Would you ever have a boob job? My sister asked me a few days ago on the beach.
No, no I wouldn’t. Why? Would you?
Well, obviously I wouldn’t make them bigger or anything. But maybe after having children, I’m not going to like how they are dropping down, so I’d consider surgery for that. She explained.
We proceeded to discuss the gracious aging of women, respecting the passage of time and how beautiful some women are when they use their age to their advantage. Have you noticed how elegant women’s wrinkles can be?
It got me thinking about time.
I’ve noticed I’m older. Especially in the last year or so. My thoughts have changed. Not drastically, not clearly, but there has definitely been a shift. It’s age maybe, or perhaps time. I’ve noticed myself getting more fearful. More concerned about things that never used to bother me.
For example, I can’t stew in the sun as long as I used to; I get bored. And hot. I don’t remember when it changed, but I remember how dark I used to get even after a few days on the beach, whereas in the last few years people have commented: Oh you’re not as tanned as I thought you’d get. Maybe it’s because I’m wearing more sunscreen. Perhaps. But gone are the days I could just lie in the sun, barbeque-ing myself for hours.
Mornings seem to be the best times of day and when I sleep in, I have an underlying anxiety I’m missing my day/wasting my life. Yes. There is an overall awareness of the finite span of this life and the need to ‘do something with it’. Not in the teenage rebellion kind of way, which I never went through, but in a more nostalgic, philosophical, yet pragmatic sense of I’m no longer walking around thinking I have forever ahead of me.
I’m no longer invincible and neither are my people. I worry about people. I worry about my mother, both my fathers, my siblings, my grandfather. I worry about old people who are alone and children who do not have enough love around them. My body is no longer the elastic band it used to be. As a yoga teacher in my early thirties, my body is no longer as forgiving about overworking it, demonstrating deep postures without a proper warm up. My left hamstring and knee are daily reminders of the fact that I didn’t listen to the warning signs when I first started practicing and that time leaves its mark.
While I’ve grown and evolved as a human being, I cannot bounce back as quickly from certain things.
That includes alcohol (I’m very cheap these days).
It’s not just these sensible, natural transitions you’d expect to take place as you move away from your 20s and well into the 30s. It’s in the way I think about what life is about. My work is important, but it’s no longer a career I’m striving for. It’s the opportunity to feel fulfilled and to contribute to people’s lives. To connect and to be myself.
I noticed when I arrived to Greece on holiday without my man, for the first few days I couldn’t sleep properly. I was startled by every unfamiliar noise at night, my mind racing with paranoia. I knew I could calm myself down and did so eventually, but I was evidently affected by the change in circumstances. And I did not like the fact that I was affected by it. I am on holiday, I should be able to relax and surrender immediately. Why can I not let go of this anxiety? Why is my body tense? Why am I bothered by this? And what exactly am I bothered by?
I resisted my response because the truth is I view myself as better than this…! I have this image of myself and perhaps this is what I portray to others, that I am above this. I am calm and cool and can cope with my inner crazy, or maybe I don’t even have any crazy left. But let me assure you, the crazy is where it’s at.
When my little sister talked about the boob jobs, I realised I’ve been fighting the inevitability of time. Because I don’t need to resist change; it’s natural. Yes, I’d rather not become a worrying mess. But it’s ok that it takes me longer to switch off and to switch back on again. It’s ok I need my time with things. It’s ok I value my sleep and my health more. It’s ok to prefer to sleep with my man than alone. It’s ok to go with the changes that are already happening because I love how nature leaves its mark on people. I often look at my wedding ring of 2 years and cannot wait for it to have marks and scratches from the passage of time. I don’t know if it’s maturity or simply realising the beauty of letting things evolve.
Either way, I wouldn’t have a boob job.
Photography: Hayley Richardson