I am 43 years old, but my lips are 60.
My lips have been an unhealthy obsession of mine for the past few months; a year ago they were the lips I always had, but somewhere between 42 and 43— they changed drastically. They are my spot—the one you can look and see that oh, yes, she is indeed old if ever you are fooled by my Nike Air Force 1s and high, side ponytail. There is simply no denying my mid-life status when you notice the wrinkles around my collagen-less lips. Those suckers age me like the former smoker, tin-foil-with-baby-lotion tanning person that I was for so many years.
There are other things about aging that I struggle to accept too, like grey hair on my head that just doesn’t grow like it used to and hair on my face that won’t stop growing! Wrinkles around my knees, sagging body-part-of-your-choice and a metabolism that is on life support.
Aging is tough.
It feels like my body is betraying me at an alarming rate. Perhaps I didn’t appreciate things like skin elasticity and thick hair and a mediocre (one step up from turtle-speed slow!) metabolism when I had them. I know that my obsession with all-things-looks is superficial and it just adds to this mid-life confusion because I have never been one to judge my own appearance so damn much. I desperately want to accept that aging is a fact and I want to see every wrinkle and jiggle and grey hair as a reflection of a blessed life well-lived. I am not there, yet. But I am closer than I once was. I am now fully-aware that the real solution to my aging frustrations doesn’t come in a bottle or injections; the real solution is actually internal. Products can and do help, but acceptance will cure.
Ironically, as I navigate through this mid-life awareness, I am fully aware that things on the inside have never felt better! I love who I am. After years and years and years of struggling with things like anxiety and an overwhelming need for approval form anyone other than myself, I finally love who I am (on the insides) today—no excuses. And this comes after years of hard work; of brutal honesty and acceptance and accountability; of changing my every thought about myself from judgements and hate to grace and love. I put the work in for years and now the caterpillar has turned into a butterfly and I am not afraid or embarrassed to say I love my character today.
So, why then, can’t I also love my outsides? My life has been far from easy. I know how blessed I am to have the important things- my health, sobriety and 3 amazing children. A roof over my head and enough money to make it from paycheck to (well, a few days before) paycheck. I have lived without all of those things at one point in my life, and only dreamed of the life I have now. I am grateful. I am fulfilled. I am blessed.
But I am wrinkled. And wrinkling. And somehow, someway, I need to catapult myself into acceptance of this thing called aging. I know that acceptance requires work because I did the work to love my insides. So now, I must put that same amount of effort and willingness and care into loving my outsides because this body, with these wrinkles, and the grey hair and saggy body part of your choice? It’s all I got and I sure hope that it sticks with me for at least another 43 years. I must choose self-love— wrinkles and grey hair and all. I must accept that I am exactly where I am supposed to be and that no matter what happens to my lips or my eyes or my veiny hands— I am beautiful and I am the unique and worthy woman who God created me to be. Next time I look in the mirror and obsess over some lip-wrinkles or grey hair, I need to take charge of my thoughts and turn each negative into positive. I need to see the sparkle in my eye or the beauty of another day alive with lips that still taste and speak and kiss. I need to look at my reflection in the mirror and say I love you because really— I do love me. Insecurities can’t win because I worked way too hard to become good on the inside to obsess over the outsides.
So, today—right now, I bid goodbye to my fear and resistance to aging. Because as they say—the alternative is much worse—all too many people didn’t wake up today. Today, I am alive and healthy and I have been for over 43 years and I have the wrinkles to prove it and when I look at it that way—well maybe… just maybe… I can say these lips and wrinkles are kind of beautiful.