There is a saying that goes, with 20 you have the face that God gave you, with 40 you have the face you gave yourself.
I consider this to be true and I just turned 40. Additional to that, I like the face I gave myself and I am, almost always, in complete acceptance of it.
I don't obsess about how I look, but of course, have my vanity. Since I live a more healthy lifestyle as in my twenties, I do look healthier than when I worked nightshifts and smoked a packet of Camel cigarettes a day, let alone the times I had forgotten what a whole night of sleep feels like when my babies were little.
However, would I change my past for the sake of a perfectly preserved face? Na.
Everything I did, all that happened in the years leading up to now, has helped me to grow and become the woman I am today, and today, I stand in the dignity and power, only a woman who has passed some of the tests of life, can hold.
I earned this, through my choices and the unforeseen happenings which turned my life upside down more than once.
To turn 40 is powerful. And, although there is no particular meaning or significance in our culture, it feels special to me, as my life by now is like a piece of art, my very own creation.
To society, it is a number, which perhaps reflects that we are getting older and now is the time to try harder not showing the years.
Being brainwashed by a media that tells us, only a wrinkle free, ever smiling and relaxed face is a good face, and the only body according to the propaganda coming at us from all sides, is a worthy one.
At 20+20, with a life well lived, it is unlikely that we look like that, and I am tired of a world that is trying to make us women feel bad about how we look if we don't look like the 24 year old model on the cover of a magazine, photo shopped to a perceived perfection as taught by a dismissive culture.
Sisters, I beg you, do not fall for this image of a woman, for this is not who we are or what we are meant to be. Neither is this what we are meant to look like!
We have jobs, babies, responsibilities and hell yes, a life that revolves around a lot of things other than our looks. And life is such, it brings bumps, wrinkles and cellulite, scars and pimples, and that is only on the outside.
We still want to look good, of course we do, but our true beauty comes from a different place and I'd like us to stop pretending that we must look like 25 when we are 35, 40, 50 or older.
Where did I idea come from anyway?
At my stage of womanhood, what makes me attractive is the fact that I am ok with my imperfections, in fact I am perfect in my imperfections. Everything is testimony that my life to this point was anything but boring. My body has brought forth life, has nourished it, I have made it till here with all limbs still working, and after hardship as well as sorrow, my smile is alive, and, lo and behold, still appealing. Wow. Champagne!
I mean, I have lines and wrinkles, oh yes! The ones around the eyes are there now all the time. I always smiled a lot and it's visible, why would I hide this fact?
The two between my eyebrows are testimony that I know what rock bottom feels like. When I meditate a lot and nourish the place of inner peace, they relax, when I am stressed or tired, they are more distinct.
When I get the chance to enter extended periods of silence, they disappear again.
Times of grief and sadness, of loss and devastation contributed in their creation, and of course the too-much-wine nights... And they are part of me too.
Why am I saying all of this? Because only when we stop looking at ourselves through these critical eyes can we access the Beauty I am talking about.
This very personal Beauty that is a seed in all of us, waiting to be nurtured so it can surface and shine, will embellish all that is around us.
Our society has forgotten how to recognize and acknowledge this beauty, as the images we have been fed with for a long time, act like a barrier, a hypnotising veil over our senses, hard to burst.
Can we own our colours again and kindle that spark of dignity and self respect, so as to self confidently carry them out into the world?
Not only for ourselves and our sisters, but for our mothers, daughters and the men in our lives. For they too, long deeply to witness us in an energy of self acceptance and in the recognition of our true Femininity.
Age is but a concept. Don't buy it.
True Beauty transmutes itself continuously and every stage has a different flavour, a unique scent. It's a gift to experience all there is...
40 years and I finally got it. Yes it took me that long...
Stories from the edge
Uta Verena is a Mother, a Yoga,-and Healing Practitioner, She deeply cares about Earth and is passionate about the restoration of inner and outer balance.