I have a very dear friend. She’s around my age. I’m 64. She’s very, very worried about her wrinkles. She’s feeling that as she gets older, she’s losing her beauty. This makes her a little sad. She’s one of the more beautiful women in the world.
I’m out of the mainstream on this one, always have been. My mother was 43 when I was born. Back then it was almost a scandal. The doctor misdiagnosed her pregnancy symptoms, thought it was menopause and recommended a hysterectomy. Fortunately, my mother’s farm-girl wisdom was stronger. She knew.
The point though is, as my mother always told me when she was lecturing me, “No matter how old you get, I will always be 43 years older than you.” I had the benefit of being born to a beautiful older woman.
I saw both my mother and her sister, my aunt, age into old age. My mother lived to 91. So I saw her over time for almost 50 years.
With my mother and aunt, as with all my relationships, I find love deepens and grows the longer I know someone. By the time it turns into decades, the love I feel has reached the depths of my being and is profound.
And with that love is a profound happiness of being with them.
As I love someone, they become more and more beautiful, or handsome, to me. So to me, my mother and my aunt both became much more beautiful as they went into their 80’s and 90’s. By the time they passed away, they were the two most beautiful women in the world. Their eyes, the most beautiful eyes in the world.
The very last time my mother looked at me, she was in a hospital bed. She gazed at me for two solid hours without speaking. The love radiating from her eyes was the most potent, most pure, most overpowering love I have ever seen radiate from any human being ever in my entire life.
She was beautiful with a beauty I have never seen duplicated before or since.
The last time my aunt looked at me, she too was in a hospital bed, love radiating from her eyes, her face more beautiful than any I had ever seen. Her last words to me were, “Tu esi mano saulyte” which is Lithuanian for, “You are my little sunshine,” words she said holding my hand and holding my gaze with her powerful love more tightly, more strongly than anyone had ever held it before.
To this day, they are the two most beautiful woman in the world to me. Those particularly poignant moments of beauty were preceded by thousands and thousands of other moments of extraordinary beauty.
My sister, Justine, is the third in my “top three” most beautiful women. She’ll kill me if I tell you how old she is, so the only thing I will tell you is that she’s my older sister and I fell in love with her when I was born. I thought she was the most beautiful girl in the world, more than any movie star. I simply adored her and, once I could walk, I followed her everywhere like a little puppy. I’ve known her my whole life, so you can imagine how much my love has grown for her over the years and how beautiful she is to me. But, I am not alone. Many people think she’s exquisitely beautiful. She still turns heads and outdoes her Zumba instructor and every other student in the class. Justine has a blazing personality that expresses itself in everything she does, including how she dresses. If you were in a room with 100 people and she was one of them, she would be the one who would draw you like a magnet to talk with her.
Somehow flawless skin and a cover-girl version of fabulous hair never did it for me. Nor the chiseled handsomeness of the men many women swoon over. Quite honestly, it often left me cold.
I went to all-women’s college that was loaded with homecoming beauty queens. I found most of them irritating and annoying and stayed away.
Wrinkles have never bothered me. I actually get a kick out of them. I think I have one on my face for every year of my life. I’ve kind of enjoyed watching them come in. There’s one I particularly like. It’s on my left cheek and makes a particularly interesting path, especially when I smile.
I get facials and use fabulously high-quality skin products because I believe in taking care of myself. I like being healthy. I eat right, I exercise, I get enough sleep, I’m the right weight for my height, and I feel great. Physically, emotionally, spiritually.
I’m filled with a tremendous sense of well-being and joy that grows every year.
My work has gotten better and better and better and I’m more thrilled with the results I’m producing now than I ever have been in my life. I love thinking about the future.
I think most importantly, my capacity to love has grown and deepens with each passing day.
So, I’m a 64-year-old woman who enjoys the entire process of life. Life and I both get better each year I’m alive.
Two weeks ago I was at the farmers’ market. I was buying pears from the fig farmer I love (see my August 31 blog if you want to know why). There was a good-looking guy behind me, probably 15 or more years younger than I am. I was joking around with the farmer and the guy behind me joined in, so we all started joking around with each other. It was a great time we had!
Then last Sunday when I went back, the fig farmer said to me, “You know the guy behind you? He paid you a real compliment. He said he really enjoyed talking with you. He said he really likes you and he thinks you’re a very attractive woman.”
I couldn’t stop laughing. I don’t even comb my hair to go to the farmers’ market. I’m 99% sure it’s sticking out all over the place. I don’t even look in the mirror. No makeup. I look like a woman who just woke up. The sloppiest, baggiest sweatpants and sweatshirt you can imagine. They’re not even color-coordinated and frankly, I think they clash now that I think about it. Loaded down with bags of kale and vegetables, I think I look a little like a mule.
My first thought was, “What on earth possessed this guy to say that?” My second thought was that he was nuts. My third thought was, “Ha! I get it. Happiness is beautiful.” I understood.
I don’t believe he was coming on to me. I think it was just a sincere compliment. and I appreciate it. Because what I was feeling was beautiful. And I think that’s what he saw.
This whole subject makes me laugh. When you’re young, it’s called “growing up”. When you’re my age, it’s called, “aging”.
So how do I feel about aging? I like it.
My friends are all getting wrinkles. I like them. I don’t tell them how much I like their wrinkles because I don’t want to put their attention on them and I think most people wouldn’t get it. I think they’re the most beautiful and most handsome people in the world. I love looking at my friends. They are becoming more beautiful and more handsome all the time.
No doubt about it. Happiness IS beautiful. And makes us beautiful. Beyond time.
May you be filled with it.