an open letter to my white hair

Dear White Hair,

Yes, I'm talking to all six of you.  The three musketeers lining my part, Suzie Stick-Out at my left temple, and Misters Long-and-Slow-and-Steady-Wins-the-Race there in the back.

I'm not sure how I feel about you.  I mean, I'm pretty excited about hitting my forties and my friend told me the fifties are even better. My body is loosening up a bit (Today's Special is: "Euphemism") but still fairly in check, I guess. But then there's these - yous - that are testing my aversion to prints. I'm all about solids. The contrast against my black hair is a bit concerning. In my mid-thirties I dreamed about you guys emerging in a cool Bonnie Raitt, Rogue conversation-piece kind of way.  It's not likely.  And that's okay.  I've even embraced your rebel friend that plays whack-a-mole on my cheek. A quick tweeze takes care of that.  But I know you guys aren't going anywhere, so it's time for me to decide how I'm going to handle you.

I feel like a hypocrite if I don't at least try to embrace you for a bit, feel out the idea of the salt and pepper I love so much on handsome actors. (As if.) You've seen my house. You know I won't be able to nurse my roots if I start dyeing. So I'll give you some time. Maybe a year. And then we can revisit.

But in that year, let's make a deal. I will leave you alone, but I need you to grow in quietly and gently. So as to not draw me to vanity and away from more important concerns. Be a collective nudge towards progress and away from complacency. A whisper of urgency to listen, to strive, to obey, to comfort, to relax, to obey, to forgive. I'm a visual learner, so I'm thinking if I see some of you everyday, lovingly aligning yourselves with your dark brown counterparts (I'm talking to you, short, stiff crimpies in the front), I'll get the daily reminder I need to face and walk in the direction our Lord has intended for me, in a less Chicken-Little-The-Sky-Is-Falling kind of way.

 

Deal?

 

I look forward to receiving your response.

Many thanks,

Leah

scared skinnies 101

I started swimming lessons last week.

If you're thinking it's a because-I'm-turning-forty thing, you are absolutely right.  I want to acquire the skill and eventually use it for exercise.  Plus I'm hoping to teach the kids after, since our previous attempts at lessons didn't pan out.

Forever and always...I'm always here.

Forever and always...I'm always here.

Lesson No. 1 - It's not easy to find the right bathing suit.  It's winter so you are confined to a single rack of mish-mashed variety in the sporting good stores.  Anywhere else is for beach-frolicking.  Uh, no thanks.  Finding a one-piece suit that doesn't hike up beyond my pelvis, provides adequate support for things that need support and doesn't cost a hundred bucks isn't easy.  I tried on over a dozen suits to no avail.  Then I finally found a Sears-branded (I'm too told to care about brands - just hold it all together, please) suit in candy apple red.  Basic, functional, cute.  And makes me look like I wish I was on Baywatch.  Oops.  Oh well.

Lesson No. 2 - The first class was great.  We started with blowing bubbles in the water.  I'm not kidding.  But hey, small victories create momentum, right?  We graduated to front and back starfishes and ended off the session with attempting to glide with kicking, which I guess is floating.  In true over-thinking form, I was convinced that I mastered the mechanics, yet when I opened my eyes under the water, I was barely moving forward.  I asked my "you could be my son" instructor to watch me try again and tell me what I was doing wrong.  In the kindest tone, he said it all.  Relax.  Story of my life, kid.  Wouldn't you know it, letting my knees bend got me moving.

Lesson No. 3 - Deciding to do new things requires you to...do new things.  We started learning the front crawl last night.  I came home exhausted.  The moving of the legs and the arms and the breathing was almost too much.  And I had a flutterboard.  But this is the necessary pain of starting something new, right?  It's unfamiliar and difficult, but just requires repetition - practice - and then your body stops working against you and goes with the flow.  Reminds me of when I was doing the write31days challenge (note to self: start writing again).

I suspect my next lesson will be about faith.  We are heading to the deep end next week.

check list for the fortieth year

I am turning thirty-nine this week.  I want to use the coming year as a launching pad towards a more beautiful, whole, authentic me when I officially reach forty next November.  Here is what I am assigning myself to get there:

Decide what I believe is truth and not be afraid to believe - This is an existing work-in-progress.  As I continue learning more about living as a Jesus follower, I want to come out of this year firm in what it means for each facet of my life.

Familiarize myself with my body - Its strengths, limitations, what makes it thrive and what doesn't.  This should probably start with a physical and a reconnection with a few paramedicals.  Things already don't hang, grow or spring back the way they did when I was in my twenties.  In addition to learning general best practices for healthy living, I want to know exactly what foods and activities work for me specifically.

Discover what my genuine interests are, independent from my family members, friends and peers – I was all over hand lettering earlier this year, but I discovered I don’t love it enough for the ten thousand hour journey it will take to become Lindsay Letters.  Which I kind of put on my list of goals for 2015.  I know that I genuinely love Adele’s new album because I cry that hurts-so-good-put-it-on-repeat cry every time I listen to track 10 and not because all things her are viral right now.  I want to identify things that I will lalalalove after they stop trending and that I will comfortably agree-to-disagree with others about.

Establish best responses at difficult moments – When I walk into a funeral home, if a loved one announces their engagement to the dude you hoped was a phase, when someone tells you their unfavourable diagnosis, when encountering someone with physical disability, when she is in anguish or he is aloof, I want to respond with intentionally crafted words and/or actions that speak love and compassion.  Only.

 

Friends, let me know if you decide to tackle any of these yourself in the months or years ahead, or share how you have grown into a more authentic you!

pro-ageing excellence

This ad stopped me in my tracks one night as my husband and I were enjoying a mid-week stroll around the city. "Complete age control". How a company could consciously claim that is beyond me. Even the word "anti-ageing" is a modification, surely to bring your attention to that evil, evil word age

But it's not, though.

You know that, right?

 

I am turning thirty-nine this fall. I'll say it again slowly so you know that I'm not afraid of it.

Thur. Tee. Nine.

My skin knows it and gravity reminds me all the time. My body certainly does not operate the same way that it used to. But it's the less tangible parts of me that are increasing in value. My growing hunger for wisdom leads me to make better choices with my time than the ones when I was young and invincible and stupid. My threshold for uncertainty is evolving as I embrace different kinds of risks and avoid others. The shape of my heart is changing, maybe expanding, to better accommodate the Holy Spirit, to include a greater understanding of the world and the people in it, and to squeeze out complacency.

I am a year away from my optometrist's kill-date for glasses, but the way I see the world is much, much clearer now and that could only have developed with the time I've spent on this planet. From some angles, the clarity is gray and blurred for the things that I now know I have to surrender my control and understanding of. From others, it is sharper, where absolute truths and the stories behind the stories have finally been embraced.

There is no drive-thru pick up for these things at twenty-nine. So don't dwell there. Be pro-ageing. I'm not saying don't wash your face. Just don't subscribe to the false idea that there is less joy, less wholeness, less awesomeness on the other side of youth. 

The silver-haired head is a crown of glory,
If it is found in the way of righteousness. (Proverbs 16:31)

Wisdom is with aged men, and with length of days, understanding. (Job 12:12)