I don’t consider myself to be vain. In fact, I forget to look in the mirrors most days (which explains my hair and wardrobe). But for a moment today, after brushing my teeth and washing my face I looked up…right forward…instead of moving onto the next thing.
And in that moment I caught a glimpse of myself. Freshly woken, not a terribly good nights sleep, harsh sterile lighting we have all been forced to switch to. And for a quick moment, I used my hand to pull my skin up along my jaw line. Pushing the flesh up towards my ear. And I held it there. For just a moment.
For just the smallest of moments I entertained the briefest thought– I wondered how to make it stay like it used to.
What a bag of worms huh? Like it used to.
Over the past few years I have been forced to realize that age-ing is out of my hands. I can eat well, sleep well, exercise, take care of my thoughts and have a spiritual practice….but little things are going to keep happening despite my best intentions.
It started when I noticed the skin on my hands wasn’t as tight as it used to be. I noticed I stayed sore longer after exercise. I noticed I forget things a lot more than I used to. I noticed all my friends were getting really gray (I seemed to miss that bus…so far.) I noticed I didn’t need to tell as many dirty jokes. I didn’t need to be vulgar as often. I was actually slightly offended by vulgarity recently…which trust me, was a first. I’ve recently become intolerant of some foods. Little things I used to forget about now keep me up at night.
I remember my Mom standing in the mirror, holding her face in exactly the same way when I was younger. Then she pulled her eyebrows up then stretched her eyes to the side. Next she would pull her hairline back. And I remember vividly saying to her one time…”Mom, you’re so beautiful just the way you are. Why would you want to change that.” But I remember more clearly her response. “You just wait.”
And here I am. Not vain, yet wondering for a microsecond if I could be that kind of person. A little nip here. A little tuck there.
There is so much juiciness in being young and beautiful.
There is so much freedom when all of life is ahead of you.
Youth is so undeniably seductive.
But I am not my Mother. And as I drop my hands from my jaw line I smile. and see laugh lines on my face and immediately feel so thankful for the memories that put them there. And maybe my jowels are beginning to show because I stretched my face out so much from the deep belly laughing I find myself in every day. From the countless and tireless smiles that hurt my face they last so long.
I am a woman who has traveled. And loved. And lost. And loved again. I move, often. Packing up everything and starting fresh to satisfy an itch. My heart is huge and my compassion (most of the time) is limitless…so much my heart hurts sometimes from all the love pouring through.
I have friendships that are big and bold and loving and nurturing. They push my buttons and encourage me and hold me up. And I give all that back and more.
I have lived in amazing homes. And cities. I have cooked in incredible kitchens around the world. I have stripped naked and allowed my form to be drawn and painted.
I am becoming a master of my trade. A true healer, like back in the days when there were no distinctions, you just went to a healer and they took care of it. And I am so proud of the grace it has taken to hone all the skills. I have nurtured intuition and danced under stars. I have made love under waterfalls and in canyons. I have been held, body and soul, beating in unison. I have seen the stars so bright they are burned in my memory for all of time.
I can make the worlds most amazing chicken stock…and this comes after many many years of trying to make it perfect. It may even be better than my grandmothers was…maybe.
I can tell jokes and stories and own the room from the first word…because I have learned to step into my selves. All of them.
I can find as much fulfillment watching Netflix on the couch with the dog in my lap, as with a room full of my favorite people on the planet, as with a great book, as with dancing to amazing music, as with sitting in quiet contemplation by the fire, as with the first bite of my favorite scrumptious food, as with walking under huge cedar canopies.
I have seen, through the reflection of others, how special and beautiful I am. Sagging face or not.
And it is for this that I am thankful. It is my full life of experiences and feeling and knowingness and the deep journey into my soul that allows me to see my body as just that…and me as so much more. So much more.
So for a moment I will entertain the thoughts.
For a moment I will remember when I was that young girl. And I will smile at her journey and continue onward, a radiant shining star…beautiful in different ways…beautiful all the same.
And you? What will it be? What kind of life can we see in your face? How well have you lived? If you are still breathing….there’s still time.
Elisha Weinberg is a local Acupuncturist and Online Dating Expert who lives in beautiful Bellingham. Visit her website at www.elishaweinberg.com.