July 9, 2014

The Immortal Life of Some Jellyfish: The Aging Spin

There's a jellyfish, Turritopsis dohrnii, it hangs out in the Mediterranean and the waters off Japan. According to Wikipedia it is "the only known case of an animal capable of reverting completely to a sexually immature, colonial stage after having reached sexual maturity as a solitary stage.

In other words, it's immortal. It effectively cannot die. It's a vampire without the biting or the need for sunblock. Isn't that what we all want? Immortality, agelessness? 

I've been looking over old Payson Road posts and I came upon one I wrote when I turned 35. It made me laugh. I was writing as this old sage who was now excepting her walk into the abyss. Wow. What I would give to be 35 again. What a great age that is. Did not know that then...as does the story always go. 

Aging sucks. It really does. We all wish we could stop time, remove wrinkles, get our unassisted ability to read close up back. But unless they find a way to bottle that immortal jellyfish (which I'd be adamantly against), thus are the days of our lives.

I've been overly bothered by the aging process the last few years and I've decided I need to embrace my power as a woman in her 40s and stop trying to regain my youth. Instead of trying to match them, meaning "the youthful", I need to remember that part of being a strong woman means embracing yourself at every stage. No one has been a better example of that then my mother. She's as much the elegant and strong woman at 85 as she has been at every stage of her life. My grandmother was incredible as well. She had a regal quality about her. I never saw her as an old woman only a powerful one. 

Why is it we are so afraid to show age, particularly in woman? Every magazine I flip through and so many television shows and movies lead with youth. There was this show I caught recently where the male lead is in his, probably, mid-late forties. They have two teenage kids. And he and his wife have been together for twenty years. The actress that's playing his wife is 33. I suck at math but that doesn't add up. I was watching this show in a hotel room while I was on vacation. I got so angry to see this woman, who clearly looked about 30 playing the part of a woman in her 40s, that I got up out of bed to look up her IMDB credits. Sure enough, she was 33. What the hell! There's not enough actresses in their 40s in Hollywood all of a sudden? Believe me I know a few who need the work. But that's just it. They need the work because there's such limited opportunities for women in film and television when they age. 

So in fairness to my personal aging struggles, the messages we see across multiple screens daily are telling us that aging is a bad thing. So don't do it! Truth is, there will always be someone or something telling us we aren't good enough. 90% of the time that person will be ourselves. We have to strive for inner peace and balance--the ultimate quest for us EDers. 

With that in mind, I'm throwing out a little exercise to help in this quest. Let's call it a challenge. I challenge you to write 10 things you love about yourself, either inside or out or both. No qualifiers, no addendum, no apologies. Those of us with body image issues (including myself) always struggle when coming up with things we love about our bodies. This isn't about that and don't make it subject to a, "see you can't name anything you like about your body you must have issues" judgment thing. This is about your sense of self, and what you love about yourself, inside, out, backward, forward. When you take the time to write this least, you'll be surprised how liberating it is and how much you find you truly to love about yourself.

You've probably seen the P&G campaign of late, Not Sorry - what a great message. We need to stop apologizing to everyone around us and to ourselves. 

#ShineStrong ladies. Here's my list. 

  1. My heart
  2. My passion for the things I believe in and the things that drive me
  3. My self awareness
  4. My eyes
  5. My hands and feet 
  6. My people skills
  7. My love for animals
  8. My strength and endurance
  9. My commitment to friendship
  10. My ability to fall in love no matter how much crap life throws at me

Take the #WhatILoveAboutMyself Challenge! Email us with your list and if you give us permission, it may appear on our #WhatILoveAboutMyself  Wall

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:30 AM

    Sarah I cant tell you how happy I was to see activity on Payson Road again! I've been missing it. And as always your stories make me laugh, and feel and I can totally relate to so much of what you say. I am in my 40s as well and I laughed out loud when I read the part about how at 35 you wrote as an old sage. That is so true! I thought I was so old but then at 25 I thought I was so old. I supposed when I'm 65 I'll be begging for 45. But as always your point about embracing inner peace is so right on. I am always struggling with that I guess we all are. Please keep Payson Road going! I feel like i grew up with Payson Road, at least in my ED life. Cuz i remember when it started. And what happened to the group does that still exist? Thanks Sarah! --Melissa (remember me?!)


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