You don't own me...
I'm not just one of your many toys.
You don't own me.
Don't say I can't go with other boys.
Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba Baaaa...
And don't tell me what to do,
And don't tell me what to say.
And when I go out with you,
Don't put me on display...
I can picture those three funny ladies, fabulous in white and belting out their victory anthem. The First Wives Club. If you've never seen the film, it's quirky, off the wall, and the characters are a complete mess (spoiler). That being said, they're every woman.
The aging beauty queen.
The overbearing one.
They're walking examples of categories that we've probably all fit into at one point or another in life. As the wives' tale is told, the very worst of all three personalities emerge. Why? Their husbands leave them for younger women. They go "extinct." Old news. Discarded. I won't ruin the movie for you, but notice that they're singing in the final scene.
So, what does the world get so wrong that the First Wives Club gets oh-so-right? One simple fact:
It's turns out that our 20's AREN'T the end of the beauty line!
Oh, they can be fun, don't get me wrong, but here are a few reasons that we should look forward to the gift of aging:
1. The late teens/early twenties can be a time of awkward, painful insecurity. Surprising? Not really. In a culture that's crazy about the youthful female form, studies show that age 34 is actually the most "at peace" women report being with their bodies. For many of us, that's post-childbirth and holding on to a little extra weight than before!
We become amazed at what our bodies have been able to do, therefore, many of us take on new physical challenges (competitive sports, varying workout regiments, dance classes, etc.) Women also report enjoying sex much more than they did in their younger years. Focusing on who we are and what we can do through God, instead of solely what we look like is a game changer!
2. In our thirties, forties, and beyond, we gain the wisdom and experience to let people, issues, and hang-ups go. We gain the courage to move on from life choices that were unhealthy and the ones that don't reflect the reality of our faith. As we mature, our decisions are less tied to others' opinions of us than before.
3. Many of us were surrounded by a lot of people in the past, but we still managed to struggle with loneliness. Our circle of friends becomes smaller as we age. Research reflects the tendency of people to prioritize deep, meaningful relationships over an abundance of superficial connections as the years pass. With more relational intimacy, comes the safety to simply be who God designed us to be. No masks. No conforming to a pre-packaged image.
4. We receive the gift of selflessness. Caring for children, supporting ailing parents, and loving a spouse, friend, or family member through a difficult time is one of the hardest things we'll ever do. Those experiences can feel as though we're being stripped bare - right down to our last ounce of strength. Our comforts, preferences, and life trajectories...they're changed forever as God calls us to elevate others' needs above our own. It's a gift of perspective, one that exposes a beauty of humanity that's ageless. Connection.
What I'm telling you is, yeah, I weighed a few pounds less ten years ago. And sure, if an older woman had told me these things then, I would have chalked it up to her having to say them because she was, well...old. But if I could look my sweet twenty-something face straight in the eye today, I'd shout, "The best is yet to come, sister!" And then I'd pray that she'd believe me.
What's your favorite thing about your current age?
Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba Baaaaaa (Hear the song),
Eat honey, dear child—it’s good for you--
and delicacies that melt in your mouth.
and wisdom for your soul--
Get that and your future’s secured,
your hope is on solid rock. (Prov. 24:13-14, Msg.)
Photo Cred: Karina Carvalho
M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy. Earns Crossfit participation trophies. Disaster cook. Enthusiastic wife. #Boymom. Clutches her faith, not her pearls.