A smiling woman with a white blazer off her shoulders

I am turning 32 next month. My skin’s natural collagen is decreasing. Grays are creeping into my mane. There are lines at the edges of my eyes.

Of course, there are remedies for the dropping collagen levels. Hair dye also exists and is readily available. An in-person search at Target for eye creams is stressful. It’s not for fear that none of them will work but that all of them promise to. I know because I have looked and then made my purchase. I can’t help but have concern over the notion that getting older is bad and is supposed to be uncomfortable.

I can’t help but have concern over the notion that getting older is bad and is supposed to be uncomfortable.

When I was 28, my daughter was born. I hemorrhaged. They operated, and I survived. When I turned 29, a few months later, we went to eat Italian food. I curled my hair and wore a loose-fitting shirt (to hide my “mom belly”) in my favorite color, emerald green, and ate quattro stagioni pizza. When the time came for dessert, the waiter brought a cake, and I couldn’t help the tears that sprang to my eyes when my family sang, “Happy Birthday” to me. I was happy to be alive. 

I celebrated my 30th birthday at a restaurant in Chiapas, Mexico, with a sombrero on my head and a shot of tequila in my hand. The day before, my husband and I took a trip to a famous lake. Even though it was a few degrees too cold to swim, I wanted to feel the icy water on my body. Even though a cliff that overlooked the lake was too high, I saw someone else jump off. So I did, too, hitting the water and then coming up for that first, shocking breath. I swam toward my husband, waiting for me nearby with a grin on his face. I was happy to be alive. 

Last year, I celebrated turning 31 with my family at the same Italian restaurant where I had celebrated my 29th birthday. My daughter, 2 and a half years old now, wore plastic Minnie Mouse ears over her pigtails and sat in my lap while they sang, “Happy Birthday,” and then she helped me blow out my candles. Feeling the weight of her warm body on my legs, thinking about all the ways she had grown, I was happy to be alive. 

Buying “anti-aging” products or products designed to “maintain your youth” does not make the clock stop. I am still turning 32 next month. My skin has lost more of its natural collagen since last year. I regularly find more gray hairs, and even though I am religiously applying the eye cream, the lines at the edges of my eyes are getting more pronounced. 

Buying “anti-aging” products or products designed to “maintain your youth” does not make the clock stop.

When I think about how I want my life to be and what I want it to consist of, taste like and feel like, I think of the quattro stagioni pizza from my 29th birthday, my husband waiting for me in the icy blue water in Chiapas and the feeling of my daughter in my arms. I want more of that, for as long as I have left on this earth. 

Future beautiful moments and every subsequent birthday will be a privilege. I am still happy to be alive. 

Do you feel fear or shame attached to aging? What are some good things about getting older?

Image via Ben Cope, Darling Issue No. 19

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2 comments

  1. I’m so glad to see an article celebrating aging! But as a 61 year “young” woman, I have to smile at the contemplation on aging… of a woman turning 32. Your articles are so full of uplifting “positivity” and I understand that you have a target audience, but many of us watching from the sideline (in the higher age brackets) still find ourselves wrestling with the tension between the younger self inside (because time passed so, so swiftly) and the reality in the mirror. It would be nice to get a multi generational perspective on articles such as this so we could share our wisdom with those following in our footsteps.
    Keep up the great work!
    With much love and affection,
    Amy

    1. We love that Amy. Thank you for sharing your story with us. We couldn’t agree more about wanting to grow in sharing stories from all age groups, and this is something that our team constantly takes into account. We are seeking to grow in this arena. If you’d ever like to share your story on Darling, we’d be honored to read your writing!

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