Friday, September 12, 2014

You-tiful

I love living.  I love that I'm
alive to love my age.  There 
are many people who went
to bed just as I did yesterday
evening and didn't wake this
morning.  I love and feel very
blessed that I did.  I love, too,
that I know a little more today
than I did yesterday, or I simply
know it more profoundly.

~Maya Angelou, at age 85




I sat in my share of waiting
rooms the last few weeks, 
and with waiting rooms come
magazines.

Sometimes I found only
worn and dog-eared issues
of Field and Stream, but in
other offices, a vast selection
of current publications was
at my fingertips.





Fall has traditionally been one
of my favorite times to flip
through magazines, with all
of the autumn fashions.  Even
the ads are sumptuous
and inspiring.

But this year, the ads that
seemed to catch my eye the
most weren't about wrap
dresses or tall boots, wool
capelets or plaid pants.




They were all about finding
ways (in their words) to:

beat the clock
be a more youthful you
age perfectly
erase lines and wrinkles
blur time

And this gem:

Lose Years IN MINUTES!




Which, when you consider
Maya Angelou's quote, is

just
sad.

She didn't focus on spots
or wrinkles, younger looking
skin or hair, but in living.





And even though Maya 
survived some tumultuous
personal years, I doubt she'd
have agreed to lose a single
one in return for a more
youthful look.

Because she knew that human
beings grow from years that
are extremely challenging. 
And, scattered amongst the
sad times, happy moments
still glitter like diamonds.

Erasing years erases both.





I thought more about this idea as I
skimmed the obituary section
of our newspaper last Sunday.

Many of the stories were
accompanied by current photos,
or photos of the departed in
his or her youth.

Several included both, 
side by side.




As I gazed at the faces before
me, some smiling, some more
sober, others in uniform, I
wondered if those particular
photos were chosen because 
the families thought they most 
accurately matched who their 
loved ones were, inside.

This is so him.
She always wore a smile.
I loved him in uniform.
The best day of her life. 




Longing to be younger is
a lot like wanting to be a
different height, have brown
eyes instead of blue, or to be
small-boned when you have
your grandmother's larger
ones.

It's not going to happen.




Instead of encouraging us to
obsess over lost youth, I'd
love a culture that says,

Be the healthiest that you 
can for your current age--
fit, happy and vibrant.

You-tiful, versus youthful.




If someone asked you to look
through a photo album of your
life, at what age would you
feel that you looked the

you-est?

It's a bittersweet exercise.




When I posed this question to
my husband, he didn't hesitate.

Forty.

I might choose the same age, 
although I'm really still a work in
progress.  A picture from ten years 
ago, while softer and less lined, 
also lacks the many small joys and
heart sounds I've collected since then, 
which are reflected in my face--
smile crinkles and all.




We should love to be alive
to love our age, whatever that
age might be.  The laugh lines,
the twinges of arthritis from a
broken arm, the sun spots mirroring
our time outdoors, the ropy veins
on hands that have soothed or
cheered on others, the inevitable
grey hairs or that persistent baby 
roll, all tell a beautiful and 
unique story.

Our own.

That's my idea of 
aging perfectly.

How about yours, 
you-tiful 
friends?




xo
Suzanne

All pictures P&H












20 comments:

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

I'm so on the same page with you, Suzanne! This wonderful post gave me goose bumps! See you soon, my friend...xo

Sue said...

absolutely agree ~
You say it beautifully. I am just happy to be here, so many aren't.

Dianna said...

Suzanne, you ALWAYS make me think...and this post is no exception...especially with my 65th birthday just around the corner. I loved 20...I loved 30...and 40 and 50...but 65? Well, its had me struggling. Thank you for sharing your heart and thoughts here!

Julie said...

I only know one word to say. Amen. After last year...AMEN. Love you. sending hugs to Minnesota! :-) <3

Lucy martin said...

I have read this a couple times...:) your posts are always so rich and satisfying I feel like I have had a visit with a good friend.

Youtiful is brilliant...and something I want to be each and every day.

Hope your waiting room visits are done!
xo

Seawashed said...

We'll lose years in minutes stood out to me but not the way it is intended. Who wants to lose years? I find myself trying to hold on to the days of each year. Seems they are flying by the older I get. But like you I am grateful to be alive and am aging gracefully. I have actually returned to embracing my beauty as I did when I was in my early 20's. Letting my hair grow naturally long and using no products in it. Wearing no makeup (I never have worn much) but even less now. I cleanse and use sunblock but really just some shimmer pink on my lips is it for makeup. I have never dyed my hair and when I begin to get greys I will let it be. I see many women doing the same. Living naturally, taking care of my body, mind, and soul by meditating, eating well, and choosing peace. I am glad I am not alone in doing so...when we are happy with who we are we are beautiful.

