“You look amazing for your age!”
I must admit, I wasn’t expecting “for your age” to catch up with me so quickly, but here I am—sitting a stone’s throw away from my Golden-Girl year, astonishing bewildered onlookers with my ability to age gracefully and live out loud at the same time.
You have so much energy…for your age.
You have so much style…for your age.
You get so much done …for your age.
…you get it.
The closer I tiptoe toward my 50th birthday, the more it’s starting to feel like people expect some sort of mythical creature to emerge and suck the life—and youth—out of me and cast it out to sea, never to be seen again. But the more I grow in grace, the louder I become. Taking more risks, dreaming without fail, and dancing down a path I choreograph for myself. Dorothy had the yellow brick road; I’ve got 50 candles waiting to cheer me on.
At the time of writing this, I’m coming off a recovery I didn’t know I needed. At the onset, I appeared happy, healthy, and strong, or so I thought. Which is why I had no idea that while I’ve been out here accepting countless dance and speaking engagements, along with my daily responsibilities and literary tasks, my body has been slowly shutting down with no viable signs outside of a nagging cough.
Ignoring that cough for far too long while going along doing life landed me in the hospital for an emergency transfusion to save the only life I have. I’d been walking around in critical condition without even knowing it! I looked good, and felt fine. But that’s the thing—how often does someone ask how we’re doing, and we nonchalantly mutter, “I’m fine,” knowing we’re the furthest thing from okay? In my case, I truly didn’t know. But had I taken the time to see my doctor when my body felt off, chances are I would have discovered much sooner just how grim my situation was. And I wouldn’t be here to celebrate for my age.
Here’s where things get even more interesting: After all the tests the doctors ran on me, they concluded that the cough had zero to do with the massive loss of blood that led to the transfusion in the first place. That cough was God’s way of getting my attention. If it hadn’t been for the cough, I wouldn’t have reached the glory!
Oftentimes we get so used to crushing goals, bossing up, taking care of those we love, and fulfilling our commitments, we become desensitized to the fact that we may be neglecting the greatest gift we have in our lives, ourselves. Overcoming this trial has taught me so many lessons, the greatest being that for your age isn’t an insult, it’s a blessing! My second act will be my greatest act because I’ve changed my focus to enrich the years waiting ahead of me. And there are three main ingredients I’m stirring in the pot to ensure this happens:
Love graciously. Love without spending more time keeping track of emotional investment and the return from it—especially when it comes to myself. Grace gives us the freedom we deserve; it’s up to us to grab hold of it.
Live prominently. Take time to intentionally and masterfully curate meaningful moments and distinct events that will be etched in my heart for a lifetime. At least once a month, treat myself to something that will factor prominently into my happiness and peace. It doesn’t have to be a magnificent act of grandeur, just something to balance life with existing.
Care urgently. I can’t express this enough: Compassion underscores both life and love. As a byproduct of compassion, caring means that we can’t be loyal to grudges or use harmful past events as measuring sticks for moving forward. Lose the “wait” of showing how much we care out of fear.
The scariest part of aging is aging itself, but we have a say in how it goes. Added years don’t render us powerless—they make us stronger!
It all makes sense to me now. Loving, living, caring have all contributed to the reason why I have the ability to dance, work, have fun, grow, even look great… for my age. Recognizing these traits shows me that my older age is not an insult, and neither are the people God sends to remind me of it. These 50 years are the beacon of a life that’s lived in. And that’s what I’m going to keep doing, living. The good and the unspeakable. The bones that suddenly sing their own songs, the wisdom highlights, the new wrinkles here and there—I’m here for it all, because I’m still here to enjoy it all.Leave a Comment