I Burst Into Tears Yesterday…
I did. I just burst into tears. Looking back it was really quite humorous. I was standing in my bedroom. We had just returned from an impromptu day at the beach. I decided because it was a weekday and probably no one I knew was going to be at the beach….to wear a bikini. It’s been YEARS since I put a bikini on in public. I’ve always been more modest than not when it comes to swimwear. A friend has shared that I was wearing a tankini WAY before I needed to but that’s how I felt comfortable. I used to have a great figure, I still do but not like I used to. Having two boys and nearing 50 has brought all of those. changes that come along for the ride. My “middle” just isn’t what it used to be and I have a hard time with that sometimes. Especially when getting ready to put on a bathing suit.
When I was standing in my room, in my bikini, in front of the full length mirror….it just hit me. Like a ton of bricks. I’m nearing 50. 50! Now to be fair to all of you that are 50 or beyond, I’m not. I’m only 46 turning 47 but I know you might be able to relate. It was this realization that washed over me that it’s “me”. I’m the one that’s going to be 50. Not one of my friends or someone that I don’t really know that well or someone that’s always been older than me. It’s me. So I cried. Matt was standing there and looked at me and had to ask me if they were “real” tears. They were. Miles hugged me and told me that 50 wasn’t old and that I was o.k. Bless his little heart. He was right there with me, holding me and helping me feel better. He’s the sweetest and is going to make a great husband some day.
I can remember my father shaving in the mirror one day. He was probably in his early 50’s. This was almost 10 years before he became ill. He told me that when he looked in the mirror he didn’t recognize himself. That in his mind he was still that young man that could run a 6 minute mile. His body just couldn’t do what his mind remembered. He said it was strange and almost a disconnect from reality.
I’m beginning to understand what he was talking about. I have thoughts of things I can do, that I just can’t physically do anymore. It’s strange for sure. Getting older. There are beautiful things about it that I love. Having perspective toward things in a new way. Watching my children grow and become more of who they already are. Spending time deepening the relationship with my husband, family and friends. Learning more about myself and who I am. Becoming better at my skills of photography, writing, deepening my faith with God. These are all beautiful, wonderful things. But sometimes, when I’m walking by a store or somewhere that I glance my reflection, I can be startled. It’s almost as if it’s my mother who’s walking by, not me.
My new friend Pearl who’s 93 said she doesn’t even want any mirrors in her home anymore. That it’s hard to see herself so old. Now she can say that, at 93. She is definitely old. But when I look at her I see such beauty in her age. All of her lines from smiling and crying and life. She’s beautiful to me. She said she knows she needs to be gentle with herself and so do I. We all need that. We all need to be more gentle with ourselves and our expectations. I feel like that’s what getting older is about. Softening our edges. At least that’s what I’m finding for myself.
(Photo from a few years ago as I couldn’t find anything recent.)