The other day the 40 year old me got out a photo of the 27 year old me as I was teaching a section of my image consulting course which covers what kinds of facial features and shapes best suit very short hair. I wasn’t as taken aback by my Pixie haircut, which was more utilitarian than flattering, as one might imagine. What really struck me was how great my skin looked. I was fresh, tight and dewy and I looked so young . There was not an age spot, sag, crease or wrinkle to be seen. Because I suffered with acne from the ages 13 – 26 until I went on Roaccutane I spent those acne ridden years feeling disfigured and unattractive (and always had hair to hide behind). This haircut was a liberation, it was stepping out from behind my hair curtain – my skin was the best it’s ever been, no longer did people comment on ‘how pretty you’d be if you didn’t have those pimples‘, the kind of advice nobody needs or wants to hear! But when that picture was taken I had felt that I needed to wear bright lipstick to make me look half decent and feminine. I had no idea how great I looked.
As I looked at myself straight in the picture what I saw in myself is that I had not appreciated the power of my youth when I had it. The pixie from the past gave me a message much wiser than her 27 years, “It’s time to start focusing on enjoying the power of your current ‘middle youth’ rather than letting that slip past you all too quickly. “
Truth be told, I don’t feel more than 30 years old in my mind – that is my mental age, which is currently a good 10 years behind my physical age. I am still that young woman in my head, just with a better haircut. Sometimes I look at my children and wonder whose they are, as I’m still way too young to have kids! No matter my denial, I am aging. I am lucky that my body works well, though I really need to start appreciating it more than I do, by exercising it more regularly and feeding it less chocolate (though I do always read thoroughly those studies that tell you chocolate is good for you and full of antioxidants).
Earlier this year I wrote a letter to my body which made me focus on appreciating what my body does for me day-in day-out, as well as the extraordinary things it has done for me during my lifetime so far. Reading my letter again is motivating me to step away from the chocolate, shut down the computer and get off the couch and do something with this wonderful body of mine before it’s too late.
It has made me realise that I need to add to my letter that it’s time to focus daily on seeing the youth, beauty, and vitality I have now and not waiting until later (and when is later anyway?) to appreciate it. It’s the journey, not the destination that really counts. I am only 40, which is not old in the scheme of things, and something I’m reminded of frequently by my lovely, stylish friend Jan who is 19 years my senior.
Do you take charge or your life or are you letting it pass you by?
What does your younger you and present you have to teach you about appreciating yourself?
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