This is gonna sound a little (or a lot) crazy, but I love getting old. I actually am fond of the “age” that I see smile back at me in reflection. I looked in the mirror the other day and saw the shiny silvery-sheen highlights in my dark hair made from packing and unpacking moving boxes in anticipation of the next adventure with my husband’s new job, the crease in my forehead made from gazing out at my children playing in the sun or learning to ride a bike–the feeling in my heart when they fell and got right back up again and finally the triumph of pushing one foot, then the other as they glided down the path on two wheels. I saw the spots where the sun kissed my face while building sandcastles on the beach, digging holes large enough to engulf children to their knees in the sand and from applying countless amounts of sunscreen and hats. I saw the slightly droopy-firm arms that were made from holding my son for hours in the NICU, not wanting to let go or go home, and from laying in bed with my daughter holding a book overhead and reading until my tired voice cracked because we just needed to see what happened next to our friend Ruby Lavender, or from standing in ready to dole out hugs as they both bounded off the big yellow school bus sharing tales of their day at recess or lunch or latest creation in art class. I saw wrinkly hands from holding treasures found in the woods, seashells at the beach, and little sticky fingers grabbing up for guidance along life’s path. I saw my not-so-perfect middle from growing two little souls in a safe and healthy belly of love, and from standing at the playground pushing a swing back-and-forth, back-and-forth, back-and-forth instead of running around the block in my running gear, or from driving from home to school, to dance, to cross country, to cheer practice, to piano. I saw legs strong, but a bit crinkled from sitting on floors for hours building lego towers, crouching down to kiss a boo boo, quietly bending to knees to pray for God’s hand in the new job, the big test, the tryout, the meet… I saw sneakers in place of heels, I saw a pony tail in place of the latest coiff, I saw yoga pants and t shirt in place of a snappy business suit. And you know what? I looked, I saw, I noticed, I remembered, I hoped, I dreamed, I loved, I lived, I thanked God for it all. Best of all, when I saw all of that looking back at me-I smiled! I’ll take that and more. Grayer, Wrinklier, Crinklier… Happy, Full, Grateful!
Do you ever have those moments where life gives you something that you weren’t expecting and you walk around saying “I’m sorry that I am being _____, it’s just that….”. What is it we are doing when we apologize for what the great teacher of experience is trying to show us? Are we comparing ourselves to someone else? Are we comparing ourselves to a different version of us? Maybe the version we think we should be, or the version that we want others to see? I find myself doing this often when I am mad, tired, or frustrated with something, even sometimes apologizing if I am happy about something great that happened … It prompted me to realize that in our honesty is where we will find our beauty. At times when honesty in life is the most difficult, you have the power to be at your most beautiful. We all will go through trials, and we all will have triumphs. Don’t make any of these events smaller than they really are by taking the true emotion out of the experience. You do not owe yourself or anyone else an excuse or explanation because there is purpose in your experience and sharing it honestly is important! Haven’t you had that moment where a friend is sharing a story and you realize that you completely understand what they are talking about and shout, “Me too!” or ” I feel the same way!” or “The same thing happened to me!”? By being honest about your life, you actually create a fuller life. We may not always say them out loud but we share common experiences. On the day that your perfect life that you have worked so hard on shows cracks, scrapes, bumps and bruises– be real, be sad, be strong, be frustrated. These are the moments that will build your foundation one brick at a time, until one day you have a mighty palace. On the day that your journey lands you on that big, white, fluffy cloud number nine, and everything is not just what you had dreamed it would be, but so very much more– be joyful, be loud, be grateful, be jubilant! These are the moments that will keep you a dreamer when other things or people fail you. Beauty comes from living each experience with authenticity. Beauty comes from feeling your feelings honestly. Beauty comes from not making excuses of why you are happy or why you are sad. Beauty comes from living out loud. Beauty comes from admitting your weakness and from admitting your strength! Each experience in life is put before us to bring us closer to the fullness of all we can become. This life we lead, it is more than one in a million… Heck, it is the ONLY one! Live it, feel it, respect it. There is only one version of you, one version of your life, one version of your hopes and dreams… and none of these versions will look like some one else’s. Don’t compare your life – Share your life! In God’s expert hands our lives are finely crafted objects of art. In all of our experiences, be true, be real, be YOU! Wherever your “here” is today, it is exactly where you are supposed to be! In your honesty, your beauty shines. Let the world in and let it be a mirror to your unique and wonderful life, because yours is the fairest of them all!