“Anything you think is wrong with your body at the age of 35 you will be nostalgic for at the age of 45” – Nora Ephron
A few weeks ago, I was looking for baby pictures of my son and I came across a few photos of myself from 10 years ago. My first thought was, “WOW! I looked GREAT!” At the time, I was an exhausted new mom who barely had time to shower, no less blow-dry, and was still trying to drop a few post-baby pounds. Back then, I’m certain that I looked in the mirror and thought, “Girl, you look like crap,” and took that firm skin and thick mane of hair for granted. Ms. Ephron totally hit the nail on the head with that quote.
A few nights later, I was out with a group of friends for our monthly mom’s night out bitch-fest. As we sat around sipping glasses of wine and waiting for our salads (and eyeing the basket of bread with longing and contempt), we were all commiserating about our middle aged bodies. Bemoaning the weight we gained and can’t lose, the gray hair that sprouts up every few weeks, and the lines in our foreheads and around our eyes. As I listened (and added my own complaints to the pile) it struck me that we are never happy with our bodies, whatever we do, however old we are, we always seem stuck in this cycle of self-criticism and over-analysis of our bodies and their perceived flaws.
Even more interesting were the responses from the other women in support of each other – no one else seems to see the same things that you do when you look in the mirror.
The response to one woman complaining about her hair requiring color every three to four weeks: “Gray? What gray? I don’t see any gray in your hair.”
The response to another friend who was lamenting her crow’s feet and considering Botox,
“Really? It would be a waste of money. I was just looking at you and thinking what beautiful skin you have!”
On one woman’s jiggly thighs,
“Unless you’re 17, they all jiggle.”
All true, no one else really notices (or frankly cares) that you have belly, cellulite on your thighs, a few lines on your face. And if they do, you really don’t want to be friends with them anyway.
In light of this realization, I’ve adopted a new attitude and I’m determined to change my thinking. So, this is my new approach, – when I look in the mirror and start to find fault with my skin, hair, or body, I say to myself, “This is the best you are ever going to look. Enjoy it.” Yes, it’s a little Stuart Smalley-esque, but it does break the cycle of negative thinking – because I don’t want to wait another 10 years to look at photos and realize that I did, after all, look pretty good!