I spend a lot of time in the mirror.
But unlike the Kelly of her twenties who was curling her $140 salon colored hair, while applying her Bath and Body works lotion to her extremely tan body, put on her Victoria Secret underwear and spritzed her neck with her $100 bottle of Marc Jacobs (dang that stuff smells like an angels wing) The Kelly who is just 16 months from being forty…that’s FOUR-ZERO sits indian style on the counter of her poorly lit bathroom and sighs deep, sad sighs at the face looking back at her.
Whoa baby….time marched on and it marched all over my face!
Can you even take this girl serious??? The photo on the left was a dare…the one on the right I totally own…I chose to wear that IN PUBLIC. ARE YOU KIDDING ME KELLY in her 20’s??? Oiy Vey!!!
Also why buy a tanning pass for 15 visits when for ten dollars more you can get unlimited visits in a month. I literally tanned for five years straight in my twenties…just ask my chest…wait…you don’t have to, the leathery look it’s taking on is proof enough of foolish vanity.
Halloween party on the left…I was Louise of “Thelma and Louise”. Skinniest I ever was as an adult. Sniff..sigh. Looking good on the outside…GIANT HOT MESS ON THE INSIDE!!! Read this post for the story.
I now curl my $6.50 box of Feria hair and make due with a $15 haircut. I rub in my dollar store lotion given to me by my children that smells oddly of alcohol and flowers left in a vase too long. It immediately absorbs into my child bearing thighs. My legs pale, dimply and showing their first signs of spider veins beg me to throw my sweats back over them but not before I put my sad Walmart cotton underwear on…you know the kind with the odd, thin piece of elastic sticking out. I’m convinced my bras and underwear silently weep in the drawer at night. They really need to be put out to pasture. I spritz my imitation “Pleasures” on my aging chest and continue the arduous grooming process.
I got the short end of the stick in the skin gene department. Currently wrinkles and acne are duking it out for residency on my face. It’s not fair…acne AND wrinkles. Shouldn’t one negate the other? Don’t get me going on black heads and pore size (or baby bird baths as I call them). I stroke my children’s flawless cheeks and burn with envy at their non existent pores.
It’s happening….It’s happening like a Japanese bullet train and there isn’t much I can do but watch my Titanic sink and stand on the deck playing my violin with as much dignity as I can muster.
The exact wrinkle pattern around my eyes, which up to just a few years ago was only visible when I smiled hard, now sits well mapped out around my eyes even when I am straight faced and relaxed. When did that happen? When did I need to google eye creams? When was it necessary to pluck disgusting black hairs from my chin that are as thick as an 18 gauge stud. Why are 1/3 of my eyebrows now pointing straight up? WHAT IS HAPPENING?
I’m trying to make peace with the grays that are weaseling their way around my hair line, even invading my eye brows!!! To be fair…I did win the hair lottery in life. I always think of that line in the Little Women movie with Christian Bale ( swoon LAURIE!!!!!!!) Where Amy says to Jo after she cuts her hair. “Jo….your one beauty!”
DON’T YOU DARE leave a comment with affirmations, this post isn’t about that, I’m not fishing for compliments here…I’m just laying out some harsh realities we all face. We all get old. Nobody is exempt.
I bet about now you are thinking…”Wow that Ryan’s a lucky guy!!” Ha, dang skippy he is! Seriously, I have the BEST husband that not only helps me keep it light about the steep decline but has an awesome sense of humor about the parts of his body and skin that are boycotting youth.
Kelly in her twenties made it her life’s mission to hide any and all flaws she could. Now I’m all “Hey Ry…get in here…look at this weird tag wart…it looks like a baby claw.” I laugh so I don’t cry. I’m thankful Ryan grabbed me at my peak…literally. It’s not fair…girls seem to age in rough and dramatic ways and men seem to get more dapper and distinguished the older they get. What gives?
This is the power of photography at work ladies. You bump that exposure up a hair and voila! Wrinkles, scars, acne…be gone! Poof!!! It’s the reason I only use a select few head shots to “represent” me to the general public.
Our amazing friend and photographer, Adam Barnes, gave us some amazing head shots in the new year.
