Teach Me How to Age Well


Leah Abraham -Aging Well3

To the women in my life,

Please don’t be afraid of aging.

I know you’re weary of stretch marks and wrinkled skin and saggy boobs. I know you strategically drape your sarees to cover your belly, and constantly keep checking to see if your shirt covers your flabby arms.

I see you restocking products that promise to defy age and reduce wrinkles. I hear you asking photographers to refrain from taking close-up shots of your face.

You tell me that I look so young.

I ask if I look like I’m 12.

You wink and suggest I look like a mature 15-year-old. “It’s a compliment,” you tell me. “You’ll be thankful one day that you age so slowly.”

I chuckle because this is a dance I’ve done with one too many women. I want to be polite. I want to see the humor and truth in the situation.

But inside I want to hold you and ask you if aging really is terrible. I want to know whether growing old is terrifying or not.

I don’t blame you for being afraid. It’s not your fault.

Blame the culture, blame society, blame advertising and terrible reality TV shows. But I pray you never blame yourself and think there’s something wrong with you.

I’m in my early 20s, and I’m tired of wondering if it goes down hill from here.

I’ve only recently met women who walk this earth wearing stories of grace on their sleeves. Women who wear their skin proudly. Women who embrace their whole womanhood—body, mind, and soul.

I can’t help but wonder why it took so long for our paths to cross. Or how different my life would be if I grew up hearing such powerful narratives.

These women have helped dispel the myth of aging in my life. They have shown me that joy can overflow from the heart and spill into our bodies. They have assured me my relationship with my body is complicated, but that’s okay. They have shown me by example that all I need to do is love with everything I have, and that will be enough.

I don’t want to be afraid of aging.

I want to look forward to stretch marks and wrinkled skin and saggy boobs. I want to watch my body transform through the years, and learn to love it for what it is—a vessel of everything sacred and human.   

To all the women in my life, please don’t be afraid of aging.

Tell me your stories instead. Tell me about the complicated relationship you have with your body.

Show me your scars. Let me feel your skin; I want to study how it exudes tenderness and grace.

Tell me about pain. And pleasure. And how you learned to tango with both.

Tell me about yoga. Or pilates. Or about your favorite piece of chocolate cake.

How do you use your body to tell truth? How do you use it to pray? Do you like to dance? Or climb trees? Do you prefer to decorate it with tattoos or mascara? Or both?

Tell me all these things. But please don’t tell me to be fearful of aging. Don’t tell me looking “young” is a gift I’ll wish I had in years to come.

I’m more interested in love stories.