I’m not scared to get older.
...Well, this isn’t entirely true.
I’d say while I’m sometimes wary of the process of becoming older, most specifically the degree of rapidly unfolding acceptance that is required, I am unafraid of being older. Once you’ve binged enough episodes of The Golden Girls with me, this will make more sense.
Real talk: My body is changing so much while you steadily grow within. Thankfully, mama is feelin’ herself in this curvy look (so is Dad - but you probably don’t want to know that) to the point where I like to wink at us in the mirror while saying “Hey cuties”. You and I missed being labeled a “geriatric pregnancy” by a whopping two months, kiddo, so way to be conceived while I’m still in my medically approved “youth”! Kidding kidding. It’s just interesting how such labels can affect our mindsets, and not in a helpful way.
All of this transitioning has made me begin to consider what I want to teach you about your own physical self, and its unique, continuous process of change, in a world that obsesses over women’s bodies. It has prompted me to wonder how best to articulate the power behind “your body, your rules - your body, your permissions”, and be mindful of the ways I claim my own. Because quite frankly, what you and I are doing together right now, in this body? It is fucking awesome.
The best news I can tell you: It is absolutely possible to grow, and age, and witness, and be in your body with Grace.
The worst news I can tell you, is that Grace takes practice. A lot of it, regularly, and with intentional patience and gumption.
Grace and acceptance are not boxes to be checked only once. Grace and acceptance are forces we dedicate ourselves to in a manner of our lives depending on them. Because truthfully, they do.
You see, so much of how our bodies change over time, either in support of us like an old friend and ally, or against us like a mutinous Jabba the Hutt, depends on how we see them; not through the eyes of our terrified, limited egos, but from the loving, knowing eyes of our spirits.
How we speak to them matters most assuredly.
And of course, how we care for them.
Let’s start with the basics, which you’ll hear 1,000 times over the course of your life:
These are meaningful, important pieces of the puzzle. Implement them, and you will already be ahead of the curve.
But I think the way we choose to live our lives from a place of authenticity, vulnerability, gratitude + self-focused stretching… vs. fear, self-sabotage, + others-focused striving, play equally important roles.
I often see my incredible clients living in an energy of what many experts will refer to as “engineered smallness”. In other words, deeply wanting to be in our full power, but also desiring to stay safe; craving more for ourselves, while actively working to go unnoticed. I believe that when a body lives its whole existence within engineered smallness, it ages at an alarmingly fast rate.
This is, in part, to say: Never twist your true being into a stranger of self, for the sake of being “recognizable” to others.
Sweet pea, we can practice, practice, practice living. We can have a laugh with our fellow humans on the topic of aging, and break through our engineered smallness. We can care for our bodies best by accepting them with kindness as often as we can, and then continuing to be who we are. We can hold a little space for the unexpected happenings.
May I be totally transparent with you? The in-between is the hard place. Where your dad and I dwell right now is where the most practice is required. In this space it is extra important to do small acts of love for ourselves, and to reimagine the rules of aging. It’s a good place to start remembering you are a spiritual being having a human experience, not the other way around.
You are bigger than your body, baby.
Someday you might appear to be a drooping, slowing, wrinkly ol’ mess in the eyes of a younger, unknowing person (bless their foolish hearts), but with a life well spent in authentic purpose -- with the memories and scars and adventures marked on your soul from the years spent really loving, living, and remaining open in the ways that feel good to you -- it is possible to see yourself as timeless. And if you practice enough? It is possible for others to see you this way, too.
You get to decide. You get to choose radical acceptance of your figure, your grey or stray hairs, your smile lines or eye creases, your stretch marks or birthmarks; your extraordinary body with all its soft folds and tender bits in general. You get to practice accepting these things; loving what you see in the mirror and blessing your being for sticking around long enough to check off a few more days here.
To honor our own spirits on their journeys of aging, your Dad and I sat down to discuss what this all means to us. Here are the guidelines for body grace we came up with….
Fell Family Rules For Aging:
header photo courtesy of Megan Hyde from Hyde & Co. photography!