Just in case you didn’t realize there is 16 inches between Ryan and myself. I even have three inch booties on to help.
This is real life. Taken just now. Even the computer screen is giving me some help from it’s white hot glow. Left over mascara still clumped together. I tell the teachers at school there are two moms of my children. This is the mom that drops them off. (Sorry, don’t know why it’s flipped)
and then somewhere along the day I get my act together and a new “more hip and fresh” mom picks them up.
That mirror is supremely clean. Sorry for the poor iphone photos…the sun is boycotting coming out lately.
My mom once told me many years ago “You will love your 30’s and 40’s the most.” Well I don’t know about my 40’s yet but my 30’s have brought a mental and emotional freedom I could never have imagined in my 20’s. The women that have flanked my life for the last few decades…my soul sisters…we’ve learned a lot, we settled into ourselves and we’ve realized the folly and striving of our youth. We are all the wiser for it. We swap our aging whoa stories like a bunch of old vets sitting at a diner counter. Stretch marks mean the miracle of birth, crows feet mean years of laughter, saddle bags….well…I don’t have anything nice to say about those things. The point is, I am surrounded by women who have fought for a life well-lived. Who don’t just talk about kingdom living, they are walking it out. We see how doggone hard and misguided our twenties were and we’ve made peace with our foolish, insecure, petty, self-indulgent, narrow-minded, overly introspective and superficial pasts for the greener pastures of self-contentment, security in the Lord, simplifying our lives and burning off the chaff of cancerous people.
I got an email from Jen Hatmaker….I’m sure it was just to me because she and I are tight that way. Jay Jay and Kay Kay talking it out over email.
I kid. I wish.
Did I mention I’m going to IF: Gathering NEXT MONTH… IN AUSTIN… I will be just a few hundred feet from Jen laughing my full horse gum laugh and letting my eye road map wrinkles gloriously shine while I sit next to one of my best friends on this earth who I haven’t seen in over two years. The thought of next month is too lofty for me to hold in my brain.
Anywho…she sent an advanced peek for her book “For the Love” coming out in August. I know adding this on to my post makes is mega long but it is SO worth the read. She just NAILS the best parts of getting old and doing it with amazing women at your side. She is hysterical and I connect so well to her writing. Enjoy! Be of good cheer younger readers…it gets SO much better sans the aging part. It’s worth it…
“I turned forty this year.
Forty! Which is so weird because I’ve always been young. I’ve been young my whole life, as a matter of fact. No matter how I dissect this, I’ve aged out of the ‘young’ category to the ‘middle’ group. My brain feels confused about this because I am so juvenile. I make up my own words to hip-hop songs and quote Paul Rudd as an actual parenting strategy; surely I am a preteen. But much like Shakira: these hands don’t lie.
So gather round, young things, for I know you think me ancient. You think forty is so distant it cannot be comprehended, though basic math confirms it a mere, say, eleven years away. In my 20s, I pitied the middle-agers as they clearly had one foot in the grave. I will never be forty, said my young deluded self. I will always have this elastic body and newborn baby hands. My forehead will appear kissed by angels every morning. I will pee only if and when I want to.
Something weird happens to your brain. This brain has served you well for so long, but it starts punking out on you. You can’t remember directions, you forget why you walked into a room, for the life of you, you can’t recall that third kid’s name (“Take out the trash…I want to say…Chris?”). You will talk on your cell phone while looking around your house for your cell phone. No one helps because they are laughing at you; these people you live with mock this behavior. Sometimes your husband will say a sentence using English words, but for some reason, the sentence won’t compute and you stare at him blankly, like a pigeon, because the words are so confusing. What is he trying to say? What are these words? Is this a trick? Talking is hard.
And the learning. Heaven help if you need to learn something new. At this point, education is a fool’s mission. Your brain is not helpful. It is done. It already took you to college and did the heavy lifting the last twenty years, and it is taking a cigarette break. This is unfortunate because about this time you go back to middle and high school with your spawn. You are expected to help with algebra and chemistry and the remembering of all the things, but your brain resembles the bottom of your purse; lost pen caps and congealed undefined filth. It feels furious about this chemistry. It feels angry about this new math. It will not have this crap. It will take a nap and those children can work their own stuff out. Your brain already completed 11th grade. It has done its time.
