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Shifting shadows. . . and other things that move

Feb 15, 2012

I’m getting older.Not old. . . but definitely older.My birthday from ages 25 to 34 went by with little fanfare. I celebrated with family and friends as usual and somehow didn’t feel the emotional weight of the passage of time. Even when my thirtieth came, it was a completely festive time. Unlike some who I’ve heard bemoan moving into another decade and long for the youth that their twenties represented, I was comfortable – even eager to see what my thirties would bring.That all changed a couple years ago. On my 35th birthday, I woke up with a stunned sense of nostalgia. While I didn’t feel sadden by this new milestone, I was far more thoughtful and somber. All of a sudden, I was closer to 40 than to 30 and my emotions didn’t know how to handle it. I felt a bit like a deer caught in headlights – staring into the full blast of my older self -widened hips and all. Since then, I’ve felt the same on each birthday that I’ve had and the evidence of my nearness to forty. . is upon me. . . . .with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.That’s how James 1:17 describes God – unchanging and unmoving. No matter how much time passes, He will always be exactly the same as He always was.. . . and good thing that someone will be Him because it’s becoming clear to me that I won’t.Things are shifting and moving over here. Parts of me that used to look one way are starting to look another. Some of the outfits I’ve been enjoying for years just don’t work on my body anymore. There are a few lines that are creeping out for the corners of my eyes every time I smile and a single crevice on each side of my mouth that is evident even when my face is relaxed. My feet are bigger – flattened out by the weight of three pregnancies and several visible veins that run like blue rivers right underneath the skin on the back of my hand. My stomach seems to be upset far more frequently by certain kinds of delightful foods that my much younger tummy enjoyed on demand and evidence of excess calories is showing up at a record rate. And the workout that has sufficed for the past 10 years, keeping me fairly fit, isn’t doing the trick anymore. My thighs are literally laughing out loud at that routine and daring me to try something different.Yes, things are shifting. It seems like everyday I can see some shifting occurring – variations to the woman that I’ve been until now. It’s like I’m being introduced to a brand new person.I’m ok with aging but I’ve been thinking about it alot more in recent months as I’ve watched time begin to take it’s all too familiar toll. Here are some of the questions that I’ve been pondering:

In a day and age when our culture continues to say that “beauty is everything” how do we grow old gracefully?

What’s the line between accepting the appropriate effects of the passage of time while continuing to take part in activities and lifestyle that makes you feel “young”?

What changes to our bodies should we consider “normal” and which ones should we put the extra effort and energy into to try to hold back the hands of time regarding?

At what point, and in what way, should we “let go” and allow something to shift without working to keep it from happening?

How do we balance appropriate health and beauty goals with the realities of age?There’s been an interesting discussion going on in my head, but I think I’d better invite you guys into it before “talking-to-myself” gets added to my list of aging attributes.So. . . go! It’s your turn.:)Priscilla