There I stood, staring at myself naked in the mirror, on my 50th birthday. This is somewhat new for me, as I hardly ever look at my body in the mirror and acknowledged all that I am grateful for. I have always pinpointed something I wanted to change or said horrible things to myself if I caught a glimpse of my bare skin, but this time, I just gazed longingly and lovingly, studying myself like a map – and the journey my body has taken to get to my current destination. I stood there noticing all the parts of me that I avoided looking at for years: my stretchmarks, scars, age spots, cellulite, rolls, wrinkles, etc. Instead of feeling defeated, I experienced this great sense of appreciation. I caught myself smiling at my lumps, bumps, and imPERFECTions, and realized that aging isn’t the end of a beautiful thing, but the beautiful thing itself.
I spent the last 40-something years hating the skin I was in. I was taller than everyone else, and my insecurities around being called names chipped away at me as I grew older. I spent a lifetime trying to shrink myself by slouching, with the goal of going unseen.
I also grew up in a household where someone was always on a ‘diet’. Which was confusing because we had a pantry filled with Drakes Cakes and Doritos, yet we were supposed to know when enough was enough and treat that with some sort of deprivation plan (ie. Diet).
Up until a year ago, the mirror was only something I glanced at to see if my clothes covered all the parts of my body I loathed: my lower tummy, my flat ass, my knobby knees, my ab-less torso. Then the pandemic hit, and things began to shift. There was more time to reflect and decide how I wanted to show up as i grow up.
Aging is an inevitable metamorphosis, whether we accept it or not. The problem is, how can we accept it when society tells us to reject it at all costs. Society reveals to us that the aging process is supposed to be altered. Looking your age is frowned upon, and undesirable. This is why we’re running to get fillers, nips/tucks, botox, etc.(which btw, I don’t judge, as I have partaken as well) to halt the natural evolution of self. Unfortunately, what society deems worthy is a fresh, flawless face, and a toned six-pack. Those are the images we’re inundated with on social media. However, you show me a woman who is brave enough to flaunt her rolls, cellulite, wrinkles, etc., and I will show you a world (of mostly women) who cheer her on. Most of us can relate to that woman. We applaud that woman’s courage to put it all out there, without shame. And as I stand naked staring at my 50-year-old self, I realize that I have grown into that unapologetic woman (about frickin time). I believe there’s a point in your life, and for me, that is 50, where you tell all the outside forces (and inside voices) to fuck-off! If you’ve been lucky enough to live a full, healthy, and enjoyable life, you are fortunate and don’t need to change a damn thing (unless YOU want to).
You see, getting older should feel like a promotion, a victory celebrating all that we have overcome. Fifty, in my opinion, is the age of becoming. It’s the age where you shed all that has been weighing you down, own your place and position in life, love the person you have grown into, and feel this solid sense of completeness. Fifty is when you level up into a wonderful stage in life where giving a fuck what he or she or they think of you doesn’t factor into your self-worth. Fifty should feel triumphant, at least it does for me.
With all that said, I don’t subscribe to the notion that once you get to a certain age, it’s an excuse for letting yourself coast. We should continue to live our best life more mindfully, whatever that may look like for you. For me, it’s about emotional freedom (which runs counter to everything I’ve ever done or felt but is the most amazing form of catharsis). I started feeling this freedom four years ago when I decided to launch The Daily Feels. I began to find my voice. I vulnerably articulated my innermost fears. I bravely shared my struggles and my triumphs. And today, I feel I have come full circle, standing naked in front of y’all, sharing a new story… a story based on my evolution, where I have reached my half-century, feeling grateful and respectfully seen.
Here’s to all those who are turning 50 this year…enjoy your one wild & precious life.
Janis Gaudelli is The Founder of The Daily Feels. She started this passion project to reveal the magic behind storytelling, and how truth-based narratives bring people together in the most heart-warming of ways. Fascinated by soul, depth, intellect, raw truths, and rebellion with a cause. Often captivated by the awe of nature: star gazing, moon manifesting, sunset chasing, waves crashing, crickets singing. Fiercely curious about the inner-workings of the human psyche… she professionally studies human behavior for a living. Forever proud and grateful for being a mom to the force that fuels her life: her 10-year-old son, and greatest professor, Kellan.