Warning...this is a long one but it's my birthday so indulge me (wink, wink).
When I was younger and heard people say that age was just a number I always brushed it off as an older person trying not to sound old. Now that I'm the one saying it, I know that it is so much more than that.
While there is no denying that our bodies can only do so much when it comes to aging and creams and scalpels can only preserve youth to a certain extent, our minds, hearts and spirits are another story. We alone are in control of our attitude toward life no matter what life stage we are in. Our mental outlook can be that of a fresh young thing or a bitter older woman. Our hearts can choose to be thankful for what we have and see those who love us, or they can focus on betrayal and discontent. Our spirits can soar with anticipation and hope or they can wallow in what might have been or used to be.
At 52 I am more secure in who I am, in who I was created to be and it what brings me happiness. I am less concerned with what others think of me and with trying to be all things to all people. I am realizing that following God's will for my life does not give me the authority to judge how others live their lives. I am learning that loving people does not mean changing them or condoning their actions. I have learned everyone has a story. No ones life is absent of struggle and heartache. I am learning to forgive myself for my past wrongs as I accept the human frailties and imperfections of others.
Kelly Rae Roberts wrote the most thought provoking post yesterday on finding our voices and she shared this quote...
"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen." ― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
This is so true. How we live our lives after the struggle is what defines our beauty. Not the date on our birth certificates or gene pool. When people say age is just a number, I get it. In so many ways I feel younger now than when I was in my thirties and forties and carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders.
I spent the majority of the first 50 years of my life trying to please others and control circumstances so that the world would be better according to my vision. What a waste of time and energy. What a load of angst I gave and carried. It can be difficult to let go of the past. It can be difficult to truly forgive both others and ourselves but hanging on to past hurts and disappointments only enslaves us further to them.
Oh, sweet ones. As women we need to learn to love ourselves, imperfections, limitations and all. We need to stop expecting others to bring us joy and learn to find joy in the beauty around us. We need to count our blessings and be thankful instead of focusing on our disappointment and pain.
"Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." Philippians 4:11-13
I know you have a story...I know your life has been filled with struggles, mine has too. I have stories that would shock you, stories that would bring you to tears. We all do.
Living a beautiful life is a choice and at 52 I choose to be thankful and content even if everything around me is telling me otherwise.