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July 17, 2021

Confession time.

This morning I awoke feeling exhausted. Pretty much every morning I feel that way. I used to quite literally jump out of bed in the morning and happily grab my running gear, head out the door and hit the pavement for 4-6 miles.

These days I open my eyes and wonder, “is that it? Any more sleep?” When the answer appears to be a solid “no” I get up, sometimes get my running gear and sometimes run 4-5 miles. But sometimes I need coffee first.

I still work out at least 6 days a week and if I take a day off (like today) I feel guilty about it. Why is that? Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves?

As a Physical Therapist I know my body needs rest just as much as activity but as a woman in my late 40s I also see myself in the mirror as well as the ever-increasing number on the scale and cringe. Again, why is that?

So this morning I told myself I do need to rest. If I’m feeling this level of fatigue I don’t need to run. So I made coffee, powered up my device and started looking at online news sites. Quite innocently a story popped up about one of the Kardashians. (Insert audible sigh here. Why are they on every news site? Why should I care who they’re dating or not? And why is this news?) I did wonder how old this one is. Obviously there’s been a good number of alterations in her life that allow her to be an exception to the “normal aging” individual. But seeing her and wondering her age (and how I certainly am not aging like her!) did send me in an online search for “what does a normal 48 year old woman look like?”

I found a ton of articles and blogs about looking a certain age. I found even more articles and blogs on how to decrease or even eliminate my wrinkles and lose the extra 2 inches around my mid section. I found out I can inject my butt to look more round and even my biceps and quads to look more defined. And of course we all know how much Botox helps every woman. The images shown were sometimes what I consider “normal aging” but also included were Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweger and Jennifer Lopez, all of whom I think we can agree are not “normal agers”. And that made me wonder, why are we, women and men but more assuredly women, feeling like we have to spend every available dollar and moment trying to look a certain way? A certain age? Fit into clothes we wore a decade ago?

What happened to being okay with, and even celebrating, life? Why are we so against aging? Lines on skin? Extra skin surface?

I took a clinical continuing education course this week on Cognition, Nutrition and Successful Aging and not one sentence was given to beauty. So why are we as a society so focused on the superficial aspect of aging? Is there a way we can reboot? Celebrate life in all its stages? Celebrate wisdom gained through experiences? Celebrate lifetimes of friendships and marriages and growth?

So. I’m going to try. I’m going to try in my little corner of the world to focus on the goodness around me. And the blessings of friends and relationships that have lasted a generation now. I’m going to try to embrace the blessings God has given me and have grace for my many many imperfections. I can’t control lines on my face. Well, maybe with Botox I could but really? Again, why are people so against lines?? Lines are from living. Can’t we find a way to be glad for them? To see aging as a blessing?

Thats what I’m going to try to do. I won’t be perfect I know. And I will continue to complain some about wrinkles and how my bathing suits don’t fit quite like they used to or the zipper on my jeans being tighter than last year. But I’m going to try. I hope you’ll join me.

Because do you have any idea how many minutes I spend on worrying about things I can’t control? That’s not an easy question to ask because as a woman of a “certain age” I’m supposed to have my stuff together, but if we’re all honest (and I try to be honest) I think we all think about those things. Things we can’t control. Regrets. Worries. Anxieties. Tormenting ourselves over past indulgences, present worries and future anxieties. But today I am standing here saying I’m going to try. I’m going to embrace the blessings, have grace for those around me as well as myself and let go of uncontrollable issues, knowing that God is good all the time and He has a plan for me that’s better than I can even dream of, if I’ll let Him lead.

I hope you’ll join me on this journey.


Aliceson Bales

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