I am 47 years old. I have 47 years of living each and every day as me. Every age ... every stage ... of this lifetime. Every single step I took toward something or someone. Every single step I took away. It's amazing how every memory is sewn right into the very fabric of who we are. It's fascinating that my mind can sometimes flash open hard drives of childhood and adolescence and adulthood, awakening parts and pieces of me that bring me back to that very day, that very moment, that very emotion.
It's extraordinary how we age, isn't it?
Today, I am going to celebrate the very art of aging. The true gift of living.
I stepped out of the shower and took a long, hard look in the mirror. I gasped as I often do, at the lines, the grays, the bulges and flaps. And as I got dressed and began to put my makeup on, it occurred to me that every mark and mole, every ounce gained and elasticity lost, every sun-speckled wrinkle and dimple has its time in my own timeline of days gone by...
Filled with living.
My blue eyes have seen 47 years. For 17,155 days, I have woken from sleep and opened them to see. I figure I have used them about 16 hours of every day, so my eyes have given me vision for 274,480 hours. I reflect on the majestic landscapes, the precious faces, the atrocities and the victories I have been witness to in my life every moment of each hour. I smiled and squinted and sobbed with these eyes. I marveled and raged and cheered wide-eyed with wonder and dismay. I have rolled them and winked them and stared deeply into other precious eyes to find new souls before me.
My laugh lines
I am guessing I have probably laughed and smiled for an estimated five hours every day, which means I have smiled for 85,775 hours in my lifetime. That big grin that contorts my face has seemingly been a fierce force of joy in my days. I think back on the most hilarious memories, the greatest stories lived and told, the friendships and family that helped create those smiles, and the glorious views I have witnessed that inspire my face to shine. These laugh lines are my marks of joy.
My flabby arms
I have held babies and children, teens and adults in my arms roughly three hours a day, averaging the parenting of my babies into that as well. Three hours a day totals 51,465 hours my arms have wrapped around another soul. There is nothing sweeter than a full embrace of another. I have been the recipient and the giver of the most tremendous means to connect with someone in each of those hugs, those holds, those carries.
My cellulite covered-thighs
I have walked and stood and moved with my legs for an estimated 10 hours a day, which means I have used my legs for 171,550 hours in my lifetime. These legs have moved me to new cities, up mountains and down streets winding through places new and old. They have bent and knelt and kicked and pushed through life's vigorous waves of mobility. They transported me to serve and travel and push my babies in strollers for miles. With my freedom to move, I can accomplish anything.
My grey hair
I was born with blonde hair that grows an average of six inches per year. My hair has been budding new strands with a length of 282 feet of locks to cut and groom. I have only given 10 of those inches away, and I pray there is a precious blonde out there that survived her need to wear it. What a gift it is to have what many merely wish for. A form of beauty and grace and identity, my locks have served me well.
My mama pouch
I have grown two children in my womb and these gifts have filled 11 years of my life. I will assume 24 hours a day (moms, you get that right?), which means 96,360 hours I have reaped the reward of child bearing. My skin has stretched and molded into a mother's belly leaving behind the remnants of what was created within. Threaded of worn bands that fail to keep it in place, it swells to remember what was once inside.
My bulging hips
My hips have shifted to fit those babes, and hormones have charged them wider. My hips have changed and rearranged dramatically in my menopausal years of ending a season of womanhood and gathering grace for the next. The layers of years added on to my bone have slowly increased my girth. Expanding as never before, reminding me that I am more of a woman now than every before. Empty of parts, but full of residual physical traits that accentuate its splendor. I have been a woman every hour of every day for 47 years ... Which means I have celebrated the unbelievably relentless and most extraordinary existence of my gender for 411,720 hours.
I don't see my crow's feet. I see the miracle of my vision.
I don't see those wrinkles. I hear the laughter.
I don't see these flabby arms. I feel the warm embraces lingering.
I don't see the cellulite. I remember where these legs have taken me.
I don't see the gray hair. I measure these locks to give again.
I don't see the pouch. I cherish the vessel that gave me my babies.
I don't see the bulges. I realize the fierce and beautiful woman I am.
I will celebrate the undeniable blessing of being alive for 47 years, 17,155 days, 411,720 hours...
THIS is living deeply and deeply living.
47 Years Of Thankful...
How many years of thankful are you? Cherish every year, day, hour.
May we celebrate our age through the lens of gratitude instead of groans.<
A version of this post was originally published on TheMomCafe.com.