I’m no longer afraid of ageing.
I used to worry about turning 30. It seemed ancient, and far away enough to my teen-self that I assumed the world would end before I hit the big 3-0.
My mum always told me her life was over at 30 (because she had us by then), so for a long time I assumed it would be no different for me. I’d be married with an armful of kids, and my entire world would no doubt revolve around them.
But that didn’t happen. I’m still pretty far away from having kids—if I have them at all. And my business is what consumes me day to day.
The funny thing was, I turned 30 earlier this year, and I felt ready for it. It was exciting to welcome in a new decade; and leave one behind that had been tumultuous to say the least.
Despite the fact that I would still consider myself young (although I’m sure many people would dispute that), there are moments where I get caught up in comparison.
I see a photo of a beautiful, glowing woman in her twenties, or thirties, and for a split-second or two, I worry.
She looks incredible, I don’t think I’m going to age that well no matter how hard I try.
How will I feel when my hair starts turning grey, and my skin starts wrinkling?
Will I still feel beautiful at 50? What about 60, 70, and—if I get there—80?
And what will I do if I don’t?
Right now, I’m adamant I would never get Botox or surgery for cosmetic purposes. But how can I say for sure? How can I know how I’ll feel in the years to come?
Those are the thoughts that briefly flash through my mind; just for a moment or two.
Because we’re taught to equate youth with beauty, and ageing with death. And we’ve labelled beauty as good and valuable, while death is something we ignore and hope to avoid at all costs. But of course, it’s inevitable. This is the circle of life.
Women in particular become outcast as they age; disappearing a little more as each day goes by. The crones and wisdom keepers who used to be the pillars of our communities have been shunned for attributes that are entirely physical. Things like beauty, strength, youth.
I’m sure it will be a shock to notice my body change, slow, and soften. To watch my luscious black hair fading to a hard grey, my skin find more folds and creases, and my breasts find gravity. To look in the mirror, and not expect the reflection that greets you, because 20 years have flown by and sometimes you forget.
But I’m no longer afraid of ageing.
I’m ready for new phases of life to come my way, and to embrace the changes that my body and mind will naturally go through. I’m ready to take all of the adventures and lessons I’ve learned, and transmute them into wisdom, which I can then pass on. And I can still have adventures; just slower and stiller ones.
I am no longer attached to my physical body or beauty; because I know that it is all temporary, all of it. It could be all gone in a second today. So I don’t base my value on what I look like or how other people see me. My soul is the only unchangeable, constant in my life and in yours, and this is what truly matters.
Every day I wake up, I am older, and so are you. We’re dying from the moment we’re born. And this isn’t something to live in fear of. This is natural. This is life. But every day I wake up, my world is richer, I am wiser, and I am mentally stronger. I am further down the winding path, getting closer to fulfilling my mission here in this lifetime.
And I’m sure there will still be moments where I am struck by the beauty of a young woman, and find my mind travelling down memory lane; missing the absence of what I used to have. But in those moments, I will remind myself of all I have gained, how I have loved and lost, and how I have grown.
This is the beauty of ageing. This is what age has to offer you, if you’re ready to welcome it in.