As much as I'd like to deny it, or hide it, middle age has approached, along with all that goes with it. I admit there are things about being in your forties that I expected, good things as well as bad. But there have been some unexpected surprises as well. So heed my warning you twenty-something's that are sitting by the pool in a bikini whilst eating an entire bag of chips, your day will come too, and consider yourself warned.
My hair. My once beautifully-long locks with a healthy sheen is that of the past. I rarely had to fuss over my hair (minus the permed-teasing-auqua-net-days of the 80s) because it was always thick, healthy, shiny, and with large natural curls. Now my beautiful sheen has become dull and dry. It has now turned a beautiful shade of gray, but without extensive conditioning it becomes dry and frizzy (I use the organic hair masque to save the day!). And it has become thin. Sometimes I panic and imagine buying out Rogaine--but then I regain my composure and deal with it. There are no bald patches, at least not yet, but this is not the head of hair I remember.
My skin. We all know that as we get older our skin will wrinkle and sag, unless it has been chemically or surgically altered. But some things that I weren't expecting were the old lady hands that showed up at 40 because of all the washing and cleaning without constantly using lotion (I hate when my hands feel slippery, but now I use our hemp lotion and it soaks right in!). The dark spot that appeared on one of my cheeks, that although I know is called an age spot I refuse to identify it as such. And that one stupid course hair that grows on my chin and goes from zero to a quarter inch in an instant!
The sagging I expected, but regardless of how much you exercise, you will sag without surgery, or you are a miracle of God. Or a freak. You decide. Your arms sag, your stomach sags (especially if you had a C section!), your breasts sag-thank God for push up bras, even my KNEES seem to be sagging! But how about this one...your eyelids sag! That's right, they do. And you'll hate it. I think of the movie "it's complicated" when Meryl Streep holds up her eyelid whenever she's around her ex and now I get it!
My eyebrows. In my teens and 20s, I had perfect eyebrows. It's true. Never had to pluck a hair. In my 30s they got a little whiley, and I needed to pluck a little here and there, but not much. Now I'm into my 40s, and they're disappearing. Much like the hair on my head, they are becoming thinner and fainter (gray maybe?). This felt like it happened overnight. Hey? Where are my eyebrows? And those suckers define your face more than you realize! So here I am, 46, and learning how to pencil in eyebrows without looking like an idiot.
Nails. As we get older our nails change. They grow slower, sometimes we get lines, or they peel, but in your 40s?? No, I wasn't thinking that soon. I was wrong.
Food and weight. Your metabolism and hormones are very different in your teens and 20s than they are in your 40s. Remember when we could eat half a pizza? Bag of chips? Sugary drinks? Nope, no more. If we wanted to lose a few pounds in our younger days we would work out or increase our work out, cut back on junk food, and Voila! I work out 5 days a week if that scale dips down .5lbs, I'm blessed! But to be fair, I had surgical menopause so it's harder at this stage for me than most women my age.
We must learn to see ourselves in a new light.
The woman I am in my 40s is amazing. She's smart, talented, and beautiful. You might think with all of the for-mentioned flaws that this would not be true, but my 20s self doesn't hold a candle to me now. Because all of the pain and love, as well as triumphs and failures that I have endured, it has changed me to my soul, and really made me who I am.
As my husband has said since we met 26 years ago, "You meet someone and at first you see there outward beauty. But once you know them, you see their true face."