Turning 40 is like updating a house

Three months ago we officially had an offer on our house… many wondered why we were selling with it only being four years old. We had built the house and picked out all the finishes… well as much as you can with the limits of the builder. We did not dislike the house, but many things in our life had changed especially in the last year and it made sense we move.

When we started looking for a new house, we knew we would most likely be buying an older house. We didn’t mind the idea and for a year I have pinned a million different ideas on a “dream house” Pinterest board. When it was time to buy a house we knew the neighborhood we wanted and the one house available had good bones, but as Matthew said, it was in need of some love. We moved into the house about six weeks ago and have put time, money, and effort into the house… we have loved this house and it is completely loving us back.

With each project the house is becoming more and more ours.  While I loved our “new” house that was move-in ready, there is something special about making this house our own. Painting the kitchen cabinets blue and taking a day to update the oak staircase to black took courage and confidence. Matthew would often have to remind me, it is just paint. His nudge lead me to joyfully happiness with each of our decisions.

I told him the other day updating the house and turning 40 this year have so much in common for me. We live in a society where new is always viewed as better… as perfect. As I am falling in love with our “old” house, I am challenged to find the same love and appreciation for my “older” body. As I look at the mature, tall trees outside our back window, I realize these trees only come with an older house. In the same way, the strength I have in my soul can only come through years of experience.

We as a society often view aging as a bad thing… something to be feared. Commercials, ads, and articles show us how to look younger, take years off, and give the impression we aren’t as old as we are. Sadly, I admit I have given into these thoughts. Each time I color the grey in my hair, I wonder when I will stop this ritual.

As I have fully embraced our older house, I wonder when I  will embrace my older body. Since moving into this house, I have not once wished to be back in our newer home, yet each day I long for my body of a younger time.

One of my favorite spots in the house is a little nook upstairs that is just mine. I have set it up (thanks to Matthew and his amazing mom) for writing, sewing, and crafts. Outside the window is a gigantic tree. It is beautiful and majestic. It clearly has provided shade for many over the decades. Most likely she has weathered many storms and some of the crooked branches show the impact of the elements. As I look at her beauty, I am sadden to realize I do not view myself in the same way. I look at my signs of aging as flaws instead of seeing them as beautiful. I in no way see the signs of me weathering different storms as majestic… and I have to ask myself why not? Why do I not view myself and body, with the same grace and awe as the tree out my window?

I don’t fear turning 40. I am not dreading this birthday at all. I can only hope and work to view my aging with the same love as I view my aging house. I can only work to take tender care of my body in the same way we are caring for this house. I can only hope each time I look out my window to the majestic tree, I am reminded that I too have beauty from the years of life I have weathered.

 

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