I have been hemming and hawing over whether I wanted to post my first and current profile pictures on Facebook to see how I have aged. I was not worried about the difference in my looks. Because let me tell you, the last 11 years have done a number on my body. But I am 47 years old. I think. It sometimes takes me a while to remember and the calculations are just impossible. I am middle aged; of course I am going to look “old.” What I thought about was why it mattered how I have aged.
Looking at the photos of my friends, I can honestly say that I prefer the way they all look NOW! And while I definitely had fewer wrinkles, much less grey hair and my jeans were probably 2 sizes smaller, I would never trade any of those things for the amount of life that I have lived in those years.
When my first photo was taken, I had just started dating my future husband and we were out wine tasting with my sister. It was an amazing day. My current photo was on my last birthday with my husband, my son and 2 of my 4 bonus kids. It was also a great day. Sure I drink a lot less know and I need a hell of a lot more sleep, but I can still find the joy in my life.
Also in these 11 years, I married an awesome guy who cherishes me and we had a son. Watching that kid grow is one of the best things in the world. Yet, I have a scar from my C-Section. Oh well.
We bought our first house together and have made it a home. Some days, the cost of the mortgage and property taxes add to my grey hair, but we have both worked very hard to have this home and it is so worth it.
I have had family members who I cherished deeply pass away which still hurts my heart, and I have held newborn babies of friends which reminds me that no matter what happens, the world keeps turning and it is fabulous.
I have had friendships fade away just in the course of life, lack of similar interests or illness, but I have also made new friends who I know are in it for the long haul and will be there for me in good times and bad.
I have had breast cancer. Twice. It’s ridiculous and it has taken it’s toll on my body. I now have reconstructed breasts, but I don’t need to wear a bra anymore and one of them has a beautiful tattoo of cherry blossoms on it. I had a full hysterectomy, but yay, no more periods! The medication that I take has a lot of side effects: I move slower, I have hot flashes constantly, I can’t get a full night sleep to save my life and the pain in my joints make me feel like I am in my 80’s. But I am still here.
I stopped working when my son was born and I was really good at my job. I chose to be a stay at home mom, and I don’t regret that. Ever. But a couple of years ago, I started to want more for me than to be someone’s wife or mother. I needed to find my identity again. My second time around with cancer has led me to a future career as an advocate for breast cancer and a public speaker.
All of these things are just some of what has happened in my life in the last 11 years. But I have lived and I would not have it any other way. I am proud of my laugh lines; they show that I have things to laugh at. I will cherish my wider hips; I have a son and loved being pregnant. My grey hair takes less upkeep than any other color that I have tried.
Of course I have aged. I have lived.