It used to be that new clients would fill out their intake forms and I knew without looking at their birthdate that I was younger than most of them by what felt like a large gap. With that age difference, I unconsciously felt an insecurity. But then, as if overnight, it shifted and I started to realize that I was the same age and sometimes older than the client before me. I would be shocked inside. When did this happen? Below the level of my conscious mind, I expected it to change again, that I would be the younger one again; this was just a fluke. But that’s not how it went. I was no longer the younger one. And even more surprisingly, I was no longer the less life-experienced and knowledgeable one.
My hands are showing their years of work. The sun spots on my skin remind me of my mom’s. As a kid, I remember sitting on my mom’s dressing room counter top watching her get dressed for work before the school bus came. I loved that ritual of watching her put her curlers in her hair (the hot kind that would turn dark red in the middle when they were ready). I would talk with her as she picked out her outfit in the closet with the sound of sliding hangers on the rod as she searched for what would feel good that day. I’d watch as she put on her stockings and the little bit of make-up that she wore. I remember in watching her get ready that the skin on her torso looked soft, almost like a baby’s, not fat, but soft. I thought it was different from mine, but didn’t associate it with age. I don’t remember what words she used, but one time she commented on how her skin wasn’t taught anymore. I now look in the mirror and see that I am softening, too. I am probably the age she was then. It is shocking and I don’t want to feel shocked. I want this process to feel natural, organic, as if everything is right on time and I am at ease with it. Well it is right on time and it is shocking and I am working on being at ease with it. But this is how it goes…this process of adjusting to an ever changing body. Our minds don’t feel like we are growing older. Our body tells us. This becomes an opportunity. It is an opportunity to make peace and to truly celebrate this place, this time, this age. It is up to us to keep feeling beautiful, sensual, valuable and alive in this world within the inevitable changing that must happen.
I am coming to realize that this time is not one to shrink from, but exactly the opposite. It is one to bask in. The coming decades, however many of them we have left, offer us the chance to savor the fruits of our experiences, of our hard work, of our wisdom and knowledge. It can be a time to relish in our skills, in our confidence, in what we can share because we can trust in what we know and are more comfortable with the process of learning. We can step into the role and own it. We don't have to prove ourselves, strive hard, or care so preciously what others think. We can do what our hearts tell us and not be reigned in by fear of how it will be perceived. We no longer need to explain or get others’ permission. We can make choices and deal with the consequences without questioning ourselves like it's life or death. We can be open and soft because our defenses are down as we trust more in life’s path and our own resiliency. This is a great time.
I find myself not caring if I am too corny or like something that is not fashionable right now. My coolness barometer is no longer in a prominent place. It is still highly functioning, but is at a further distance. What a gift. I wouldn’t change this time for another one. I am going to celebrate this decade and strengthen this resolve in me to celebrate every next decade going forward. What an honor it is to be here. When I forget, as I am likely to do in moments, especially in our society that does everything in its power to tell us that maturing is something to avoid, I will come back to reading this and to remembering the gifts I have now that I could not have in my 20’s and 30’s. I am who I am now and she is the person I want to be, aging perfectly.