I turned 36 this year, and with it came the brutal realization that I was getting older - and that ageing does not fit into society's narrow definition of beauty. In fact, according to this definition, I may already have peaked, and am just on the decline now.
Isn't that depressing? Especially since my so-called 'peak' never really felt like much of a peak!
So in a surge of optimism, I decided to redefine beauty in a way that can only get better with age. In a way that gives me - not some genetic lottery or external standard of beauty - more control.
So I asked myself this simple question: When do I feel most beautiful?
And I realized that I feel most beautiful when:
- I am being true to myself, setting clear boundaries and not trying to please others or fit into how I think I should look or act.
I am tired of the narrow standards of beauty the media blasts at us. I don't want to be defined by something I never fit into and most certainly never will as I age.
And I don't want to rebel by completely neglecting my appearance, either.
So I am redefining beauty.
For me, beauty no longer means being defined by a number on a scale.
It no longer means perfect skin (which I might never have).
Beauty, redefined means treating myself with kindness.
Beauty, refined means choosing kindness, regardless of whether or not I think I deserve it in the moment.
Beauty, refined means letting go of impossible standards and celebrating what I already have, flaws and all.
This is something I can always choose. It is something I can always work towards.
And hopefully, it is something that can only improve with age.