Tim and I just moved back to Nashville last week, and our bathroom mirror is a lot bigger than it was in our apartment in Illinois. The lighting is also better, well, let’s just say it’s brighter, and evidently this has had an effect on my mental well-being in the subsequent days after moving into our new place.
I wake up.
I walk to the bathroom and turn on the light.
And I stare.
I stare for an uncomfortably long time at the big mirror with the brighter lights and I realize things aren’t what they used to be.
I understand. I’m only 33. Beauty is not a number, nor is it even really what can be reflected in a mirror. But let’s take a moment and say this isn’t about beauty.
It’s about gravity and yes, those two hairs my friend Kat saw when she cut my hair really are grey, and why is there an eyebrow hair growing half an inch away from my eyebrow? When did that tooth shift over, and where did these valleys of lines under my eyes come from? And even though I pretty much have weighed the same over the last five years, why are certain things larger and certain things smaller and is that lotion really working?
It’s not that I’m freaked out necessarily, but if anything, these slight modifications in my appearance which seems to have happened quite literally overnight reinforce the fact that I am 33.
As we were unpacking boxes, I stumbled across an old Bible study I did when I was 21. It asked what limitations, if any, I felt were placed on me. “My age,” I wrote, knowing people just didn’t take 21 year olds seriously. And now I look back 12 years at my 21-year-old perfectly toned memory and I wish I could tell her just how much she could actually do and how much to savor every moment of being 21 (anti-gravity superpowers included).
33 is not old, but it is different and being married to a 33 year old and doing things like “meeting with an attorney to discuss business taxes” and “getting my cholesterol checked” and “taking a lot of vitamins in the morning” are making me realize that yes, I am older. And I’ve been to enough Women of Faith events and heard Anita Renfroe enough times to have a biological road map created in my mind on where I can expect more things on my body to move to. When I was in my twenties I used to find her comments on growing older funny but now that I’m in my thirties I find them
And I’m getting off track again (it’s just that it really seemed to happen overnight so I’m still in a little bit of shock this morning) but it also helps me recognize no matter how many years I have left, if it’s 33 more or 66 more, I don’t want to look in a mirror and ever feel regret.
It’s okay if I feel fear, feel surprise, feel shock, feel horror, feel humor, yes. All of those things I accept (with only a little bit of bargaining with God).
But regret? Lord, help me. No. Please help me and my slowly declining estrogen make each day count for something beautiful and lovely for You.