In honor of NOW's Love your Body blog Carnival, I'm posting today instead of my usual Monday about ways to love your body.
I've decided to do something difference in this post. I spent my 20's loving a thin body that wasn't mine. In my thirties, I worked on loving the body I have, fat and all. But now as I enter my forties, I face another body challenge: I have to learn to love my middle aged body.
As I get older, I find that I can't eat, sleep, or even move as I once did. Normal aches and pains from strenuous movement don't go away as quickly as they used to. Sometimes my arm hurts when I sleep on it wrong. And staying up late no longer means 3am but midnight.
Mid-life means foods you used to eat no longer agrees with you. The coffee you needed to get you through the day causes indigestion, energy drinks give you the jitters, and tea makes you pee fifty times a day. It means finding gray or white hairs on your head and freaking out over each one.
For advertisers, it's a cash cow because nothing is worthwhile unless you are young and thin. Since science hasn't found the fountain of youth, the goal for the middle aged is to try to LOOK young using plastic surgery, hair dyes, and of course no middle age weight gain.
If you already love and accept your fat (or thin) body, accepting middle age may be easier than you think. I have posted on this blog on occasion, that I have "Fat days". Days where the diet voice is louder than usual and fat is not the positive word I've come to love. I don't get many "Fat days" anymore. But now to add to this I have "old days." Of course I'm getting older every second, but when I say "Old days" it means failing to love my body for changing, a body that may one day die, something I didn't think about in my youth. Even in my darkest dieting day I was never one to prefer death over fat.
I will be honest here. Worrying about new tests for diseases considered rare in my youth are freaking me out. Cancer and heart attacks and menopause and retirement and long term care are freaking me out. Forgetting things I used to recall effortlessly is freaking me out.
In the beginning I plucked one or two white hairs but more came. I didn't run to get hair dye. My boobs are beginning to sag, but I won't get surgery. I have some creases in my face but I won't by age defying cream. There is nothing age defying in that cream. The cream, like dieting, is purely superficial. Dieting won't make you healthy and putting cream on your face won't make you young.
You just have accept age. Accept what it gives you, something more important-- Wisdom. The wisdom to know what is good for yourself. Wisdom to still love your body even though it no longer tolerates dairy, hurts when it rains, or forgets a name. Love your body no matter what it's size, age or disability. It is what you have and it needs you to love it because it will love you back. Loving and appreciating it will work better than any age defying cream.