Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Things I learned in my 28th year


I turned 29 last month. I joked on Facebook that you "wouldn't have to ask me how old I am anymore" since women often say they're "29" in order to feel young or hide their true age. But in truth, I'm happy to grow older. I've always felt older than I am so I'm grateful each year that I'm becoming "more myself."

I've always been "an old soul," mature for my age, and I married someone six years older than me so sometimes I feel like I'm in his "stage of life" and not mine. So it's usually with some trepidation I tell people how old I am (or in my case, how "young" I am), because people make so many assumptions about you based on your age. Older friends jump into "advice mode" and your younger friends see you as more distant when you tell them your age. I hate that! Souls don't have an age, and that's what you should really be considering when you talk with someone. I believe all adults want to be treated as peers where their opinions have weight and they are worth listening to, and don't want to be seen as "too young" or "too old." There is certainly wisdom that comes with age, and I have been greatly affected by older friends who have been willing to share it with me in a kind and loving way, face-to-face and not in a prideful looking-down-on-you way. Ok, glad we had this little chat 😊.

1. Confidence. It's a beautiful process to grow into who you truly are, and grow in integrity as you act congruently in all areas of your life. I've really grown in this area in the last year. I spend less time second guessing myself than in the past, and I'm more willing to say things that are meaningful to me rather than what I think others might want me to say. In the past, this blog has kind of been a safe haven for me where I could write out my true heart, things I had a hard time expressing in conversations with acquaintances, friends, even those closest to me. It seems a strange thing to have a public blog when you have a hard time talking through those thoughts out loud, but such is the paradox of an extroverted introvert 😉. I still have a lot of growth to do in this area, but it's been gratifying to feel like who I am is okay for other people to see, even if they might not agree with it or care about it.

2. Youth is a gift, and it doesn't last forever. As I'm starting to see the (small) effects of age (my two small eyebrow wrinkles that I am quite proud of!), I can finally see the full circle of life. You will get older. Thick hair, bright skin, it will all go away. You can spend thousands of dollars trying to look younger, but you will never go back to looking the way you once did. And the physical work of life that you are so accustomed to carrying-- middle-of-the-night wakings from babies, hauling heavy loads of laundry up the stairs, and go-go-going is not something your body will be able to keep up forever. I never considered any of this until this year, I never fathomed I might look in the mirror one day and not know what to do with the reflection looking back at me. I didn't think about the possibility that someday I, ME, would be old and tired. Neither of these things have happened to me yet, but this year I just realized that it will. And it makes me so grateful for my healthy body and my youth, you can never be too grateful for what those two things allow you to do.

3. Beauty will fade... invest in things that you can take with you. Once I realized that I won't always look like "me," I recognized that the one thing worth beautifying was my spirit. When you put your trust in Jesus Christ, you will come to care less about the worldly things and instead focus on cultivating the things that bring true happiness in the long run: selflessness, charity, kindness. Every little drop counts. And those small things you do will eventually add up into who you are when your life is over. I love this quote I heard recently: "The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things that you do for others remain as your legacy." Bishop H. David Burton

While the things you are physically able to do as you get older diminish, the legacy you can leave behind only increases the longer you live! What a wonderful optimistic way to look at life. Giving to others allows us to "lose ourselves and therefore find ourselves" as it says in Matthew in the Bible. I loved the way President Spencer W. Kimball put it: "The more we serve our fellowmen in appropriate ways, the more substance there is to our souls. … We become more substantive as we serve others—indeed, it is easier to ‘find’ ourselves because there is so much more of us to find!”

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