Skin. Come close, all ye still bathing in the fountain of youth: TAKE CARE OF YOUR SKIN. I know, you’ll never be old and wrinkly and being tan is just the best, but you’ll soon regret this folly. It’s strange with the skin, because sometimes your brain helps you survive the bathroom mirror (remember it is addled, plus denial is strong, young Jedi), but then you see a picture and you’re like I was in some terrible lighting and also the angle is tragic and plus the shadows made my neck look weird and for the love of Annie Leibovitz DO MY FRIENDS NOT KNOW HOW TO USE INSTAGRAM FILTERS?? It is all very distressing. Sometimes I baby talk parts of my body into resisting the mutiny: Come on, Shins. I’m counting on you. You’ve always been good to me. You don’t want to be like Neck and Eyelids and Chest, those loose floozies. Hang in there, baby, and you’ll be the last part of me that sees the light of day.
Now listen, sweet young thing, in case you’ve lost the will to live, there is some good news too. You won’t just be a wrinkled, cranky chub who can’t find her glasses while wearing them. You get some other goodies besides incontinence.
You get a decent handle on who you are, what you are good at, what you love, what you value, and how you want to live. These questions used to keep me up at night. Young one, if you worry endlessly about purpose and trajectory, identity and worth, forty brings security you can’t imagine. I know what I am good at now and I do it. I’m not apologetic and uncertain and aw-shucks about running my race. I no longer tiptoe through my own life, doubting my gifts and my place, too scared to go for it, seize it, pray for it, dream it. When you’re forty, you no longer wait for permission to live. It’s time, and as Maya Angelou said, “Life loves the liver of it.”
In the same way, I don’t look sideways as much. Oh my stars, when I was 29, I was so hamstrung by what everyone else was accomplishing. Other people were my benchmark and comparison stole entire years. I lost much time in jealousy, judgment, and imitation. I just couldn’t find my own song. I struggled to celebrate others’ achievements, because they felt like indictments on my uncertainty. Now fully able to cheer wildly for friends and colleagues, a constrictive mesh netting is removed from my heart and I am free to be me, everyone else is free to be themselves, and I am thrilled about both.
At forty you develop resiliency. I needed approval desperately even ten years ago. Criticism crushed me. Conflict paralyzed me. Disapproval evaporated me. Consequently, I took the safest path through every scenario to avoid reproach. As an approval addict, it shocks even me to tell you that, to some degree, you won’t care much what anyone thinks of you, your parenting, your marriage, your career, your politics, your house, your wardrobe, your hair, your kids, your choices, your church, your dog, your new red front door, your comfortable flats, your stretchy pants, your daughter’s hair, your son’s weird occupation with vintage ska, your favorite college sweatshirt you still wear, your decision to homeschool/private school/public school, your new resolve to go vegan, your consistent purchase of Lunchables, your decision to work, your decision to quit, your random idea to purchase chickens. It just won’t matter. If people don’t like it, well, tra la la. It’s not that you become unteachable or unleadable or uncorrectable, but differing opinions stop shaking every decision and critical words won’t send you to bed. You develop chops, sister. You’re going to love it.
So sure, your body and mind get whack, but I promise, sweet young thing, you wouldn’t return to your 20’s for all the unwrinkled skin on earth. You’ll like it here. You will love better, stand taller, laugh louder. You’ll pass out grace like candy. Real life will temper your arrogance and fear, and you will adore the next version of yourself. We all will.
But just in case: wear sunscreen every day, for the love.”
I can’t tell you how many paragraphs I left out because I wanted to copy and paste them all!! So good right?
Happy New Year readers.
HAPPY ONE YEAR TO ME, to you….to all of you that have hung in here with my unbelievably infrequent blogging pattern and still chose to check in, read and leave your words of love here, on FB or Instagram. I have read and cherished each word. I have LOVED pouring my heart out on these pages and look forward to an incredible year full of MANY adventures going deeper in the kingdom!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. XOXOXO