside me. I've never put much stock in my looks. I try to eat healthy, exercise, take good care of myself. Turning 30 never phased me. 40 was a piece of cake. But apparently the raw, undeniable reality of growing older finally hit me--like a boulder slamming full force onto an unsuspecting Mini Cooper on a mountainous country road.
And I felt crushed.
As I approach the big 5-0 (in July), I'm facing the fact that my body cannot do things it used to do with ease, my neck is beginning to frighten me, and there is nothing I can do to stop the natural aging process. There are moments it feels as if any beauty I once possessed is evaporating away like the whistling steam above a tea kettle's spout.
It's slightly scary, this new reality, but the good part (yes, there is a good part) is that God is not only helping me begin to gracefully accept the inevitable, but He is coaxing me to believe Him when He whispers you're beautiful.
It's not easy. But I'm willing to drink in the words every woman desperately longs to hear, regardless of her age. And on the days when I struggle, it's okay. Because the truth is, He loves me, even when I don't feel beautiful.
He exclaimed, O my love, how beautiful you are! There is no flaw in you!
Song of Solomon 4:7