Thursday, July 06, 2006

Getting Older

I've noticed this summer that the consistency of the skin on my arms and hands and feet has changed. If you apply pressure in just the right place on my arms they look a little like my knees which I noticed a few years ago in the shower are becoming (GASP) wrinkly. The skin on my upper arms seems a little more flappy lately too. On my last birthday I decided it was a losing battle trying to pluck out the gray hairs in my head, but I still do it. Somehow I feel better if the most obvious ones around my face are gone. It's probably a very good thing I can't see the back of my head. I'd never leave the bathroom.

It's got me thinking about the whole purpose of aging. What is God thinking? We've all watched loved ones age and felt a twinge of sadness at what is lost in that process--the energy, the vitality. And it's happening to all of us. (Aren't I cheery today?!) We are all working our way toward old age and fewer capabilities. What kind of system is that? What is the purpose? I suppose you could compare it to the whole teen/parent relationship. I've heard it said the reason the teen years are so tumultuous in families is so everyone can be ready for the next step of separation. Parents and their kids get so sick of each other they are ready to live apart. Adolescence is supposed to soften the blow of moving on. I wonder if the aging process is the same kind of thing. As we age, we get tired of our old bodies and the challenges they give us. We become ready to move on to heaven. It makes us long for it all the more. It makes sense, but does it make you like it any more?

It's not all bad getting older. I really like how much wiser I feel. (Keep in mind this is a feeling and not necessarily fact.) I understand so much more that only life could have taught me. I would never go back to any other age. I like myself better and am more comfortable in my relationships and life than ever before. I enjoy that part of becoming mature.

But here's my problem with aging. I've never felt I was "good enough" physically and now I'm wondering if the image I've been striving for is possible. I'm getting older. What if this is as good as it gets? Can I live with that? I know I don't have much choice. Is there a positive spin I could put on getting older?

Maybe there's another perk in my advancing years. It could actually be freeing coming to grips with my imperfections and physical limitations. Taking the focus off my outside may create a calmer inside which will reveal true beauty, "the unfading beauty of a quiet and gentle spirit which is of great worth in God's sight." (1 Peter 3:4) I always understood my heart was more important than my body, but it didn't stop me from wanting cleavage. Maybe releasing myself from the burden of beauty as I age will make me more beautiful than ever. If that's the case, getting older could be a blessing after all.


Kara Bird said...

What a freeing thought. "Releasing ourself from the burden of beauty," just might cause us to become truly beautiful. That made so much sense to me. This blog made me feel a lot better about getting older! :) (But I really don't think you're old until you're at least 100.) :) he he... Thanks for imparting some of that wisdom to us. I know I need all I can get to try and enjoy the years I have.

steph said...

One of my biggest fears is getting older. And not necessarily the "getting older" part, but the breaking down, the weakness (physically), the problems that arise with age (physical health and mental health). But what a lovely thought that maybe, just maybe, it's God's way of saying, "you're ready to leave this life of mere humanness (is that a word?) and live a wonderful, happy one as a young, vibrant spirit with me". Now THAT'S something to look forward to.