It is pretty incredible to me the profound and dramatic difference in the way I look from age 30 to now, on the cusp of turning 37. I have lines where once I did not, my hair is thinner and just less awesome than it used to be, and I have fat in weird places that make me think “when did this happen and more importantly, why?!?”. I looked in the mirror the other day and was struck by just how much my face, my nose in particular, has changed. I used to have my mother’s adorable turned up nose, so pretty and so feminine. Now have my father’s, for serious. no. joke. Nose. It’s prominent and Jewish and unmistakably his.
When did this happen I ask myself?
When did I become this person?
I genuinely miss, but definitely not mourn, the face of my youth. Full, plump, turned up nose and sun freckled free.
What I find so interesting about the whole aging process is the incredible lack of fucks I have to give about it. Seriously, I can’t get over how much less I care than I did in my early 20’s. It’s cruel really. In your 20’s, you’re so, so much more preoccupied with your outside appearance. I was never in love with how full my face was until my late 20’s when my face became dramatically less full and my cheekbones became prominent for the first time. I had always coveted “thin, older” faces, cause grass is always greener, right?! But the tradeoff was that now I had lines where there most definitely weren’t any.
The paradox of no fucks given to real, visible change is weird and hard to understand. For so long I cared, for so long it was about the outward; then like a quick summer storm, it changed. My internal became louder and drowned out the external and then I was someone else, new but not. It’s not that I no longer care about what I look like entirely, it’s that I have the most amazing sense that what’s looking back at me in the mirror now is perfect; my father’s nose, my forehead wrinkles and my sun freckles, and they all seem just right.
I would never like to go back in time. I have no interest in being 23 or 25 again. I love the wisdom of no fucks given. It is far more useful than youth and beauty. Looks will only get you so far, and if you have based much of your existence around them you will not like the future. You did not peak in high school or your early twenties. I promise. Being able to look past what’s directly in front of you, being able to see you for what you’re made up of, beyond just physical attributes, is a power far greater than outward physical beauty.
So, do all the things to savor your youth, ‘cause you know I do. I eat right, I exercise, I get lots of sleep, and I use excessively expensive skincare. There’s no shame or waste in trying to age gracefully. Just because you’ve learned the magical lesson of not caring doesn’t mean you should no longer care, it just means that you can do all the other things with less thought and preoccupation of “I hope I’m pretty enough” or “good thing I’m pretty” Go start a business, finish your degree, have a child, have another child, leave a shitty relationship, do all or none of these things. Just do them with the incredible, innate knowledge that you are perfect just as you are, at the age that you are, with your father’s nose, your forehead wrinkles, and your sun freckles.