Mary Timmers said...

Suzanne, I would pick six years ago when I was 62. Before I got breast cancer and then had it return a year and a half ago. That's my picture on my blog, before IT all happened. I've gone through a lot since, and God has taken me through, but it's been very hard. I'm still struggling with depression, but know that my future is not here, but with Jesus where NOTHING will hurt or die.

What a lovely post! Thanks for your thoughts!

Love,
Mary

Blondie's Journal said...

Your subject matter and writing is spot on as always. I just want to cringe when I read about "turning back the clock", etc. Please ladies, let it go. Let's not demean ourselves any further. Acceptance. Growing from within. Suzanne, I'm sorry, the words just jumble out of me and make no sense sometimes. When my father was dying from cancer, he once remarked to me, "I'm just happy to wake up each morning." God, that's what it's all about.

Jane xx

Charm Bracelet Diva {at Home} said...

Here, here, friend. Profound thoughts, as always:) I have been struggling with the idea of aging this past year as I hit the big rhymes-with-nifty year. I think of all the family and friends that have gone before me and realize how thankful I am to just be here. Here's to growing not old but better.
xoKathleen

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Suzanne,

Amen, Amen, Amen! We should each strive to live life to the fullest and be our best self because life is so short and precious.

Frankly it is a waste of time to wish we were something we were not.

Thank you for the reminder to life and full and fruitful like and to savor ourselves just the way we are!
xo Elizabeth

Lisa Ancona-Roach said...

I've always been proud of my age...it's a badge of honor...I'm still here! And I think my most you-tiful age

is

yet

to

come.
xo
~L

Deborah said...

So beautifully said sweet friend!
It's so good to have visited....you always bless!
Hugs and smiles!

All my heart,
Deborah xoxoxoxo

The enchanted home said...

Reading this AWESOME post made me realize how much I miss your blog! And your always insightful wisdom...I soooo agree!
In fact today i was at lunch and on either side of us were tow sets of women eating lunch (each table over 55) BUT trying to look 35. It was SAD. The surgery, the makeup, the ironed hair, the leather jacket, and studded boots..it was just "too much" clearly they did not read Maya on a regular basis:)
I do feel that one day our world will wake up and say STOP this madness lets slow down and go back a little, things are moving way too fast, our focus is on the wrong things (and this is more of an American phenomenon sadly than it is in other countries). By focusing so much on youth, tight skin and perfect bodies, we are losing sight of kind hearts, eager smiles and genuine laughter...this post was so refreshing! Thank you!

The enchanted home said...

PS Glad you are finally back on my bloglist...had some glitches readding my old bloglist but was finally able to do it successfully

Just a little something from Judy said...

Reading this, yet another well worded, well thought out, and profoundly shared post, was the best way to start out my Saturday. I wish it would be printed in every magazine and along with the fun picture of you and your husband. Every day is a gift, and learning to accept it all with grace and kindness, makes every person, at any age, beautiful! Wisdom is missing in our world. Thanks so much for sharing your heart again today.

Susan Shull said...

This is a beautiful post! I agree with you totally.

michele said...

gorgeous wisdom, suzanne. i would choose a pic of me at 25 in my hospital gown, wild hair, no makeup (unlike the new moms of today who get their hair and makeup done for pre-delivery!) with my newborn babe and my man by my side. it would have to be a pic of me when i was lactating because that was the happiest me ever where i didn't just FEEL like it, but i KNEW i ruled the world as queen of milk. aging is not easy for me. i'm drying up which is the opposite of the lactating queen. all these little lines around my mouth which never smoked. i have a bias that the culture is only partially at fault. our longing to remain physically youthful is actually quite natural and stems from a primal subconscious desire to appear fertile and kissable for as long as possible. and nature evolves slowly so women's magazines are likely to follow suit!

Rambling Tart said...

Yes, oh yes. :-) I've seen myself with new eyes this week as I inch closer to my 40th birthday in two months. I see more wobbly bits, wrinkles, etc, but I also see peace in my eyes, genuine laughter, the assurance of being loved. I love being this age. XO

GLENDA CHILDERS said...

I truly love almost everything about being 61. Love the adorable (you-tiful) picture of you and your husband. Were you doing the ice bucket challenge?

Fondly,
Glenda

Privet and Holly said...

Glenda, yes we were!
That was the "before" pic.
My son took a series with
my camera....good fun, for
a great cause!

xo Suzanne