“I tell you that I have a long way to go before I am—where one begins…”
“Not long ago I was looking at photos of myself at various ages and weights—way before the neckular deterioration began, way before the fanny pack of menopause—and I could see how gorgeous I must have looked to everyone else…Twenty years! Why did it take me so long to discover what a dish I was?”
I’m finally starting to feel like an adult. I’ll be twenty-five in three weeks. The other day I bought a green shirt. I put it on, did my hair and looked in the mirror. It was the first time in my life that I actually looked like an adult, really, truly. I’m not sure why I’ve never felt that way before; I’ve often felt a little mature for my age. The moment seemed magical. This shirt is the color of a freshly painted kelly-green tractor and my eyes reflect it perfectly. I was wearing my favorite eye shadow. My hair was wavy and pulled back loosely, my neck was framed by a pair of beautifully artistic earrings I bought at a market in New Zealand. I was showing off my newly acquired sun-kissed (burn) glow. About four days a week I go through my twenty-minute beauty ritual, which includes actually washing my face, applying light make-up and not hiding my hair with a headband. I guess this was one of those days where I cared enough to put on the earrings.
There I found myself, standing in my bathroom staring at this woman in the mirror. She was no longer a young woman, no longer a girl. She had lived many lives, left things behind and had many adventures ahead of her. She was someone I felt that I had known once, or would know in the future, but in this moment she was a stranger. I paused for a moment in front of my mirror and stood up a little straighter. This woman looking back at me had a glimmer of wisdom, endurance and other things that continue to remain unnamed but add up to beautiful. She held herself with true confidence and I was startled when I learned that I was her.
I’ve read a lot of books, been on plenty of airplanes and endured some big stuff, but never have I fully seen myself as an adult. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt really at home in my own skin, but in this brief moment I did. I haven’t been able to shake the feeling. It feels like it’s haunting me. This adult-looking-ness is new to me. I just don’t feel “there” yet, even though I don’t know where “there” is. I’ve been walking taller, standing a little prouder but still something in me is screaming at myself to slow down! Something is telling me to just stop, to just rest. In my heart I want to pace myself, allow myself to learn, make mistakes, to endure the moments as they happen with all their messy emotions and unnecessary dramas. I want to embrace being a twenty-something but for so long I’ve been trying to achieve forty and feeling very far behind. I think I would rather gather around the women who find themselves truthfully at their age and learn from them what only they can teach me.For now I think I will embrace the twenty-five year old woman I see looking back at me through my very own eyes and I will do my best to record my twenty-something dilemmas so that when it is time I will pass on the wisdom I learned about beauty and love and self and life and God. I will live at peace with now and embrace the surprising beauty as I come of age.