“The weird thing is, you get more comfortable in yourself, even as time is giving you less reason for it. When you’re young and beautiful, you’re paranoid and miserable. I think one of the great advantages of getting older is that you let go of certain things.” – Helen Mirren
In a couple of days, I will officially be in a new age bracket on those ubiquitous household surveys. Trivial questionnaires aside, signs of aging inevitably appear from time to time in the strands of silver hair that sparkle in the sunlight, and little laugh lines that radiate from the corners of my eyes when I smile. Some might say I should start thinking of colouring my hair or consider the latest injections, but in truth, I love my sparkly hair, and laugh lines have never concerned me. There is plenty to celebrate about turning 35:
I choose to be curious and celebrate the changes I experience in my body. I may not be as flexible as I was 15 years ago, but I am stronger in my yoga practice and feel comfortable about slowing down instead of pushing myself to go faster and to burn more calories. My joints might talk to me from time to time, and I treat them with the kindness of warm oil massages, baths with epsom salt, and warm, nourishing meals. I no longer count calories and try to burn them off during intense cardio sessions or with sweaty power yoga. Slow-flowing yet challenging Vinyasa, interspersed with delicious Yin and meditation practices feel better in my body. I pay closer attention to my digestive health and cycle-sync my fitness plan.
If it were possible to return to my early 20s, with the life experience I now have under my belt and a more mature outlook on life, I would have been more successful in university and with my career. I do not wish I could re-write the past, but I value the opportunity to continue to progress and learn, and learn, and learn. There are still many unanswered questions and so much to discover.
In my 20s, I seized opportunities but had to learn to say ‘no’ to what in retrospect I knew from the start was not the right fit for me. Today, with the intention of holding space for self-care and to offer a greater focus where my attention is most needed, I do not hesitate to decline certain invitations. In the same breath, I say ‘Yes’ to other incredible opportunities, even when I feel that my knowledge or talents might not be adequate. Instead, I prepare myself to learn as I go. I confidently create room for potential. I teach my children to do the same. It is my wish for them to feel confident in themselves and their abilities, but also to strive to do better and to be better versions of themselves every day.
I dress better in my 30s than I did 10 years ago and feel more comfortable in my body. I know what works best for my body and what I can wear to look elegant yet comfortable at the same time. Cute and tiny string bikinis were once a must for me at the beach; otherwise, I felt, I looked uncool. Today, I prioritise sun safety. Although I still favour two-piece swimwear (I have a long torso and generally do not enjoy one-piece suits), I also don long-sleeved linen button-down shirts, wide-brim hats, and slather physical sunblock on any part of my body exposed to the sun.
I read better books today, both fiction and non-fiction. I read books that nurture my creative side and help me to be a better mother, partner, yogi, writer, and teacher. I also read books that challenge my worldview and expand my knowledge base.
The silver hair and age lines are inevitable, and they come with a beautiful territory. I admire confident older women with impeccable style and their hair in a chic silver bob, with perfectly manicured nails and Manolo Blahniks. Getting older need not suggest letting one’s hair grow wild or wearing baggy clothes to hide one’s figure. I hope that I will, some day, get to be a chic silver-haired grandmother who rocks gorgeous high heels (okay, maybe just on special occasions). For now, I celebrate with gratitude 34 wonderful years and look forward to what the coming year has to offer.
Join the conversation by leaving a comment below. How do you feel about aging naturally?
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Favourites from around the web:
On yoga and aging: A fantastic interview with Desiree Rumbaugh and Michelle Marchildon
Women and Moon-Cycle Empowerment – A great interview on how we can be more in tune with our bodies by cycle-syncing not only our yoga practice but also how we design our lives off the mat.
How to Build Resilience in Midlife – Excellent tips to practise staying resilient to overcome setbacks. I think this is a must-read for everyone.
Leap When You’re Almost Ready – We don’t ever have to be 100% ready to make a move. As Mr. Wanderlust likes to say, I tend to jump the gun without thinking something through. I always respond that I say ‘Yes’ first, then figure things out as I go. When I go with the flow, the experience exhilarates me but never leaves me feeling terrified.