Some Things Do Get Better With Age
The other night, some friends and I were discussing getting older, and a few of us concluded that our 30’s were pretty great, compared with our angst filled 20’s.
I just turned 31. While it’s kind of sad on one level – my best years physically are behind me – there are some great things about getting a little older.
1. I’m not as consumed with my looks. When I was in my teens and twenties, I was convinced the whole world was looking at me all the time. I wouldn’t leave the house without makeup. I was constantly checking myself out in the mirror. I was hyper aware of how people might be perceiving me. And I was so critical of my body. Now of course, I look back and I wish I could give myself a big fat kick in the pants. There were several years in which I didn’t even own a swimsuit, because I didn’t think my body was perfect enough to be displayed publicly in one. Idiot! I probably missed out on a lot of fun because of my inability to accept myself.
2. I’m not treated as a sex object (as much). There’s something liberating about being able to pass by construction workers or other groups that sometimes react verbally to women passing by and have them ignore me or respectfully say hello. I can also smile and be nice and not really have to worry about them thinking that I’m flirting with them. Particularly if I have E in tow – apparently having a kid and a wedding ring can help ward off some obnoxious verbal signals.
3. I’m smarter. I know how to do things now. I remember being a teen and thinking that if my mom died, I would have no idea how to cope with life. I didn’t know how to cook, how to pay bills, how to get around an airport, how to apply to college or jobs, how to diaper a kid. Now I know. And even my book intelligence seems to be increasing, if I compare my old GRE score to my new one.
4. I’m less self-conscious. As I alluded to in number 1, I’m just not as consumed with my physical self. Now I don’t care as much about the imperfections of my body. (Full disclosure: I do still care to some extent.) But I stuff my soft self into my bathing suit, show massive cleavage, and figure that if someone is looking at me, that’s their problem, not mine. Likewise, I’m more willing to speak up and speak my mind. I would have shrunk from that in my earlier years.
5. I’m learning to accept myself. I spent a great deal of time in my twenties mentally kicking myself for my inability to fit into a typical Mormon mold. I felt guilty that I just couldn’t get over the polygamy thing. I felt bad that I had such a negative reaction to the idea of men presiding over women both in church and in family. I was consumed with angst over my gut wrenchingly tearful reaction to the portrayal of women in the endowment ceremony. I thought there was something really wrong with me. I’m over that now. I embrace my issues, and I proudly claim my gifts of conscience and discernment. They make me me. God knows my heart, and I now figure that God and I are probably on the same page on a lot of these issues.
What has been your experience with getting older? What are the positives and negatives?