Of all the revelations that come with age, the enlightenments that come with aging are arguably some of the hardest to deal with. When you’re 40 years old and single, these truths can be glaring.
As our married counterparts are settling comfortably into life with a spouse who has vowed to love them through thick and thin, wrinkles and cellulite, weight gain and grey hair, there is a feeling among singles that we somehow need to preserve ourselves in time. That we’re not allowed to age until we’ve found the one who will love us unconditionally too.
It starts out easily enough…you pluck a grey hair. You adjust your make up routine. This works for a few years and you think, “great! I’ve got this!” Then you begin to notice that plucking is tedious, and frankly, if you keep it up you’ll be bald and that seems counterproductive.
So you start coloring your hair. You notice the most ridiculous little lines around your eyes when you smile. No problem, you’ll improve your skincare routine. Moisturizer is your best friend! You’ve got this. You look young again. You walk around with a sense of pride and superiority, because you’ve decided you’re aging better than your married counterparts with kids. You decide that’s the root of the aging problem, and send up a little “thanks for having my back” to the universe, because at least you have something to show for your singlehood. You’ve still got a chance to catch up to those married peeps! All of those anti-aging tactics prove to you that you’re still in the race. Rock on!
One night when you least expect it, you lose control of the situation. You notice those little lines around your eyes won’t go away, no matter how much moisturizer you slather on. You have the sickening realization that your parents were right- if you make that face it will, in fact, stick like that. You’re pretty sure your hair is growing out faster than it ever has before, requiring root touch ups more and more often. And why won’t those dark circles under your eyes go away?? What. Is. Happening??
With a sense of dread, you understand that there’s nothing more you can do. You’re aging. And ultimately, there’s nothing you can do about it. But wait!!! You’re still single and you HAVE TO LOOK GOOD if you’re ever going to find someone. Let’s face it- attraction is important. Even as you get older.
But we live in a world where older women are airbrushed and older men are celebrated in high-def. And you realize you’ve reached a point in which nobody is looking at you. Because you can no longer airbrush yourself. With an ego-shattering acceptance, you wonder, “if I couldn’t find somebody to love me at my best, how will I ever find someone to love me now?” The feeling is real, and it’s devastating. Between you and any random 20-something, there’s no competition. Not anymore.
There’s a remarkable sense of freedom that comes with accepting this. When you understand that nobody is looking, you lose the need to chase perfection. If nobody’s looking, there’s nobody to impress. You’re free to go about your life as you are, rather than as you think you need to be. You get to JUST BE.
If you’re lucky enough to ever find that one person to share the rest of your journey with, you know it’s with your flaws and imperfections in perfect view- cause there’s no hiding that nonsense anymore. And you no longer have the energy to fight the process quite so thoroughly (let’s be honest…we’re not giving up the hair color any time soon). You are more than enough for you, and that’s the most important thing. Because you are your one true life partner. Imperfections and all.
That’s a freedom and knowledge well worth waiting for.