I watched an Oprah interview recently with Dr. Maya Angelou. I was already a ridiculously huge fan of both these women, but after the interview, I loved and admired both of them even more. They are wise, intelligent, accomplished, beautiful women who talked about the joys of aging and the wisdom that comes from many years of a life well-lived.
Oprah: What is your advice on aging?
Dr. Angelou: Oh my, DO IT, if you can! Try for the 80s if you have the chance. And when you get there, be glad you got that far. Age gracefully. Don't be one of those women who fights age. Embrace it! Don't be anxious about aging. Just be grateful for all you know when you get there. Be constantly grateful. For breath, for phone calls, for the light coming in the windows, for the ability to see it. And be grateful for the clouds, because you know that God always puts a rainbow in those clouds for you to find.
Don't you just LOVE that? I occasionally struggle with the desire to look the way I did when I was 18 or to be able to fit into smaller sized jeans or to have fewer responsibilities. But if I had to trade the wisdom I've gained and the understanding I currently have, to get all of those things back, it totally wouldn't be worth it. Mostly, I am SO grateful everyday to be 43 and to be living right now. I wouldn't want to go back to the 20s if it meant I would have to relearn all the things I've learned in the last 20 years. And after spending some serious quality time with my three teenaged daughters, I KNOW I wouldn't want to go back to high school. I SO wish sometimes that I could just pour all of my experience into their little brains. But then they would miss the joy of learning all those things for themselves. (...sigh...)
I hope they get (sooner than I did) that it isn't all about what you look like or how many likes you have on Facebook and Instagram. That you don't need the approval of the whole world to know what you know. That you can be beautiful at any age and any weight...and in any lighting! And that the most important beauty isn't even on the outside at all. It radiates from within. Confidence, joy and kindness make every woman glow. I hope my daughters are happy when they get to their 30s and 40s and look forward with joyful anticipation to their 80s. And I hope they teach their own daughters that who they ARE is more important than what they look like.
I am grateful to know the things I know, and to have been around the corners I've been around. And from what Dr. Angelou says, it sounds like it just gets better every decade after this one. How exciting!