I thought age and maturity would show up on some designated day, not that it would sneak in like a single mouse right before the massive infestation. Gray hair runs in my family, so that wasn’t a surprise. The freckles on my hands were a surprise, the extra skin on my arms, whoa. Suddenly instead of the snotty idiot judgmental teenager horrified at those Ladies at the pool (who seemingly didn’t care about their wobbly arms and jiggly thighs), I WAS that lady at the pool.
The snotty idiot teenager still surfaces from time to time, I tamp her down. Then, I wondered about those women laughing and goofy, drinking out of their tiny dixie cups (filled with something surely not pool approved) and thought don’t they think about their arms and thighs? Now that I am one of them, I know. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s that I couldn’t care less. This was significant.
My current self is bizarrely at peace. Full disclosure, I didn’t fall into this gracefully, there was kicking and screaming. Previously I never said no to anything asked of me, holding on lest I miss something. I worried about things I now find strange: What did people think about my Kids? Was I successful enough? Were my clothes right? Was my Husband talking too loudly? If I missed that party would my friends talk about me? I worked too much, even on my days off. I confused busyness with happiness. My fret cycle was real.
When everything and everyone in the world stopped, I flew off my life treadmill, flailing like crazy to grasp at the scattering normal that I thought I needed. After the pause, I chose carefully who and what I brought back into my life. I found pleasure in the simple things, and it was these simple things that made me happier, content. Contentment was peaceful, my happiness satisfying.
I’ve noticed that I hold my arms differently now. Previously I crossed my arms inward, as if hiding the external parts of myself would also hide the internal parts I didn’t like. Now, I hold my arms out, ready to embrace the life that I chose. My happiness threw my shoulders back and put a smile back on my face.
So, what does a self-accepting woman with jiggly thighs and wobbly arms do? I bought a bathing suit. First one in ten years. No skirt (not hiding anything); no ruffles on the top (the boobs are what the boobs are); not even black. Its pattern makes me smile; it has a tiny cut-out.
“What are you waiting for?” a very wise person asked me. What WAS I waiting for? I couldn’t change time and I wouldn’t get it back. Instead of asking myself Is this right? Am I doing the right thing? I decided to do what made me happy.
I let the last of my self-judgement go, put on the suit, arms out, and twirled in front of my Husband.
“Wow!” He said, “You look amazing!”
I expected that but savored the compliment anyhow. Happiness, I found, is reflected in something as simple as a new bathing suit. I’m wearing it on vacation.