"Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art"
Just recently, a friend of ours disclosed her age to us. Upon my telling her we were merely a year apart in age, she commented “Gee – look what you have to look forward to” (speaking about the wrinkles in her face) Really, her wrinkles are not too bad. Actually, I'd not truly noticed them before she pointed it out. Her eyes simply glow with life, and her manner is so young and enthusiastic that the lines on her face were probably simply airbrushed out of my comprehension somewhere between my eyes, ears and heart. I wanted to say "Gurlfriend, you look beautiful to me"... but I knew she wasn't really wanting to hear my platitudes.
It makes me sad that she places such emphasis and importance on her physical looks. It causes me to think about people who work in the movie and television or modeling industry. It must be so difficult to age when your entire life is lived around a certain image of youthfulness... so much so that people do serious and stupid things to try to keep hold of the image of youth – even when they ARE old! Too sad that when someone's so busy getting 'nipped and tucked', or buying whatever new beauty product which promises to 'take ten years off' – that they miss the REWARDS that come with age.
And really – I mean come on, some women who have repeated plastic surgery, well they look like a cat when you pull the skin back on it's face. There's something almost evil looking about them. Come on, you know what I mean? There's always some extra tightness about them... just does NOT look natural! And I was thinking – like if you had one of those nips and tucks where there were some small scars and you had to go round maintaining a certain angle so no one would see... Oh, each thing would beget another thing which you would expend a great deal of energy on trying to fool people.
Yes, I do color my hair. I won't do that always. Eventually I'll go gray. When I'm 100% gray to start. I don't like the in between stage. I know some women in my life who have all gray hair and it looks lovely, in fact it creates a radiance to their face I don't see with colored hair.
I draw my own line at buying cosmetics which peel etc. No acids, natural or otherwise on this face. I am not fake-tanning. I loved the look and feel when I did do that in the past but one of the gifts of aging is the realization that a few extra years on my life would be a better choice than skin cancer.
Age is a quality of mind,
If you have left your dreams behind,
If hope is cold,
If you no longer look ahead,
If your ambitious fires are dead,
Then you are old.
Another gift I intend to embrace, is being able to relax a little. I'm not saying that I won't dress up and look nice (specially for my sweet husband!) - but I'm going to enjoy the particular beauty that comes with aging. I honestly believe there is a unique beauty for every age. I wonder if some of the women who choose to 'arrest' their physical appearence to a certain age get emotionally messed up because of it? Do they then try to modify their actions and personality to further fool others? Are they really just fooling themselves in the end?
Actually, I had two young women from my church demand to see my driver's licence recently because they could not reconcile the 14 year difference between what they thought my age to be, and what it actually is. Now, I would be lying to tell you that I wasn't flattered on some level, but its merely on a superficial level. How much more do I treasure compliments in regard to my 'inside self'. I think the accolades for these qualities are acknowledgments of God working in me, and when God's working in me – the outside no longer matters at all! Its just a shell! I know some people who are physically attractive who are like a worm eaten apple – and yet others (most of the population, really) who glow from the inside out, so you define a beauty from about them which overcomes anything reflected in their features.
Charm is deceptive,
and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
What you see on the outside of any human body is a skin which covers an imperfect being... sort of like going to a library and making assumptions on the content of each book MERELY by its cover. Some are pretty straightforward, and give a good indication, while others are nothing on the outside compared to the contents within. Guess I would have you ask yourself this question. If you were going through a tough emotional time, would you rely on someone you know on the basis of their outward good looks, or would you choose someone who's beauty you've felt from within? Someone who's beauty is formed partly by how they 'dress' themselves with genuine compassion and caring which comes from inside?
Then, no matter what lengths some women go to – at some logical point, they are OLD – no two ways about it. What happens when it all fails? They go from a 50 year old looking 70 year old woman, to a 70 year old looking 90 year old? At some point, old is old. Then who are you fooling? And how much of your living have you eaten up simply to fool other people, who if they loved you simply on your physical appearence did not really love YOU at all?
"So long as enthusiasm lasts, so long is youth still with us."
No, far better than spending your time trying to fool the clock, why not invest that time into the relationships in your lives? What if you took all the effort and money you could have spent on your own beauty, and blessed your family, someone dear or a needy person. You would become immortal perhaps. You would be remembered for far, far longer than even your physical death. Its so important to invest in your family, because eventually when you do become OLD, you will still have your loving family... who will make you feel youthful by sharing the memories you've built with them!
So, to my friend who was warning me about what to expect as my body ages... I'm so ready – I will think of each line in my face as a road on the map of life. Each wrinkle will represent something which I've lived through – some good things, some bad, but each one earned through an experience which enriched or taught me. As each fold is added to my countenence, I'll come to realize that nobody loves me less for how I look. I could compare skin to leather – which looks so nice and shiny when it's new – becomes softer, supple and nicer with age – much more useful, valuable and comfortable, I'd say.
As for old age, embrace and love it. It abounds with pleasure if you know how to use it. The gradually (I do not say rapidly) declining years are amongst the sweetest in a mans life; and I maintain, that even where they have reached the extreme limit, they have their pleasure still.
Barb's "Furry Nice' Christmas frames!
Thought I would revive these furry nice frames from my christmas vault - so real looking you will want to 'pet' them. Come to think of it, they would be idea to frame your favorite ... pet. LOL - Enjoy!