Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Beauty Of Turning Thirty

I turned thirty last week. People act like it's some sort of scary milestone that everyone is supposed to dread, but I figure I've got a few more years before I need to bust out the Depends. Besides, I think I reached my peak at around 25, so it has all been going downhill anyway. No biggie.

A few years ago my youngest sister – in her teens – commented on the ugliness of my slip-on backless shoes.

I shrugged. “They're comfortable,” I said.

She eyed me for a moment.

“Thirty's comin',” she said.

I just laughed in hearty agreement. Thirty was nothing to fear. It was just another tickmark on the wall, another calendar day gone by, and now that it's arrived, I feel exactly the same way. Plus I'm totally okay with sometimes wearing ugly, comfortable shoes and not giving a flip what anyone else thinks.

But I suppose I sometimes feel like those shoes. The hardest part about getting older, I think, is that we start to believe our external beauty is fading – at least, we women do. (Why do men get better looking as they get older? Seriously, what is up with that? So not fair...)

We don't like to admit it, but beauty is so important to us girls. Especially us mamas, because we tend to push ourselves to the side while we care for others' needs. We may shift our focus and priorities as we get older, but that doesn't mean we don't still long for others to see beauty in us.

I have never felt 'beautiful' by the world's standards, so I can't really say I feel like I'm losing something in this new decade. Instead I'm finally beginning to grasp what beauty truly is. It has nothing to do with the lies that we tell ourselves for thirty years, and many times our whole lives. (You know, that list you keep of what you need to change about yourself in order to be attractive.)

If beauty was meant to be found in perfection, then there would be none.

No, beauty has never had a standard. It has never been about achieving some vague idea of 'perfect'. It's in what we create out of the imperfection.

It's in our silliness, in laughing at ourselves, in our loving each other despite our faults. It's in the worn hands that have labored sacrificially, and in the little eyes that reflect a love I don't deserve. It's in the hope that springs from our brokenness; it's in every precious moment we take a breath.

With age comes wisdom (I have the strands of gray to prove it), and perhaps that is why I see more beauty around me than ever before. I know the truth about it. 

I know that I am completely and utterly imperfect, and I know that I'm okay with that.

These thirty years have molded me each and every step of the way. They have not always been kind, but they have been full, they have been blessed, and I am a richer woman than I ever could have imagined I would be.

I know how much life can be lived in thirty years, how much beauty can be found. And to that I say, bring on the next thirty.